The San Diego County Water Authority board of directors on Thursday authorized the Water Authority, in conjunction with the city of San Diego, to begin seeking detailed proposals for a potential energy storage facility at San Vicente Reservoir. The project could help ease pressure on power grids by producing locally generated renewable energy on demand, and also lessen upward pressure on water rates by providing a new source of revenue.
Archive for date: May 4th, 2017
The lead-poisoned drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., has gotten all the headlines, but California has a water contamination problem that endangers far more people, and it has existed for decades. State officials knew for a generation that many Californians lack access to clean, safe drinking water, yet, disgracefully, they did not begin to address the issue until five years ago. The state Legislature is now poised to chalk up a historic achievement as it negotiates Senate Bill 623, which would establish a fund to subsidize adequate water treatment for most of the roughly 1 million Californians who still need it.
In the first opportunity for Oroville residents to ask direct questions of state water officials in the city where the spillway disaster unfolded, a crowd of about 300 people fired off many good questions. They got a lot of good answers, too. At the end of it all, one thing was obvious: The state has much more to do than fix a spillway. The state Department of Water Resources, which hosted the meeting Tuesday and manages the Oroville Dam and hydroelectric project, has been focused on repairs to the spillway. That makes sense.
The rain has largely stopped after one of the wettest winters in California. But as spring temperatures begin to climb and snow in the Sierra Nevada melts, the threat of flooding has communities across the Central Valley on edge. The storms that set a rainfall record in Northern California have left a vast layer of mountain snowpack, which now sits at almost 200% of average for the first week of May. In some areas, the snow is 80 feet deep, according to state and NASA reports.
What caused the worst drought in California history? This question will haunt the state’s water managers, even as they begin to put the five-year drought behind them. Now a pair of federal researchers may have the beginnings of an answer to the question. In two new papers, they describe a new wave pattern in the upper atmosphere that may be responsible both for the long drought and the freight train of storms that ended the drought this winter.
As San Diegans start to crank their air conditioners, the city and the San Diego County Water Authority are developing a way to store energy by using water. Water officials said it’s expected to save ratepayers money in the long run. The city and authority want to build an Energy Storage Facility at the San Vicente Reservoir. Right now, the reservoir is an emergency water storage for San Diego. It holds enough water to last 500,000 households an entire year. “Which would be vital if we couldn’t get water into the region,” said SDCWA Energy Program Manager Kelly Rodgers.
The last time Tom Fayram walked on water, Lake Cachuma was just a mud puddle. Today, Cachuma is half full, thanks to this season’s extravagant deluge. But even amid this newfound aquatic abundance, Fayram — as the county’s official water czar — might find the ability to walk on water an occupational necessity in the months to come, given the challenges ahead. At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Fayram was gently pummeled for presenting a highly preliminary report on a proposal to allow Santa Barbara County water agencies to secure an additional 12,000 acre-feet a year in state water entitlements.
Outside consultants agree with the state’s plan to spend the next two summers replacing sections of Oroville Dam’s still largely intact upper spillway rather than trying to tear it all out in one season. But the public can’t see the recommendations the independent board of consultants gave the Department of Water Resources to ensure the work is safe and sound. In a 16-page report made public late Wednesday, the engineering consultants concur with DWR’s plan to leave the dam’s upper spillway mostly untouched this summer while focusing efforts on the heavily damaged lower spillway.