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Outlook Grim But Not Hopeless As Climate Summit Convenes In San Francisco

This week corporate and civic leaders from around the world will gather in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit. The effort was spearheaded by Gov. Jerry Brown to move the fight against global warming beyond the national commitments made in Paris nearly three years ago. “Look, it’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of carbonization,” says Brown in a promotional video for the summit.

OPINION: State Water Project: Our Most Important Infrastructure

Ask me what tops the list of California’s most critical infrastructure, and I’ll tell you it’s the State Water Project. It’s hard to argue with the fact that water is a prerequisite for all life and a healthy economy. That’s why financing the operation and maintenance of the State Water Project in a responsible, cost-effective manner should be common sense — not a political volley that puts California’s lifeline at risk and threatens ratepayers with a surge in water rates that is easily avoidable.

California To Go 100 Percent Carbon-Neutral

California Gov. Jerry Brown is aiming for the state to be carbon-neutral by 2045. Brown signed an executive order Monday announcing the goal to eliminate carbon emissions in the state within 27 years. He also signed a bill, SB100, making the state’s electricity completely emissions-free by 2045. The bill represents an ambitious move by the world’s fifth-largest economy. “It’s impossible to overstate how significant it is for a state as large and influential as California to commit to 100 percent clean energy,” the Sierra Club said in a statement.

Drought Contingency Plan To Ease Pain Of Water Shortage

Current weather patterns and Colorado River water management will result in a drought by the year 2020, affecting communities and farms along the entire Lower Basin, according to officials. Arizona’s water stakeholders, led by Arizona Department of Water Resources and Central Arizona Project, have been engaged for more than two months in crafting Arizona’s approach to the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan in an effort to protect Lake Mead, the reservoir formed by Hoover Dam, from falling to critical levels.

Crowd Drinks In Water Fest In Santee

Several hundred residents poured into the East County Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Project Visitor Center on Fanita Parkway on Saturday to learn about recycled water. The Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s first East County Water Festival celebrated water and showed visitors how it recycles waste and turns it into drinkable water. The free event included a tour of the facility that cleans and purifies wastewater plus educational booths, food, snow cones and iced coffee beverages made using purified recycled water. People planted succulents in small plastic cups they could take home, kids got their faces painted and families posed with water-related props in a photo booth at the event.

Saving Troubled Water Systems Requires Flexible Solutions, Not Mandates

During the hot summer months of 2014, East Porterville, Calif., became a poster child for vulnerable drinking water. Hundreds of shallow wells in this unincorporated Tulare County community ran dry in the midst of statewide drought. Some families had to wait years to have running water again, when their homes were finally connected to the city of Porterville’s municipal water supply. While East Porterville’s experience made headlines around the country, the serious drinking-water problems facing other communities across California are just beginning to receive much-needed attention.

Outside its native African habitat, fountain grasses are an invasive species. In California it has no natural enemies and outcompetes native plant species. Photo: UCRiverside/Center for Invasive Species Research Invasive Plants

Avoid ‘Takeover Artists’ in Your Landscaping

Just like people, many non-native plants love everything about San Diego County and choose to make it their home. They love it so much these invasive plants have moved in, stretched out, and are doing their best to take over.  

They do what they can to make room by hurting native plant species. They drain precious rainwater and soil nutrients away from the native plants, which are not as aggressive. Other invaders overrun habitat and keep other species out. Many, such as fountain grasses, have no natural enemies outside their native habitat to keep them in check.

The worst invasion plant offenders 

You may have unknowingly planted a few of these common plants in your yard. They are still sold commercially. Very few non-native species offer any benefits to our region’s environment. Local animals and insects are not interested in them. 

Vinca major (big periwinkle) is a spreading perennial vine or ground cover. In California, periwinkle has escaped from garden plantings, and lowers species diversity and disrupts native plant communities. Photo: Ghostcage/Pixabay - Creative Commons License

Vinca major (big periwinkle) is a spreading perennial vine or ground cover. In California, periwinkle has escaped from garden plantings, and lowers species diversity and disrupts native plant communities. Photo: Ghostcage/Pixabay – Creative Commons License

Here are some common problems: 

  • African Fountain Grass 
  • Mexican Feather Grass 
  • Brazilian Pepper Tree 
  • Scotch Broom
  • Periwinkle  

Invasive species and species that act like invasive plants should be removed from your landscaping. They should also be removed from commercial nursery stock, and shouldn’t ever be planted in the first place. Remove them at the soonest opportunity.  

How to identify non-native plants  

The California Invasive Plant Council maintains a list of invasive plants that cause problems through the state, though the list may miss regionally problematic plants. For more, go to the Plant Right website.

This article was inspired by the 71-page Sustainable Landscapes Program guidebook available at The Water Authority and its partners also offer other great resources for landscaping upgrades, including free WaterSmart classes at