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Directors To Consider Revising Untreated Water Rate Increases

Ramona Municipal Water District (RMWD) Board of Directors will consider adjusting its rates for general untreated water at a Sept. 10 public hearing set for 2 p.m. at the Ramona Community Center, 434 Aqua Lane. RMWD directors already approved four types of rate increases at their July 9 meeting. The increases apply to treated and untreated water rates and fees, sewer service charges, capacity fees and connection fees, and emergency services fees. Increased water rates and fees were approved by the board on a 3-2 vote with President Jim Robinson and directors Thomas Ace and Bryan Wadlington in favor, and directors Jim Hickle and Jeff Lawler opposed. The recently approved rate for general untreated water was set to increase from $4.88 to $5.46 per unit — the equivalent of 748 gallons — beginning Aug. 1. Subsequent general untreated water increases were expected to follow effective July 1 of each year for the next four years. Those rates per unit are $5.85 in 2020; $6.26 in 2021; $6.70 in 2022; and $7.17 in 2023.

OPINION: Common Ground Must Be Reached On Border Sewage Spills

Over the past several months, and with his recent inflammatory comments on immigration, President Donald Trump has made the United States-Mexico border a point of contention in American political discourse. Yet while the nation focuses on the immigration battle at the Southern border, constituents in California are more concerned about pressing environmental issues that affect them every day. Over the past 30 years, the blue-collar beach town of Imperial Beach has battled a pollution crisis that poses a significant economic and public health threat to residents, visitors and communities on both sides of the California-Mexico border.

Brown And Caldwell Begins Work On Allen-McColloch Pipeline Rehab For Metropolitan Water District Of Southern California

Brown and Caldwell, a leading environmental engineering and construction firm, was selected by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan) to provide engineering design services for the rehabilitation of the prestressed concrete cylinder pipe (PCCP) portion of the Allen-McColloch Pipeline. Metropolitan is a regional wholesaler that provides water to 26 member public agencies that, along with their retail providers, serve 19 million people in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura counties. Metropolitan’s mission is to provide its service area with adequate and reliable supplies of high-quality water to meet present and future needs in an environmentally and economically responsible way.

New OCWD Director’s Poseidon Alternative

Kelly Rowe of Costa Mesa stunned the Poseidon underworld when he soundly defeated two-term Orange County Water District board-member Shawn Dewane in the 2018 election. Since 2013, Dewane and OCWD directors Cathy Green, Steve Sheldon, and Denis Bilodeau have fought hard for Poseidon Resources to build a $1 billion ocean desalination plant in Huntington Beach and sign a water purchase agreement with OCWD. Rowe will try to end that obsession by refocusing OCWD’s efforts. The remaining members of Poseidon’s coterie still obsess over Poseidon’s proposed desal deal: buy 56,000 AF of desalinated water every year for 30 years, regardless of need, at 3 or more times the price of imported water sold by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MET) for groundwater basin refills.

Study Suggests New Climate Threats To California’s Oysters

In the winter, rainstorms soak California’s coastline. In the spring and summer, strong winds blow waves into the narrow inlet of the Pacific Ocean. For the briny bivalves that live in the bay, this is part of the natural rhythm of life. But now, because of climate change, the torrents of winter rain run with increasing severity, and for oysters, all that freshwater can be dangerous. Summer’s waves bring increasingly acidic water, making it harder for small oysters to build their calcium-based shells. For years, scientists have warned that ocean acidification threaten oysters, but new research from UC Davis suggests that climate change ravages the creatures in a multitude of ways.

Is It Too Late to Save Wild Salmon?

Some of the world’s most famous conservationists have been hunters. Teddy Roosevelt, John James Audubon, and Ernest Hemingway each have the somewhat dubious distinction of saving animals’ habitats to try to kill them. Pacific salmon aren’t often mentioned alongside Roosevelt’s elephants or Hemingway’s tigers, but in Tucker Malarkey’s Stronghold (Random House, $28), fish is the biggest game of all. Malarkey’s protagonist is a charming misfit named Guido Rahr, who also happens to be her cousin. A naturalist almost as soon as he could walk, Rahr got hooked on fly fishing in his late teens, only to realize, to his horror, that the hydroelectric dams, agricultural runoff, commercial fishing industry, deforestation, and climate change in the Pacific Northwest could bring wild salmon to extinction.

Sometimes improving your water efficiency is as simple as changing a few old habits. Photo: Karolina Grabowska/Pixabay

Indoor Water Efficiency at No Cost

There are many ways to use water more efficiently indoors, and a lot of these are completely free! You don’t have to go through the expense of replacing appliances or installing new ones to improve indoor water efficiency. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing a few old water usage habits.

Here are some easy ways to reduce water usage inside your home:

  • Use a bowl of water to help thaw frozen food. Did you know that running the tap to thaw frozen meats and vegetables could use up to 2.5 gallons per minute? Using a bowl of room temperature water instead can greatly improve your water efficiency.
  • Scrape dirty dishes first before rinsing them. Not only will this save you time at the sink, but it will also conserve up to 2.5 gallons of water per minute.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water instead of running water.
  • Run the dishwasher only when it’s full. Too often people are tempted to run the dishwasher as soon as the sink is empty, but standard dishwashers can use 2-4.5 gallons of water per load.
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth. This is possibly the easiest habit to change when it comes to water efficiency, and most people are already doing it.
  • Shorten showers to five minutes or less. Setting a timer on your watch or phone can help with this.
  • Use a bucket to collect water in the shower while you’re waiting for it to warm up. Then use this water to water your plants. Sometimes it can take a while for the shower to get to the right temperature before you step in. This is a perfect time to collect some clean water that can be reused around the house.
  • Wash only full loads of clothing – standard clothes washing machines can use a whopping 15-50 gallons per load. By running the washing machine only when it’s full, you can greatly improve your water efficiency.

Learn more about how to use water more efficiently indoors and outdoors this summer.

Check out for more resources also has information about incentives for indoor and outdoor water conservation, as well as opportunities to sign up for FREE WaterSmart checkups. If you’re looking to revamp your landscaping this year, take a look at the WaterSmart landscape makeover classes for some easy ways to get started.

Santa Margarita River Project - FPUD - Camp Pendleton

Santa Margarita River Project to Increase Local Water Supply

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors voted in July to authorize a Local Resources Program Agreement with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Fallbrook Public Utility District for the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project.

The Local Resources Program, managed by MWD, provides funding for local water supply projects. MWD is expected to provide final approval of the project in coming months.

Earlier this year, an agreement between FPUD and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton settled a lawsuit that was filed in 1951 over the right to use water from the Santa Margarita River.

Water from Santa Margarita River would reduce imported water demand

The upcoming groundwater recharge project will improve existing facilities and build new facilities to capture surface runoff from the Santa Margarita River. When water flows are high, the runoff would recharge groundwater basins on Camp Pendleton. New and existing wells and pumps will transfer the groundwater to FPUD, which will treat and deliver it to customers.

Water from the river would reduce FPUD’s demand on imported water and minimize Camp Pendleton’s reliance on imported water.

Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use Project. Graphic: Fallbrook Public Utility District

Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use Project. Graphic: Fallbrook Public Utility District

Project would provide 30% of Fallbrook’s total water supply

Facilities will be constructed by Camp Pendleton and FPUD. Camp Pendleton has already constructed its own bi-directional pipeline and related infrastructure, as part of the project, which received congressional funding.

FPUD will construct groundwater extraction wells, a groundwater treatment plant, pump station, storage tank and conveyance and distribution pipelines among other things. The cost of the project is $54.4 million.

FPUD expects construction of the pipeline and treatment plant will begin this fall and take about two years. When completed, the project is expected to produce an estimated 3,100 acre-feet a year. One-acre foot, the equivalent of 326,000 gallons, can supply the average household needs of 2.5 four-person families for one year.

The project would provide about 30 percent of FPUD’s total water supply and nearly all of Camp Pendleton’s water needs.