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2015: Carlsbad Desal Plant Taps the Pacific

More than 600 elected officials, community leaders and project partners attended a dedication ceremony for the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination on December 14, 2015. During the dedication event, the plant was named in honor of the late Carlsbad mayor, who was instrumental in making Carlsbad the host city for the plant. The event culminated with a “turning of the wheel” to symbolize the start of the water delivery. The Carlsbad plant is the nation’s largest seawater desalination project, producing approximately 50 million gallons of water per day, or about 10 percent of the region’s water supply.

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Water Authority Helps Launch National Leak-Detection Competition

Agency aims to boost efficiency of large-scale water pipelines

San Diego, Calif. – As part of its pioneering approach to pipeline asset management, the San Diego County Water Authority is co-sponsoring a nationwide contest to advance leak- and corrosion-detection technologies for large-diameter pipelines. Leaks and corrosion are major problems across the country, resulting in billions of gallons of water wasted annually – enough to fill more than three million Olympic-sized swimming pools – along with disruptions in water service and costly repairs. The competition runs through May 8 and includes a $75,000 purse provided by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the nation’s largest water provider and the operator of more than 20,000 miles of buried water pipelines.

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Water Authority Board Endorses State Bond to Fund Natural Resource Upgrades

Proposition 68 would benefit Salton Sea restoration and other vital projects

San Diego, Calif. – The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors voted to endorse Proposition 68, a state bond measure that would fund projects important to the San Diego region and allocate more than $1 billion for water-related initiatives statewide. If passed by California voters on June 5, the bond would provide $200 million to Salton Sea restoration activities and $12 million for the San Diego River Conservancy as part of a $4 billion package to address natural resource issues across California.


OPINION: California Water Policies Ignore Hard Truths

Every brief rain brings hope that California is not slipping back into drought. And local water officials assure us that we have enough water to get us through the year, even if the drought resumes. They point to state and local reservoirs filled to their historic averages or more, a deal to access water from the Imperial Valley and added supply from a new desalination plant in Carlsbad.

Storm Brings Record Rainfall, Little Damage To Southern California. But The Worst May Be Yet To Come

A powerful storm moved into Southern California on Wednesday, drenching fire-ravaged neighborhoods and setting several new rainfall records for the day but so far not causing the damage and destruction that some officials feared. The storm marked a direct hit by an “atmospheric river” system but has proved to be less powerful than forecasters initially predicted. Still, they warned that the heaviest downpour is yet to come on Thursday and urged residents to stay vigilant.

San Diego County Water Board Endorses $4 Billion State Bond Measure

The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors voted Thursday to endorse Proposition 68, a $4 billion state bond measure on the June 5 ballot for parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply and flood protection. Approval of the measure would mean $12 million for the San Diego River Conservancy and $200 million to Salton Sea restoration activities. “Robust Salton Sea funding in this bond measure is significant for San Diego County because it supports agreements that generate substantial water supplies for our region,” said Mark Muir, chair of the water authority’s board.

KPBS Drought Tracker Finds Drier Than Normal Conditions

Last year’s deluge of water was significant enough in Southern California to end a six-year drought in the region, but not enough to keep the drought at bay this year. The U.S. Drought monitor finds most of San Diego County is experiencing moderate drought conditions with much of the region in the Los Angeles basin experiencing severe drought conditions. The KPBS Drought Tracker follows rainfall and snowpack conditions, with the help of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and both indicators are significantly below where they should be for this time of year.

‘Atmospheric River’ Dumping Insane Amounts Of Snow At Elevations Above 8,500 Feet In The Sierra

A fierce atmospheric river blasted the northern and central Sierra overnight, dumping several feet of snow to elevations above 8,000 feet and bringing a slushy mix of rain and snow to lower elevations. On State Route 88 over the Carson Spur, Caltrans snow ploughs faced drifts that rose well above the top of their trucks. As of 11:30 a.m., the road still wasn’t clear. In the mountains, ski resorts shuttered lifts due to the high volume of snow. Squaw Valley and Alpine Ski resorts ceased operations at 3 p.m. due to high avalanche conditions.

Releases Cut To Allow Lake Oroville To Fill A Bit

The flows have been shut off through the Hyatt Powerhouse at the base of Oroville Dam, and the lake is beginning to rise. And that’s all by design, according to the state Department of Water Resources. The flows were shut down about 10 p.m. Wednesday and hadn’t resumed as of Thursday afternoon. But hours-long cutoffs have been occurring since March 8. Since March 15, water has been released for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening but the penstocks in the powerhouse have been closed off for the rest of the day.

Sierra foothills Dam, Part Of SF’s Hetch Hetchy System, Pushed To Near Failure

Heavy rain in the Sierra foothills pushed a small dam within San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy water system to the brink of failure Thursday, sending a brief scare through the rural region where roads were closed and a few dozen residents were forced to evacuate. Officials at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said the danger in the area, west of Yosemite National Park, had diminished by nightfall as the storm gave way. There was no interruption to water service for the agency’s 2.7 million Bay Area customers.