As we launch into the new year there is good news about one of our state’s most persistent problems – water. For as long as most of us can remember, water users have retreated into their corners, demanding their share of water, with all water-users suffering in the stalemate. Status-quo policy hasn’t helped struggling fish populations, farms, or urban users, including residents of Santa Clara Valley and the East Bay.
Archive for month: January, 2019
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A simple web search will pull up nearly a million articles, videos and photos featuring Frank Gehrke. He’s no fashion icon like Kim Kardashian or a dogged politician like Gov. Jerry Brown. But he has broken a lot of news. Sometimes, it’s bad news, like California suffering yet another year of drought. That’s a realization he alluded to in 2014, when he measured the snowpack near Lake Tahoe.
Cecilia Bernal came looking for a career. Essie Mae Horne was focused on occupational advancement. Michaela Maddox-Gomez wanted to explore her options before she graduates from Mt. Carmel High School. Bernal, Horne and Maddox-Gomez were among the approximately 250 people packing the Center for Water Studies 2nd annual Women in Water – Exploring Career Pathways symposium on Jan. 17 at Cuyamaca College. The event included nearly two dozen speakers, a half-dozen panel discussions, inspirational messages from water and wastewater industry administrators, a day’s worth of networking opportunities and a bevy of information tables.
When it’s time to inspect facilities, such as water tanks, or survey the topography of its properties, the Otay Water District now turns to technology it has embraced in the past year: drones. The water agency, which serves more than 225,000 customers in eastern and southern San Diego County, uses two camera-equipped drones to get a bird’s-eye view of its vast and mostly remote sites and facilities, which include 40 potable water reservoirs, more than 20 pump stations and a treatment plant.
With a decarbonizing electricity business and the West perennially coping with drought, pumped-storage projects would seem to be the ideal win-win solution. Carbon-free electricity is generated by water from an upper reservoir falling on a turbine. Water is then pumped from the lower reservoir back to the upper reservoir chiefly using renewable power to be used again and again. Federal legislation signed in October may provide a boost to pumped storage projects under development by lengthening the duration of preliminary permits issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The new law, named the Water Resources Development Act, extended the duration of a FERC preliminary permit for pumped-storage projects to four years.
Coastal flooding and beach erosion are possible through Monday during the annual ocean phenomenon known as king tides. Waves carrying sand and rocks are likely to wash over The Strand in Oceanside, the parking lots at Tamarack Avenue beach in Carlsbad and Cardiff State Beach in Encinitas, and other low spots along the coast. Parts of Highway 101 have been closed temporarily to clean up debris and repair damage left by the seasonal tides and waves in recent years.
The new Escondido City Council majority flexed its muscle Wednesday by reversing a decision made two years ago to build a recycled water desalination plant in the middle of the city near businesses, a retirement complex, and homes. The Washington Avenue and Ash Street site was strongly opposed by residents and business owners in the area when the council voted in 2017 to build the $15 million plant there. The facility is badly needed to divert used water from being dumped into the ocean and to bring less expensive, higher-quality water to avocado farmers in the eastern and northern parts of the city.
A Poway landowner has filed a Clean Water Act lawsuit against the city for allegedly failing to adhere to water pollution control permits in the Lake Poway area along the trails leading to Mount Woodson and Potato Chip Rock. Poway City Attorney Allen Fenstermacher on Tuesday said the city denies all claims made in the suit and will file a response next month. He said the plaintiff, Kevin T. Kelly, filed the suit after the city rejected his request to purchase his property.
Jimmy Cliff’s 1971 song “I Can See Clearly Now” should be appropriate on Friday and well into next week. After a series of storms, gone will be the dark clouds – and the rain. Friday is gonna be a bright, bright, bright, sunshiny day, according to the National Weather Service. An “atmospheric river” of moisture that drenched counties to the north on Thursday barely brushed San Diego, which had a gray and misty day but only 0.05 of an inch of rain by late afternoon. The North County was far wetter, with some spots registering several tenths of an inch.
While this week’s rains forced mandatory evacuations for parts of the city of Lake Elsinore, it’s also brought good news for the lake itself. Canyon Lake dam upstream of Lake Elsinore is overflowing for the first time in two years, sending healthful water to Southern California’s largest natural freshwater lake. The lake periodically experiences dead fish on its shores and closures to people because of high levels of bacteria and algae as well as low oxygen levels in the water.