Water use efficiency was a hot topic among sustainability experts in 2018, as changing weather patterns, a US population increase of 4%, and aging water infrastructure continue to put a strain on our nation’s water supply. But for all the dire news about the negative impacts of climate change on weather patterns, water restrictions and storms that spilled wastewater into city streets, good news happened, as well. Cities and municipalities are moving forward with innovative water conservation efforts. El Paso, Texas, for example, is building an advanced purification system that will treat sewage water and turn it directly into drinking water.
Archive for date: January 2nd, 2019
You are now in California and the U.S. Media Coverage category.
California water managers will conduct the season’s first manual surveys of the state’s crucial winter snowfall. Winter snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains supplies drinking water for much of California as it melts throughout the spring and summer. The amount of snow is measured monthly through the winter at more than 260 locations to help water managers plan for how much they can deliver to customers later in the year.
California’s State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project span several northern watersheds, converging in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where their pumping stations operate a stone’s throw away from one another. They coordinate their operations daily and have done so for decades. Earlier this month, the California Department of Water Resources signed three agreements updating how the state and federal projects share environmental and financial obligations associated with their operations.
The new person in charge of delivering water to one in 17 Americans has two big goals: seeing through a controversial public works project to build two new California water tunnels and ensuring her agency is represented by a more diverse group of people. Gloria Gray became chairwoman of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Jan. 1 and made history, though not for the first time. She will be the first African-American and second woman to head the board of directors in the 90-year history of the state’s southern zone, the nation’s largest treated water supply district. It delivers water to 26 public agencies that supply water for 19 million Californians.
Sweetwater Authority and Otay Water District have forged a new partnership with the Chula Vista Elementary School District to introduce fifth grade students to opportunities and issues in the water and wastewater industry – including compelling career options. The “Hydro Station” program is designed to address a significant shortage of skilled workers entering these career fields. Water agencies are facing a wave of retirements by Baby Boomer employees and a lack of skilled workers ready to replace them.
An arbiter has sided with five local tribes in a dispute over what county water officials argued was a request that left them with an unexpected $2.1 million budget deficit after the tribes won back lost water rights. At issue was a one-time loss to the San Diego County Water Authority in 2017. The dispute arose after the federal government restored water rights to the San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority, which represents the tribes, that year. Shortly after winning back water rights, the tribes submitted a request to the county water authorities that would essentially allow them to start collecting money on those water rights.
The Water Conservation Garden in Rancho San Diego has a new leader to keep it growing. Jennifer Pillsbury was hired in November to be the executive director/CEO of the xeriscape demonstration garden adjacent to Cuyamaca College. Overseen by an 11-member governing board, the 6-acre, not-for-profit garden displays drought-tolerant landscaping and offers water-saving ideas. It was founded in 1999. Its $1.3 million operating budget is offset in part by a joint powers agreement (JPA) with several local water agencies. The agencies are Helix Water District, Otay Water District, Sweetwater Authority, the city of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority. Cuyamaca College is also part of the agreement.
Ramona Municipal Water District (RMWD) directors kicked off 2018 by considering whether to switch their monthly meeting time from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The prelude to voting on an ordinance that would amend the legislative code to allow evening meetings began with directors’ preliminary approval Dec. 12. The vote was 3-1 with board members Jim Hickle, Jeff Lawler and Bryan Wadlington in favor and Thomas Ace dissenting.
The vote is changing. The San Diego County Water Authority board meeting Dec. 6 approved the 2019 vote entitlements for SDCWA member agencies, and the weighted vote for the Otay Municipal Water District and the Padre Dam Municipal Water District will increase from the agencies’ 2018 vote entitlements while the Helix Water District percentage will decrease, and the Lakeside Water District weighted vote is unchanged.
Water is a serious issue for the cities of the world. Even in a wealthy nation such as the United States, people die from toxic water in Flint, Michigan, confront megadroughts in Los Angeles, face salinated aquifers in Miami and worry in Omaha about oil pipeline spills in the Ogallala aquifer. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in its annual U.S. infrastructure report card gives U.S. drinking water a grade of D. Water is the greatest challenge in resiliency planning. Southern California heavily depends on water from the Colorado River.