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County Water Authority Refinances Bonds For Savings Of $18 Million

The San Diego County Water Authority announced Wednesday that it has saved nearly $18 million in debt payments by refinancing the bonds used to construct part of the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant. The savings topped prior projections of $13.6 million through June 2046, according to the Water Authority. A total of 45 investors, including J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Goldman Sachs, made nearly $2 billion in orders for the bonds. Investors were attracted to the water authority’s strong credit and history of providing a reliable water supply, according to the agency.

Colorado River Drought Plan Takes Another Step at Arizona Legislature; Final Vote Thursday

Arizona lawmakers appear on track to pass a Colorado River drought plan, with less than 30 hours to go before a critical federal deadline. A state Senate committee voted 6-1 Wednesday evening to pass a pair of measures that outline how the state would share looming cutbacks on the river’s water and work with other states to take less. The bills now head to the full Senate and House. Both chambers are expected to pass the bills Thursday, an effort that could stretch into the night as they rush to meet a federal deadline.

Munis Strong As Fed Keeps Rates Steady

Municipal bond buyers spent most of Wednesday in a defensive stance as the Federal Reserve met to decide the course of monetary policy. The Federal Open Market Committee voted unanimously to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 2.25% to 2.5%. The Fed “will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate to support” a strong labor market and inflation near 2%,” the FOMC said in a statement.

Second Snow Survey To Measure California Water Supply

Officials will trek into the mountains on Thursday to measure California’s snowpack again, in the hopes that recent storms have added to the state’s water supply. The California Department of Water Resources will perform the second survey of the season in the Sierra Nevada. Winter snow provides drinking water for much of the state as it melts in the spring and summer and flows into reservoirs for storage. The Sierra snowpack was 67 percent of normal in this winter’s first manual measurement earlier this month. 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.

A Suffering Habitat: Death Of Thousands Of Birds Highlights Sea’s Decline

The death of a couple thousand birds of an infectious disease at the Salton Sea earlier this month has helped underscore the impact of diminished quality and quantity of the habitats there. A large number of ruddy ducks, as well as gulls and other birds, migrating to the sea for the winter were killed between Jan. 8 and Jan. 17 by avian cholera, an infectious bacterial disease that spreads through direct contact.

‘Dude, Where’s My Water,’ Montecito Asks

Even with last week’s rains increasing Lake Cachuma elevations by more than five feet, the available supply for South Coast water agencies has remained the same. Under the complex legal arithmetic by which Cachuma is divvied up, all the additional water accrues to agencies downstream; that will remain the case until there’s enough runoff in the Santa Ynez River to generate a live stream.

Back-To-Back Storms Will Bring Rain, Potential For Debris Flows In Burn Areas

The first of three back-to-back winter storms will arrive in Southern California Thursday morning, bringing the potential for heavy rain along with a chance of debris flows and flooding in areas recently ravaged by wildfires, the National Weather Service said. The first storm, arriving by noon Thursday, will be fairly light — dropping a quarter of an inch to an inch of rain in Los Angeles County. Possible thunderstorms, however, could bring heavier rain to some regions, said Lisa Phillips, a meteorologist intern with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Environmental Coalition Supports Arizona Drought Plan, Counters Sierra Club Concerns

Earlier this week, the Star interviewed longtime Arizona Sierra Club leader Sandy Bahr on her view that the proposed Colorado River drought contingency plan legislation for Arizona is a pathway to unsustainable growth, not a bridge to a sustainable Colorado River future. Today, Kevin Moran, leader of an Arizona environmental coalition backing the drought plan, responds to Bahr, and answers questions about the coalition’s support.

Sierra Club Lobbyist: Drought Plan Supports Unsustainable Growth, Farming Practices

For years, advocates for a drought-contingency plan for the Colorado River have said it’s all that stands between us and catastrophe for Lake Mead. They say the plan, by limiting our take from the lake for the Central Arizona Project for the next seven years, will prevent or at least delay the time that the lake drops so low it will be impossible to get virtually any water out of it.