You are now in News Supply & Demand category.

Report credits San Diego County Water Authority for providing regional water solutions which include storing water in Lake Mead. Photo: National Park Service

San Diego County Quality of Life Indicators Mostly Positive in 2018

A report released today showed improvement in 2018 for the majority of 15 indicators used to measure San Diego County’s quality of life. The Equinox Project Quality of Life Dashboard measures and benchmarks several environmental and economic trends throughout the region.

The analysis highlighted the San Diego County Water Authority for developing water solutions for San Diego and the Southwest using a “portfolio approach.” One of the initiatives under that approach includes efforts to store water in Lake Mead on the Colorado River, which would benefit both San Diego County residents and many other river users.

San Diego County's water supply has diversified significantly over the last couple of decades.. Source: San Diego County Water Authority

San Diego County’s water supply has diversified significantly over the last couple of decades. Source: San Diego County Water Authority

The nonpartisan Equinox Project report is a source of public policy research and analysis to guide policymakers, planners and other officials, said Emily Young, executive director of The Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego, where the project is based.

Water use increased in 2018

“There’s no one indicator when you’re talking our quality of life in the San Diego region,” Young said. “And in fact, the whole point is all of these things are connected. If you’re talking about air quality, you really can’t talk about that if you’re not also talking about our transportation systems and the pollution generated from them.

“Whether we’re looking at an issue like water, which is very precious to the San Diego region, or other issues around transportation or housing, all of these are things that we’re measuring our progress on,” said Young.

Per capita water use in San Diego County

*This data includes agricultural water use served by local water agencies.
In 2018, National City had the lowest municipal and industrial (M&I) water use at 78 gallons per capita daily. Yuima’s high per capita M&I potable water use occurs because a large amount of water used for horticultural irrigation is classified as M&I, and the district services a small population (less than 2,000 people). Data Source: San Diego County Water Authority

Measuring quality of life

Six of the 15 indicators received a “thumbs-up” in the report, including air quality, electricity use and renewable energy. Four indicators, including water use, received a “thumbs-down.”

“Daily residential water consumption in San Diego County increased by 8.3% from 84 gallons per capita in 2017 to 91 gallons in 2018,” according to the report. “Water use has increased since the statewide water restrictions were lifted in 2017, though below pre-drought levels.”

*Sweetwater Authority is comprised of the South Bay Irrigation District and National City. The dataset excludes the City of Del Mar, the City of Oceanside, Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base and the Yuima Municipal Water District.
In Q4 of 2018, residents in the Sweetwater Authority area (National City and South Bay) had the lowest residential water use in San Diego County. Santa Fe Irrigation District used 363 gallons per capita/day, the most water per capita in San Diego County. Data Source: State Water Resources Control Board, Urban Water Supplier Report, 2019

Water use lower in 2019

Despite the slight increase in water use during 2018, residents continue to conserve compared to previous years.

“While extreme dry conditions contributed to increased residential water use in 2018, per capita water use was still lower than historical, pre-drought levels,” said Alexi Schnell, water resources specialist with the Water Authority. “Water use to date in 2019, a much wetter year, has been consistently lower than in 2018.

“There will always be fluctuations based on weather and other factors, but the San Diego region continues to embrace water-use efficiency, and per capita water use in the region is not forecasted to return to pre-drought levels for the foreseeable future,” Schnell added.

The report noted that “the San Diego region is making significant commitments to water efficiency and recycling” and has diversified local supply with the Claude “Bud” Lewis Desalination Plant in Carlsbad, the nation’s largest seawater desalination plant.

Water Board Places 10 County Agencies On Notice To Clean Up San Diego River

The San Diego Water Board is asking 10 local agencies, including the city and county of San Diego, to curtail the flow of human fecal matter into the San Diego River. The problem has gotten worse over the last few years to the point it’s being compared with similar issues along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the state agency that monitors the region’s water quality, “While we’ve all known about the border issue — the Tijuana water shed — it was surprising to find out there was actually a lot of human waste present in the San Diego River water shed,” said David Gibson, San Diego Water Board Executive Officer.

Dams Could Protect Ranchers From Climate Change’s Drought…But Could They Also Contribute To It?

It’s late May in Wyoming. It snowed last night, and more snow is predicted. That’s why it’s good that Big Piney Rancher Chad Espenscheid is behind the wheel of the truck. The roads are sloppy and Middle Piney Creek is running high. “Speaking of water,” he says, laughing. “Yeah, seems like it’s starting to flood,” I observe. “Yeah, it’s just wet.” That wetness is nerve-wracking for ranchers like Espenscheid. “It’s been a cold, long winter,” he says. “The cows and calves are really needing some sunshine about now. We got quite a bit of sickness going on around the valley.”

NASA Explores Our Changing Freshwater World

Water is so commonplace that we often take it for granted. But too much—or too little of it—makes headlines. Catastrophic flooding in the U.S. Midwest this spring has caused billions of dollars in damage and wreaked havoc with crops, after rain tipped off a mass melting of snow. Seven years of California drought so debilitating that it led to water rationing came to a close after a wet and snowy winter capped off several years of slow rebound and replenished the vital mountain snowpack.

Public Opinion Split On Cat Canyon Aquifer Exemption

Hundreds of people filled the Santa Maria Veterans Memorial Building on June 5 to voice their opinion on a proposed aquifer exemption that would expand the area in Cat Canyon where oil companies can build injection wells. Some environmental activists and students pushed back on the proposal during the hearing, while some local ranchers and labor unions encouraged the California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to move the exemption forward. DOGGR and other state agencies are considering recommending that the Environmental Protection Agency approve the expansion.

California And Water: Half Environmental Nightmare, Half Remarkable Success Story

When delegates to the second International Irrigation Congress convened in Los Angeles in October 1893, pessimism about their mission was not supposed to be on the agenda. The gathering, after all, was meant to encourage reclamation of arid lands throughout the American West, using irrigation to transform an immense wasteland into an agriculturally productive cornucopia. Thus the reaction when John Wesley Powell rose and delivered his now-famous caveat about the limits of development in the region. “Gentlemen,” he told the delegates in the Grand Opera House, “there is not sufficient water to supply these lands.” The gentlemen responded by booing the esteemed explorer off the stage.

OPINION: What Is Sustainable Groundwater Management?

Someone recently asked me about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and how it will affect our community. I didn’t have an immediate answer for that, since I am still learning about it. But it seemed like a good opportunity to dive into the world of groundwater management and review the history that has led us to the SGMA. I would still refer technical questions of sustainable groundwater management to the very knowledgeable folks over at the Carpinteria Valley Water District.

Huge Water Rate Hike Approved By East Bay MUD

East Bay Municipal Utility District directors voted 5-1 on Tuesday to approve a water rate increase totaling nearly 13 percent over the next two years. The board’s vote means that the water agency’s 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties will face a 6.5 percent rate hike on July 1 and another 6.25 percent hike on July 1, 2020. The rate hikes follow an increase of nearly 20 percent over the past two years.

New Plan To Safeguard Russian River Targets Contamination From Human And Animal Waste

An on-again, off-again effort by state regulators to better protect the Russian River and its tributaries against failing septic systems, livestock waste and other potential sources of bacterial contamination is in its final stages, with hopes that an action plan for the entire watershed will be approved this August and go into effect next year. The move, controversial and closely watched in years past, could impose stricter regulations and mandatory septic system upgrades on thousands of landowners with properties near the river or its connected waterways.

San Diego County Quality Of Life Indicators Mostly Positive In 2018

A report released today showed improvement in 2018 for the majority of 15 indicators used to measure San Diego County’s quality of life. The Equinox Project Quality of Life Dashboard measures and benchmarks several environmental and economic trends throughout the region. The analysis highlighted the San Diego County Water Authority for developing water solutions for San Diego and the Southwest using a “portfolio approach.” One of the initiatives under that approach includes efforts to store water in Lake Mead on the Colorado River, which would benefit both San Diego County residents and many other river users.