Fallbrook, Calif. – Two seats are open in the November election for the Fallbrook Public Utility District board of directors. Local residents interested in serving on the FPUD board and wishing to take part in the election can now file for candidacy with the San Diego County Registrar of Voters office. The terms are for four years.
Archive for date: July 12th, 2018
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Most visitors know San Diego’s Balboa Park for its world-class museums, gardens, and performing arts venues. Behind the scenes is a learning laboratory of environmental best practices. Aaron L. Boyles, sustainability manager for the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, describes an active, collaborative effort moving quickly to make Balboa Park the most sustainable urban park in the country. Conserving water is a critical component of this effort.
Sustainability benefits San Diego’s economy
How is Balboa Park managing to embrace sustainability without affecting its status as a major tourist attraction and economic driver for the San Diego region’s tourism sector? Boyles says improvements in sustainability actually enhance the park’s operations.
“The business model is pretty clear,” said Boyles. “When you reduce your need for resources, whether that is water, energy, or consumable products, you reduce your expenditures. When talking about buildings that accommodate millions of visitors per year, those savings are significant. That money can be reinvested into better things like infrastructure and the quality of the visitor experience.
“Last year alone, through the installation of more efficient plumbing fixtures, we were able to save 2.4 million gallons of water. That is equivalent to 3.6 Olympic-sized swimming pools, which really adds up in the long run,” explained Boyles.
An unexpected benefit from embracing sustainability is improved collaboration and communication among the many organizations in Balboa Park. “There was a time when neighboring organizations in the park saw each other as competitors. Now we see each other the way our visitors always have. We are One Park – One Team,” said Boyles. “Pooling our knowledge and efforts multiplies our power to get what we want, and we all want the same thing.”
Among its many initiatives, the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership is partnering with the San Diego County Water Authority this summer to promote the importance of safe and reliable water supplies for the region through the Water Authority’s Brought to You by Water outreach and education program
Environmental awareness part of the park’s experience
“People come to Balboa Park to have fun and to learn from our cultural organizations. We are committed to making the park a showcase for resource efficiency just as it is for history, culture, and the arts. We aim to inspire millions of park visitors from across the region and around the world to embrace the human experience, and the connection to our environment has always been a formative part of that experience.”
Sustainability is now a unifying force in Balboa Park. “Each of our organizations offers something unique, but it turns out they all share the same challenges in their operations,” said Boyles. “With different organizations constantly trying new things, there are endless opportunities to share successes and lessons learned. The potential for partnerships is huge. We are a microcosm for the larger trend taking hold, which has players like the City of San Diego, SDG&E, and the San Diego County Water Authority making the commitment.”
“We import most of the water we use in San Diego, and Balboa Park wants to lead the way in conservation of this precious resource,” said Boyles. Low flow or waterless bathroom fixtures, efficient irrigation, and offering reusable water bottles are just some of the ways Balboa Park is setting high standards.
Water-use efficiency boosts green buildings
Balboa Park’s Sustainability Program continues to advance solutions that will help protect park resources and strengthen economic viability, while enhancing visitor experience and enjoyment.
Established in 2008, the award-winning Sustainability Program is a collaborative effort between the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, the City of San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric® (SDG&E). This collaboration is supported by an alliance of the Partnership’s members, Balboa Park stakeholders and sustainability experts.
The park is now home to 10 buildings certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, known widely as LEED®. LEED certified buildings promote environmental benefits by reducing energy and water use, as well as greenhouse gas emissions through efficient and sustainable practices.
The most frequently implemented energy-efficiency tactics include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning upgrades; lighting retrofits; control upgrades; and computer server consolidation. Many organizations at Balboa Park installed water-efficiency measures such as low-flow and faucet aerators.
The park’s LEED® certified buildings are:
- The Old Globe
- San Diego Natural History Museum
- Fleet Science Center
- WorldBeat Cultural Center
- Casa de Balboa (San Diego History Center, Model Railroad Museum, Museum of Photographic Arts)
- Casa del Prado (San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Youth Symphony)
- House of Charm (Mingei International Museum and San Diego Art Institute)
- Federal Building
- Japanese Friendship Garden
- San Diego Museum of Man
A sequence of events over that last week may explain why California is endlessly locked in water wars. Last Friday, the State Water Resources Control Board released a final plan for the San Joaquin River and the framework for an upcoming plan on the Sacramento River, which will require less water be diverted from those waterways and their tributaries. Four days later, the Metropolitan Water District in Southern California voted to spend $11 billion — the bulk of the $17 billion cost — to put two tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The framework of a plan for the Sacramento River watershed released Friday by the state Water Resources Control Board calls for an increase in the amount of water running into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and out to sea, but it leaves the question of where that water would come from largely unanswered. It’s a good chunk of water. According to the framework, the target of letting 55 percent of “unimpeded flow” run downstream amounts to a reduction of 17 percent of the current average surface water supply available in the Sacramento River and its tributaries, plus the three rivers that run directly into the delta from the east.
This week the San Diego County Water Authority launched it’s popular landscape transformation program. In partnership with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the program gives people a rebate to remove their lawns. Residents can get up to $2.75 per square foot of grass they replace with sustainable landscaping. The offer is good for lawns up to 1,500 square feet. Joni German, a water resource specialist for the San Diego County Water Authority, said before ripping up lawns — residents first have to apply for the program.
The San Diego County Water Authority hosted its annual photo contest in May, entitled “Brought to You by Water.” The contest aimed to highlight the importance of safe and reliable water supplies, and water lovers from across the region put their photography skills to the test. The Water Authority received nearly 80 entries, which included everything from flowers and waterfalls to wildlife and children. The photographers used their images to describe ways in which water plays a vital role in their favorite activities and quality of life.
The Comite Civico del Valle, an organization providing services to disadvantaged communities in the Imperial Valley, has received a $500,000 grant from the California Air Resource Board to expand its air monitoring program. With the grant, the organization is planning to expand their network of air monitors to the eastern Coachella Valley by adding 15 new monitors, in an effort to span the entirety of the Salton Sea Air Basin, which includes the Coachella Valley and parts of Imperial County.
Hector Gastelum won’t apologize. The Otay Water District board member didn’t apologize in April 2017 after sending a controversial tweet that drew outrage from the Muslim community and resulted in the district barring him from serving on sub-committees. And he didn’t apologize Wednesday when asking the district to reconsider its decision. “The thing that I never heard was a statement from Director Gastelum that he understood the damage that those comments and those things did, particularly to the Muslim community, at the time,” said Otay Water board member Mitch Thompson.
Shortly after Vic Bianes took over San Diego’s water department, he instructed his staff to hide information. Less than a month after he began leading the $1.1 billion Public Utilities Department in mid-October, Bianes emailed staffers who were preparing a presentation for one of the water department’s oversight bodies. Bianes said it’d be best to be “vague” and not give the Independent Rates Oversight Committee any specifics about how the department was handling ongoing customer service issues.
Most visitors know San Diego’s Balboa Park for its world-class museums, gardens, and performing arts venues. Behind the scenes lives a learning laboratory of environmental best practices. Aaron L. Boyles, sustainability manager for the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, describes an active, collaborative effort moving quickly to make Balboa Park the most sustainable urban park in the country. Conserving water is a critical component of this effort.