It’s a whole new ballgame for the San Diego County Water Authority when it comes to finding leaks in major pipelines with cutting-edge technology. One new tech tool deployed for the first time in February actually looks like a tennis ball that floats through water-filled pipelines scanning for potential trouble. Of course, the new device is much more complex inside than a tennis ball – in fact, the Nautilus is among the most advanced tools of its kind in the world. It not only detects defects that are invisible to the human eye, it does so without requiring pipes to be drained, which saves a significant amount of water and disruption to customers.
Archive for date: March 28th, 2019
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In 1959 we had just moved to San Diego from Taipei (Taiwan) where my dad had been stationed in the Navy. Out for a Sunday drive (something one actually did back then for family entertainment) we approached the old bridge spanning Lake Hodges. That Sunday drive remains a vivid memory sketched in my mind as my three young sisters busted out laughing when we read a sign on the bridge that simply read, “No fishing from the bridge.” Quite amusing to us as the lake was bone dry, without any water in sight.
The federal government Thursday added to the pile of lawsuits challenging new state requirements to boost river flows in order to help struggling fish populations. The U.S. Department of the Interior, which manages California’s largest irrigation supply project, argues that the flow standards will interfere with its operation of the New Melones Dam and reservoir on the Stanislaus River. The federal complaint, filed in both state and federal court, is the 11th lawsuit launched against the State Water Resources Control Board since it voted in December to require greater flows in the Stanislaus and two other tributaries of the San Joaquin River.
Last week, as snowpack in the Sierra Nevada measured more than 150 percent of its average, California was declared free of drought for the first time in more than seven years.
As reported by United States Drought Monitor on March 19, “California emerged from drought conditions for the first week since Dec. 11, 2011, breaking its 376-week streak.”
But California weather is nothing if not fickle, and boom-or-bust weather cycles appear to be the new norm for the state. During a speech at the American Water Works Association conference in Sacramento on Tuesday, March 26, California Secretary for Natural Resources, Wade Crowfoot, said that he expects wet winters will be wetter, and dry winters will be drier. Water managers across East County echoed that sentiment and stressed the importance of continued conservation.
California’s largest internal body of water is steadily drying up, exposing a lake bed that threatens to trigger toxic dust storms and exacerbate already high levels of asthma and other respiratory diseases in Southern California. Yet there is something about the Salton Sea that leads many lawmakers to ignore the urgency and put off remediation programs. It’s just so far south — off the mental map of officials who represent more densely populated urban areas to the north, like Los Angeles. It is hydrologically unconnected to the Bay Area and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which supplies water for so much of the state’s agricultural and residential use. It is a disaster in the making, yet it is an afterthought.
Running water is often taken for granted. Thirsty? Grab a glass and turn on the tap. But the delivery of safe drinking water across mountains and desert to millions of Southern California residents isn’t as easy at it seems. The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District serves 75,000 customers in Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills and Westlake Village, as well as unincorporated areas of western Los Angeles County. But LVMWD is just the middle man. The district buys 100 percent of its drinking water from the Metropolitan Water District, which supplies water districts from Oxnard to the Mexican border. MWD supplies water to 25 million Californians.
Just over a year after the San Diego Public Utilities Department (PUD) held a meeting in La Jolla to talk with residents about implausible spikes in their water bills, PUD provided the City Council’s Audit Committee with a “progress report” on its activities to ameliorate the concerns. The morning of March 20, PUD representatives addressed changes to water billing operations and the water meter cover replacements program, and told the committee that the majority of City Auditor recommended adjustments to department operations have been implemented. The rest, they said, were expected to be in effect by June.
As waterlogged storms repeatedly pounded California this winter, social media was filled with variations on a distinct photo theme. The subject was a freshly-plowed road, wedged in between towering white walls of snow measuring 10, 20 feet tall. As long as vehicles had safe passage, a wintry trench would be fine – that snow had to go somewhere, after all. But with an early-spring heatwave in the forecast, it’s time to start thinking about what a massive amount of snowmelt will mean for the state – that water has to go somewhere, after all.