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Marine Corps Air Station Miramar embarked on a water conservation program about a decade ago and, through a $6 million investment, decreased its potable water use by more than 40% since 2007. (Left to right: Mick Wasco, MCAS Miramar Utilities & Energy Management Branch Head; MCAS Miramar Commanding Officer Charles B. Dockery; Gary Bousquet, Water Authority Deputy Director of Engineering). Photo: Water Authority

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Receives Water Efficiency Award

The San Diego County Water Authority today presented its 2019 Water Innovation & Efficiency Award to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar for significantly reducing its overall potable water use.

The reduction was achieved through a successful water conservation program and new infrastructure for distributing reclaimed water. The award was announced at the Industrial Environmental Association’s 35th Annual Environmental Conference at the San Diego Convention Center.

The award is part of the Water Authority’s Brought to You by Water outreach and education program, and an effort to recognize water-efficiency investments among the region’s top industries and organizations in conjunction with the IEA.

Shared history in the region

“The Water Authority shares a unique history with our military – we were created in 1944 to deliver imported water supplies to support our troops and communities at the height of World War II,” said Jim Madaffer, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “San Diego County has the largest concentration of military personnel in the world, and we are very proud that they are so committed to water efficiency and preserving our most important natural resource as they carry out their mission to protect our country.”

As one of the largest Marine Corps Air Stations and with more than 12,000 civilian Marines, contracted employees, service members and their families aboard the base, MCAS Miramar plays a crucial role in the San Diego region and in supporting our nation’s strategic defense. To that end, MCAS Miramar has and will continue to use unique and innovative solutions to maximize its resiliency, and lower dependence on natural resources. MCAS Miramar is a water customer of the City of San Diego.

“We are committed to implementing sustainability practices and principles that enhance training opportunities, sustain our incredible quality of life in San Diego County, and preserve the natural environment,” said Captain Matthew Gregory, director of communications for MCAS Miramar. “We are honored to receive this acknowledgement of the good work we are doing at Miramar in a region that has made such incredible strides in improving water-use efficiency.”

Investment in a multifaceted conservation program

MCAS Miramar embarked on a water conservation program about a decade ago, and through a $6 million investment, MCAS Miramar decreased its potable water use by more than 40% since 2007.

In 2015, the commanding officer formed a water conservation board tasked with reducing the base’s overall potable water use. The base now has a total of more than 5 miles of reclaimed water distribution systems, an increase of 47% from two years ago. This reclaimed water infrastructure as well as other water efficiency projects has allowed the base to save more than 100 million gallons of potable water each year.

Reclaimed water at the base is now being used for irrigation, construction-related activities, dual-plumbed buildings, street sweeping and soon for evaporative cooling. In addition, MCAS Miramar converted all aircraft and vehicle wash racks to isolated recirculated water systems, conserving 75% of the water used to wash essential equipment.

Bringing industrial environmental leaders together

“MCAS Miramar is a prime example of efforts by our region’s largest employers to make the most of every drop of water,” said Jack Monger, CEO of IEA. “I’m confident that our members will continue to develop innovative water-saving practices and technologies.”

The Water Authority’s Brought to You by Water program, developed in partnership with its 24 member agencies, was designed to bolster regional appreciation for the value of safe and reliable water supplies. That effort includes enhanced partnerships to highlight the importance of water reliability to the region’s economy.

Newsom Signs Dodd’s Water Management Bill

Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, announced Monday that Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed his legislation to help California oversee its water.

Army Corps of Engineers Speaks On Dam Failures

The history of dam safety and the lessons learned from previous failures was the topic of a presentation to the Kern River Valley Historical Society during their monthly meeting last week.

Anthony Burdock, Project Manager for the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project, presented a program outlining catastrophic dam failures and how those failures were used to mold the dam safety regulations that now govern the nation’s dams, including Isabella Dam.

Trump Administration Surrenders to California, Backs Off On Delta Water Fight

The Trump administration has retreated on a plan to push more water through the Delta this fall after protests from California officials on the harmful impacts on endangered Chinook salmon and other fish.

State officials had been worried that the proposed move, by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, also would have meant less water for Southern California cities that rely on supplies pouring out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

California Adopts 22 New Laws Taking Aim At Wildfire Danger

California is adopting nearly two dozen laws aimed at preventing and fighting the devastating wildfires that have charred large swaths of the state in recent years and killed scores of people.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that he had signed the 22 bills, saying several also will help the state meet its clean energy goals.

The measures largely enact key recommendations from a June report by a governor’s task force and build on $1 billion in the state budget devoted to preparing for wildfires and other emergencies, Newsom said.

Coastal Cities Plan For Sea Level Rise

In Pacifica, beachfront properties and houses on worn-down cliffs are devalued and could ultimately be destroyed by flooding and erosion. In Half Moon Bay, properties sit farther away from the ocean due to zoning that largely designates bluffs as open space. One thing the two cities have in common: As sea levels rise in San Mateo County, Highway 1, beaches, trails and important infrastructure are threatened. 

Both municipalities are in the process of revising their local coastal programs in response to sea level rise. Pacifica approved a draft to send to the California Coastal Commission on Monday. 

Paso Completes Water Treatment Facility

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, Paso Robles Wastewater Division Manager Matt Thompson informed the City Council of the completion of the City’s Tertiary Treatment Facility, one of the largest infrastructure projects in the City’s history. 

“The City has a master plan to capture wastewater it has disposed to the Salinas River for many decades and turn it into a new supplemental source of water we call recycled water,” Thompson said in his presentation to the City Council. 

Rainfall Contest Winner’s Prediction Was Good To The Last Drop

As September and the rainfall year wound down, Michael Candra needed a perfect storm — a perfectly light, minor storm.

Early Saturday morning, San Diego’s season total stood at 12.83 inches. At that point, Candra was in fifth place in the Union-Tribune’s 17th annual Precipitation Prediction Contest, which drew more than 500 entrants. Each year, we ask the locals to predict how much rain San Diego will receive from the start of the water year Oct. 1 to the end on Sept. 30.

Candra, 41, had predicted of 12.89 inches. Two people had predicted 12.85, one had 12.86 and another 12.87.

New Water Year Kicks Off With Surplus: California Has Greater Reservoir Storage Than Last Year

Four Lessons From the Front Lines of California’s Water Wars

Were San Diego on its own, there wouldn’t be enough water to go around. Only about 5 percent of urban San Diego’s water comes from local rainfall, an almost meaningless amount that wouldn’t support our region’s 3 million residents.