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Little-Known California Lawsuit Complicates Drought Plan For Lake Mead

For years, Colorado River states have been negotiating a plan to avoid the worst – a shortage in Lake Mead so bad it could trigger unprecedented cutbacks. With the region experiencing drought conditions since 2000, even California, which has senior rights, came to the negotiating table. State officials said they were willing to voluntarily reduce Colorado River allocations to keep water levels in Lake Mead – the reservoir that holds water behind Hoover Dam for Arizona, California, Nevada and Mexico – from slipping below a critical threshold.

OPINION: No On Prop 68: Parks And Water Bond Would Leave California In A Mountain Of Debt

All Californians desire clean air, clean water, coastal protection, environmental protection, flood prevention and safe, well-maintained recreation areas. That’s why our state already spends about $5 billion annually to support these types of programs, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. In June, voters will be asked to approve Proposition 68, the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection and Outdoor Access For All Act, which would authorize the sale of $4.1 billion in bonds. The borrowed funds will have to be paid back over 40 years with interest.

Yep, It’s Nice Rain — But It’s No ‘Miracle March,’ Experts Say

It has all the earmarks of a “Miracle March” — heavy dousings of rain, intense flurries of snow in the Sierra and roadway havoc — but the showy display of stormy weather across California this week isn’t fooling the experts. Despite encouraging signs, including a Sierra snowpack that has risen to respectability from record-breakingly meager depths this month, meteorologists say California will almost certainly emerge from the winter drier than normal.

Los Angeles Comes Out Against $17 Billion Water Project

The Los Angeles City Council moved Wednesday to officially oppose staged construction of a proposed multibillion-dollar water- delivery tunnel project if it would result in greater costs or a greater portion of the financial burden for Los Angeles ratepayers. State water officials announced last month they will pursue staged construction of the California Waterfix project, leaving water agencies in the Southland and elsewhere to decide if they want to continue supporting the effort.

Federal Budget Proposal Include Sites Reservoir Study Funding

Inclusion of money for raising Shasta Dam got the most attention in a recently released federal budget proposal, but the same package also includes money for Sites Reservoir. The Department of Interior is recommending spending $33.3 million under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which was signed into law in December 2016. The biggest piece of that would be $20 million for design and pre-construction work on raising Shasta Dam 18 feet. However there’s also $4.35 million to complete a decades-old federal feasibility study on Sites Reservoir.

Relicensing: Hydro Projects Face Hurdles From Agencies Says California Farm Bureau Federation – Don Pedro Hydroelectric Project

The multipurpose aspect of many reservoir projects adds an extra layer of regulation to those projects–and gives government agencies and advocacy organizations additional opportunities to seek more water and other concessions from reservoir operators. That scenario is playing out in attempts to relicense California hydroelectric projects that also provide water supplies to farms, ranches and cities. The Turlock and Modesto irrigation districts, joint owners of the Don Pedro Hydroelectric Project on the Tuolumne River, are seeking to renew the hydroelectric facility’s 50-year-old license to operate.

Choosing native plants can help you minimize the need for artificial irrigation of your San Diego County sustainable landscaping. Photo: SDCWA

Take the Watershed Approach to Landscaping

Many San Diego County residents embrace sustainability as a central principle for creating or renovating their landscapes. Treating every garden, no matter its size, as its own mini-watershed allows it to capture and retain water to nurture a diverse habitat of plants and helpful insects.

What elements do you need to consider when taking a watershed approach to your landscape?

Follow the Four Key Principles of Sustainable Landscaping

The formula for successful sustainable landscaping includes four key principles:

  • Healthy, Living Soils: Healthy, living soils rich in organic content feed a complex soil food web. The soil holds water like a sponge, and has nutrients for optimal plant health.
  • Climate Appropriate Plants: Many choices of beautiful groundcovers, shrubs, and trees are compatible with San Diego’s mild Mediterranean climate. These plants use less water and display diverse colors, textures and shaped with endless design options.
  • Rainwater as a Resource: Sustainable landscapes make the most of natural rainfall. Slowing the flow of water off rooftops and hard surfaces allow it to be captured and sink into the soil, or be stored for later use.
  • High-Efficiency Irrigation: Your irrigation can maximize water-use efficiency through smart controllers to adjust water automatically to changing weather conditions, and high-performance distribution components to regulate pressure and tailor water delivery to the exact needs of your landscape plants.

Those principles were then put into practice at the Sustainable Landscaping Demonstration Garden at the Water Authority headquarters, 4677 Overland Ave., San Diego.

The 3,000-squre-foot garden is open to the public. It includes an exhibit-quality sign to introduce visitors to key sustainable landscaping principles. Smaller signs throughout the landscape identify specific plant types. Free brochures on sustainable landscaping featuring the landscape’s design plan and plant palette are also available for visitors to take home.

This article was inspired by the 71-page Sustainable Landscapes Program guidebook available at Hardcopies are available free of charge at the Water Authority’s headquarters, 4677 Overland Ave., Kearny Mesa. The Water Authority and its partners also offer other great resources for landscaping upgrades, including free WaterSmart classes at