The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is honoring 20 water utilities, manufacturers, builders and organizations for protecting the environment by creating and promoting WaterSense-labeled fixtures, homes and programs. EPA’s WaterSense partners have helped Americans save more than 2.7 trillion gallons of water and $63.8 billion on utility bills since 2006.
Archive for date: October 8th, 2018
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The phrase “climate change” did not appear on the agenda of a recent three-day meeting of the Colorado Water Congress, but the topic was often front and center at the conference, as it increasingly is at water meetings around the state and the region. Amy Haas, the new executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, told the Water Congress audience of about 300 water managers, irrigators, engineers and lawyers that “hydrology is changing more rapidly than we once thought” and that “it is primarily due to climate change.”
In the November election, California voters will decide on 11 propositions. Here’s everything you need to know about Proposition 3. Proposition 3 authorizes bonds to fund projects for water supply and quality, watershed, fish, wildlife, water conveyance, and groundwater sustainability and storage. A YES vote authorizes the State to issue $8.877 Billion in general obligation bonds for water infrastructure, groundwater supplies and storage, surface water storage, and dam repairs. It also includes money for watershed and fishery improvements along with habitat protection and restoration.
The repeated and dire predictions about climate change can blur together. But a streak of rare and unbearable humidity in San Diego combined with recent record hot ocean water seemed to be a wake-up call for our region: This is what global warming feels like. With that in mind, there have been a few important recent reports at every level of government on what is headed our way. At the end of September, the state released a report on what climate change likely means for San Diego. Sea level rise is one major danger, and could cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage each year and render parts of the coast unlivable.
San Diego Gas & Electric is upgrading its infrastructure and expanding its use of technology to limit the risk of wildfires and reduce the time it takes to restore service afterward. More than 14,000 wooden power poles have been replaced by steel versions, special cameras have been placed on 16 mountaintops and 177 weather stations are monitoring winds and moisture, an SDG&E official told a City Council committee last week.
The City of Encinitas awarded a construction contract for the Cardiff Beach Living Shoreline Project at the City Council meeting on Sept. 26. The shoreline between Restaurant Row and South Cardiff State Beach is vulnerable to coastal flooding during large storm events and projected sea level rise. The city has partnered with the California Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR), California State Coastal Conservancy (SCC), United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy with grants from the SCC and the Ocean Protection Council to reduce the vulnerability of Coast Highway 101 to flooding, create coastal dune habitat, create a pedestrian path along the dunes, and beneficially reuse sand from future San Elijo Lagoon annual dredging operations.
Plans to incorporate the Salton Sea into a proposed Southwest Pacific Water Plan are at least as old as this newspaper. WDR first mentioned such a plan in its second issue in February 1965, and three years later, noted, “The Salton Sea is getting too salty; it faces certain death or the oblivion of a great salt lake or dead sea – unless another Bureau of Reclamation study to preserve it as a live sea can reverse present orders.”
Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer is facing one of the biggest decisions in his more than four years as head of the city of San Diego — whether to approve a government-run alternative to San Diego Gas & Electric. The choice, expected in coming weeks, represents a sharp fork on the road to fulfilling the mayor’s ambitious pledge of running the city on 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. The success of the city’s Climate Action Plan largely hinges on meeting the target. Within two decades, nearly half of all annual greenhouse-gas reductions achieved by the city are expected to come from increased use of renewable energy.
The parking lot at the Sandia Creek trailhead was supposed to be 150 feet under water, if everything had gone as planned. The land was supposed to be flooded and turned into a dam. That would have made for some beautiful lakefront property in Fallbrook. But things didn’t quite turn out as planned back in the 1960s when Fallbrook Public Utility District purchased 1,384 acres of rural property there. The intent was to dam the Santa Margarita River and share the water with Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. But many things got in the way of that plan. War happened. Leadership faces changed.
Fallbrook, Calif. – The parking lot at the Sandia Creek trailhead was supposed to be 150 feet under water, if everything had gone as planned.
The land was supposed to be flooded and turned into a dam. That would have made for some beautiful lakefront property in Fallbrook.
But things didn’t quite turn out as planned back in the 1960s when Fallbrook Public Utility District purchased 1,384 acres of rural property there.
The intent was to dam the Santa Margarita River and share the water with Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
But many things got in the way of that plan. War happened. Leadership faces changed. There was lack of urgency and funding. Legal issues over water rights ensued. And environmental interests began to grow with the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.
Since that time, the property has remained untouched and more than 18 miles of hiking trails have developed. Those trails have become a cornerstone in Fallbrook, attracting up to 80,000 hikers and horseback riders each year.
Earlier this year, FPUD agreed to sell the land to Wildlands Conservancy for $10 million. The two entities are currently in escrow.
Why sell to a conservancy, not a developer for more money?
Selling the land to a conservancy ensures the popular Fallbrook hiking destination will remain preserved and open to the public forever, something the FPUD board of directors insisted upon before agreeing to sell the land. Thanks to a carefully crafted sales and legal agreement, the land can never be turned into a housing development or anything other than the trails.
This money, along with construction of the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project, will help mitigate long-term water costs. The Conjunctive Use Project is a local water project 66 years in the making. Once built, it will provide about a third of FPUD’s water.
Having local water will help stabilize the cost of water for customers. The local water will be less expensive than buying imported water, which travels over 400 miles to get to Fallbrook, and continues to rise in cost each year. Currently, FPUD buys 100 percent imported water. Over time, the project will provide rate relief to FPUD customers.
Staying in charge of the hiking trails
The all-volunteer Fallbrook Trails Council has been maintaining the hiking trails for the past 20 years and will continue to maintain and oversee them once escrow closes. FPUD and Wildlands expect escrow to close by the end of the year.
Wildlands will have a dedicated full-time staff person. Zach Kantor-Anaya will be the manager of the trails preserve. Wildlands Conservancy maintains California’s largest nonprofit preserve system, emphasizing education and recreational use of conservation land.