Despite the efforts of a handful of Riverside County lawmakers, a controversial bill that would pave the way for a massive hydroelectric energy storage project on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park has been shelved for now, leaving the Eagle Mountain project still without a clear path forward. The project would use abandoned iron mining pits to store billions of gallons of groundwater, pumped from the Chuckwalla Valley aquifer. Once operational, the facility would use abundant daytime solar power to pump water from a lower retention area to a higher elevation.
Archive for month: May, 2019
You are now in California and the U.S. Media Coverage category.
The northern San Diego County region plays a big part in making California the nation’s leading agricultural state. Locally grown crops that include avocados, citrus, strawberries, grapes and cut flowers have put San Diego in the top tier of the nation’s agricultural counties. According to the San Diego County Farm Bureau, San Diego is the 10th largest farm economy out of more than 3,000 counties nationwide.
A coalition of wildlife and conservation groups has contacted the City of San Diego with concerns about sudden changes in water levels at Lake Hodges that are destroying spring nesting sites for Western and Clark’s grebes. Lake Hodges is a city-owned water storage facility that has become a prime nesting location for the large aquatic birds. Spring nesting season attracts birders from all over to monitor and observe the courting, nesting and rearing of chicks. Grebes build their nests on partially submerged sticks and branches at water level. Brian Caldwell is a resident of Del Dios, a neighborhood adjacent to the lake and operator of Lake Hodges Photo Tours.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Friday successfully dodged claims its management of a California dam violates state law and threatens the survival of endangered steelhead trout, but the legal battle is far from over. U.S. District Judge Edward Chen rejected a move by conservationists to add the United States as a “necessary party” to a state court action involving disputed rights to water from the Twitchell Dam and Reservoir in San Luis Obispo County.
Matt and Lauren Kirkpatrick of La Mesa are this year’s winner of the Helix Water District’s ‘WaterSmart Landscape Contest,’ an annual competition recognizing outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on overall attractiveness, design, efficient irrigation and appropriate plant selection and maintenance.
Compared to the thirsty turf in the Kirkpatricks’ previous landscaping, the growing, colorful and entirely native new landscaping requires much less water and creates a place of inspiration and peace for these outdoor enthusiasts. Over the two-month billing period ending this April, the home used just 13 units of water, which is almost 40 percent less than the average water use of other Helix customers. One unit is 748 gallons.
The Kirkpatricks purchased the home in 2014 with a front yard full of grass that required frequent watering and mowing to maintain a modest appearance. In the end, the lawn’s appearance was lackluster, costly, and time consuming for the couple. Taking advantage of SoCal WaterSmart’s turf removal rebate program, the Kirkpatricks tossed their turf for a beautiful native landscape with less maintenance and less water consumption.
The couple chose a native plant pallet so they could enjoy the look, feel and smell of what they love – the California outdoors.
“California natives were an obvious choice,” said Matt Kirkpatrick. “They are a reflection of our love for the plants we know closely from our experiences outdoors. Native plants make us feel at home and give us an appreciation for the beauty of our state.”
Colorful new landscaping already in full spring bloom
Although only a few months old, the yard already displays a wonderful spring bloom with a wide variety of colors that native landscapes can offer. There are vibrant oranges from hundreds of California poppies, reds from sticky monkey flower, blues from ceanothus, purples from lupine, yellows from yarrow and plenty of green and golds from various shrubs and grasses. At the center of the landscape is a young but promising Engelmann Oak, a signature Southern California tree among wild and urban landscapes.
Plants receive water from rainwater catchment and through an efficient irrigation system, which the couple installed. The landscape captures rainwater from the roof and diverts it into two separate swales designed to absorb the water and allow it time to soak into the soil. The two swales provide water for half of the yard and prevent rainwater from running off into the street. The remaining plants receive water through high-efficiency spray nozzles that were retrofitted onto the existing irrigation system and use less water than the previous sprinklers. The Kirkpatricks only run the system once per month during the warm season.
Native gardens are just one of many different designs of landscapes available to homeowners looking to redesign their thirsty and traditional landscapes. In addition to requiring minimal irrigation beyond rainfall, native gardens are colorful, low maintenance and provide a natural habitat for local wildlife.
Free WaterSmart Landscape Makeover classes provide blueprint for success
Like the 2018 Helix landscape contest winners, the Kirkpatricks took advantage of the San Diego County Water Authority’s free WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program four course series to educate themselves about their options. They then chose a landscaping contractor familiar with native plants which thrive in a residential landscape to bring their plan to life.
The Kirkpatricks will receive their prizes including gift cards totaling $250 and an award certificate at the Helix Water District’s June board of directors meeting The family will also receive a ‘WaterSmart Contest Winner’ sign to display in the yard.
Helix Water District treats and delivers water to over 276,000 people in La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove and parts of Spring Valley, Lakeside and unincorporated San Diego County.
Matt and Lauren Kirkpatrick of La Mesa are this year’s winner of the Helix Water District’s ‘WaterSmart Landscape Contest,’ an annual competition recognizing outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on overall attractiveness, design, efficient irrigation and appropriate plant selection and maintenance. Compared to the thirsty turf in the Kirkpatricks’ previous landscaping, the growing, colorful and entirely native new landscaping requires much less water and creates a place of inspiration and peace for these outdoor enthusiasts. Over the two-month billing period ending this April, the home used just 13 units of water, which is almost 40 percent less than the average water use of other Helix customers. One unit is 748 gallons.
The massive desalination plant in Carlsbad that accounts for about 10 percent of the drinkable water in San Diego County is reportedly about to be sold for more than $1 billion to a subsidiary of an investment company based in Scotland, but the San Diego County Water Authority it does not expect a potential sale to affect customers in the area. Bloomberg News on Thursday quoted “people with knowledge of the matter” who said an affiliate of Aberdeen Standard Investments, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, is about to buy the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant and the deal may be announced as soon.
A method of replacing sewer pipe without digging or removing the old pipe – trenchless pipe repair – is saving Vallecitos Water District ratepayers money and reducing traffic delays. It’s another example of how water agencies in San Diego County are tapping cost-effective technology. The district is using the trenchless method to extend the life of its service pipelines while avoiding the disruption of excavation trenches and traffic rerouting around work areas on public streets. Instead of digging the pipeline up to replace it, the sewer line is rehabilitated from inside the pipe.
José Hernández has two plastic barrels in his front yard, filled to the brim with water collected during the recent rains. Half a dozen buckets, a trash can and a cooking pot sit close by, nearly overflowing. It should be enough for Hernández to tend to his garden for the next few weeks and slight relief for a water bill that sets him back $130 to $170 each month. A retired farmworker, Hernández, 64, supports his wife and two daughters primarily on a $950 monthly Social Security check.
Last week three local entities California Trout, Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission (IWPC) and Sonoma Water announced that they will be signing a project planning agreement with the hopes of looking at pathways to relicense the Potter Valley Project. The Potter Valley Project is a hydropower project that sits in the middle of the Eel River and Russian River watershed basins and is integral in providing water to both Mendocino County and northern Sonoma County.