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Members of the Water Authority at the San Diego Press Club Journalism Awards (L to R): Denise Vedder, Litsa Tzotzolis, Gayle Falkenthal, Ed Joyce, Kristiene Gong. Photo: Water Authority

Water Authority’s Public Outreach Efforts Honored

For the second consecutive year, the San Diego County Water Authority received two first place awards from the San Diego Press Club for its public outreach and education work. The awards were presented at the 2019 San Diego Press Club 46th Annual Excellence in Journalism Awards October 29 at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation’s Joe and Vi Jacobs Community Center.

San Diego’s finest reporters, photographers, writers, artists, and communicators were honored with the region’s top awards in one of the largest annual competitions in the United States.

The Water Authority received the following Press Club awards:

Websites, Public Service or Consumer Advocacy Site: First place, Water News Network

Public Relations, Public Information and Trade Publications, Special interest on one-time publications: “San Diego County Water Authority: 75 Years and Counting

The Water News Network has proven to be a valuable source of water news and information for the San Diego region since it started in May 2018. This is the second consecutive year the Water News Network website has won first place in this category.

“Traditional news organizations face increasingly limited resources, but our constituents still have the need for accurate information about water issues and efforts by the Water Authority and its member agencies to secure a safe and reliable water supply for the San Diego region,” said Denise Vedder, public outreach and conservation director for the San Diego County Water Authority. “The Water News Network is an effort to provide this information. It has also become a tip sheet for regional news media to follow water issues and generate their own independent reporting, which has been a welcome additional benefit.”

San Diego County Water Authority: 75 Years and Counting

San Diego County Water Authority: 75 Years and Counting,” explored San Diego’s water history, needs and the 24 member agencies that serve the region. The one-time publication was a special section supplement within the Sunday, June 9, 2019 San Diego Union-Tribune, honoring the founding of the organization on June 9, 1944.

“The San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism awards shows that solid research, writing, reporting and photography matter more than ever,” said Karyl Carmignani, 2019 Press Club president. “I’m proud our organization honors student and professional journalists and public relations professionals in San Diego.”

This year’s Journalism Awards program drew more than 950 entries across multiple media categories. Judges included members of press clubs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Rochester (New York), Florida, Cleveland, Orange County, Milwaukee, Tulsa, and Alaska.

World Unprepared For Impact of Climate Change On Mountain Water Supplies: Experts

The world faces increased flooding, droughts and possible conflicts due to the effects of climate change on fresh water supplies drawn from mountains but is “woefully unprepared” to tackle these risks, experts said.

Mountain-sourced water supplies, which provide about half of all drinking water worldwide, is becoming more unpredictable as warmer temperatures melt glaciers and change precipitation patterns and river levels, affecting countries unevenly.

In some areas, such as the Alps, extra water from glaciers has caused flash floods while shrinking snow cover in the Andes has led to droughts in places like Chile.

Agencies Dismiss Concerns About Trump’s Calif. Water Plan

California water projects have pushed winter-run chinook salmon into the single place that remains suitable for them to breed: the reservoir behind the Shasta Dam.

Even that sanctuary fails during drought years as the same pressures that drove salmon into the reservoir — too little water and too much heat — take hold in their only breeding ground. Climate change is making those pressures worse, and the chinook population is closer than ever to extinction, according to NOAA Fisheries.


The Fight To Stop Nestlé From Taking America’s Water To Sell In Plastic Bottles

The network of clear streams comprising California’s Strawberry Creek run down the side of a steep, rocky mountain in a national forest two hours east of Los Angeles. Last year Nestlé siphoned 45m gallons of pristine spring water from the creek and bottled it under the Arrowhead Water label.

Though it’s on federal land, the Swiss bottled water giant paid the US Forest Service and state practically nothing, and it profited handsomely: Nestlé Waters’ 2018 worldwide sales exceeded $7.8bn.

Conservationists say some creek beds in the area are now bone dry and once-gushing springs have been reduced to mere trickles. The Forest Service recently determined Nestlé’s activities left Strawberry Creek “impaired” while “the current water extraction is drying up surface water resources”.

Eastern Municipal Water District Receives $36M State Grant for Groundwater Improvements

Eastern Municipal Water District’s (EMWD) proposed Perris North Groundwater Program received a major boost with a $36.3 million grant from the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The proposed project is a long-term solution to improve groundwater quality in the North Perris Groundwater Basin, in the Moreno Valley area of Riverside County. The program would also make beneficial use of available local groundwater supplies, further reducing reliance on imported water supplies, by up to 6,700 acre-feet per year.

The grant award covers up to 50 percent of the estimated $72 million program to remove and contain nitrates, perchlorates, volatile organic compounds, and total dissolved solids from groundwater in the basin. It is the largest grant in EMWD’s history.

Coastal Commission Staff Recommends Denial Of Permit For Cal Am’s Desalination Plant.

The staff of the California Coastal Commission is recommending that commissioners deny a critical coastal development permit for wells that would supply California American Water’s proposed desalination plant near Marina.

The recommendation, published Monday, Oct. 28, is a major blow to Cal Am ahead of the next commission meeting scheduled for Nov. 13-15 in Half Moon Bay. The vote on the wells will take place on Nov. 14, and hundreds of residents of Monterey County are expected to arrive and voice their support for or opposition to the permit.

In their 110-page report, commission staff cited the relatively high cost of the desal project to the public, possible environmental harm, and the availability of an alternative water project.

OPINION: Californians Should Favor Dam Expansion Plan: Tom Campbell

The Public Policy Institute of California, one of the most respected, neutral research institutes in our state, reports that more than a third of all the water that falls on California in the form of rain or snow flows to the Pacific Ocean.

This constitutes a greater percentage of our water than agriculture, industrial and urban uses combined. The next largest destination for California’s water is environmental, which also exceeds all that is consumed by agriculture, industrial and urban use combined. Together, water going to environmental uses and water flowing to the ocean make up two-thirds of all California’s water.

Salton Sea Authority Honors Bruce Wilcox for Years of Service

The Salton Sea Authority honored out-going Assistant Secretary of Salton Sea Policy Bruce Wilcox during the Authority’s October 24 board meeting. Wilcox was at the meeting when the Authority’s Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution recognizing his efforts to improve the Salton Sea.

He was appointed to serve as assistant secretary within the California Natural Resources Agency in 2015 and assigned to work on Salton Sea restoration efforts. His appointment followed the formation of the Salton Sea Task Force.