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New Analysis Spells Out Serious Legal Risk To Colorado River Water Users

As climate change continues to sap the Colorado River’s water, some users face serious legal risks to their supplies, according to a new analysis by researchers in Colorado and New Mexico.

Declining flows could force Southwest water managers to confront long-standing legal uncertainties, and threaten the water security of Upper Basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico.

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve 2019 Photo Contest Winners Inspired by Nature

At its November 13 meeting, Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors recognized seven amateur photographers for their winning images captured in the 14th annual Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve photo contest.

“Every year, I am impressed with the quality of images and talent of Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve visitors,” said Bob Kephard, OMWD board secretary. “This year’s winning images put together a strong case for just how important it is to preserve open space for native habitat.”

Contest entries help to promote Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve and educate the public on the importance of wildlife and habitat protection.

Water Flows Again Through Pipeline From Temecula to Chula Vista After Repairs to Crack

A pipeline that spans almost the entire length of San Diego County is back in use after engineers spent weeks patching a massive crack in the pipe’s infrastructure.

The San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) discovered a leak in September to a portion of its 90-inch Pipeline 4, which has carried water since 1966 from the Skinner Water Treatment Plant near Temecula down to the Otay Reservoir near Chula Vista.

NBC 7 was the only news media outlet invited inside the pipe in September before repairs began. The pipeline was shut off Sept. 16 with the cooperation of the Water Authority’s member agencies.

Water Conservation Garden Celebrates 20th Anniversary Nov. 16

Twenty years ago, people who saw a need to help people conserve water and preserve San Diego’s environment conceived the idea for a demonstration garden.

The Water Conservation Garden celebrates its 20th-anniversary Saturday, November 16 at 5 p.m. with a benefit concert featuring food and drink stations, dancing, auction items and live music provided by The Mighty Untouchables. More information and tickets are available on The Garden’s website.

Native San Diegan Jon Foreman of the Grammy-award winning band Switchfoot is among The Garden’s newest fans after a recent visit.

Surfrider Study Calls For Allowing The Ocean To Advance Inland

While California scored the only “A” in a new environmental assessment of the nation’s beaches, the state’s sole shortcoming in the report pulls back the curtain on a growing conflict over whether beachfront homeowners should be allowed to protect their property against rising seas.

Some argue that protecting coastal homes, roads and train tracks with boulders and other types of seawalls is the most practical way to deal with sea-level rise. But the Surfrider Foundation, which issued the new report, is among those who believe that approach should be avoided. It says the result is the elimination of beaches as the ocean washes away sand and waves pound directly onto the armoring.

Mojave Water Agency Celebrates New Near Net-Neutral Hydroelectric, Clean Energy System

Mojave Water Agency (MWA) cut the ribbon on a $4.3 million, clean-energy system last week after yeas of planning. The new hydroelectric project will take advantage of water from the California Aqueduct to the district’s groundwater basin in the Victor Valley by converting existing pressure into electrical energy. The process will provide a near net-neutral status in its energy consumption — a byproduct that will save MWA millions of dollars over the next 30 years and provide numerous environmental benefits.


State Panel Backs Extending Life Of Gas-Burning Generator At Huntington Beach Power Plant

A gas-burning generator at a Huntington Beach power plant could keep firing until as late as 2023, following a state commission’s recent vote.

The AES facility was scheduled to close by the end of next year, but the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously last week to extend its operating life for up to three additional years.

Pushing back the plant’s retirement would delay remediation of the site, as well as prolong the practice of “once-through” cooling — a process that uses seawater to cool the coastal energy transformers, which can kill fish and other marine life.

Climate Whiplash: Wild Swings in Extreme Weather Are on the Rise

From 2011 to 2016, California experienced five years of extreme drought, during which numerous high temperature records were broken. These hot, dry years were followed by the extremely wet winter of 2016 -2017, when, from October to March, an average of 31 inches of rain fell across the state, the second highest winter rainfall on record.

All that rain meant a bumper crop of grasses and other vegetation, which, as hot and dry conditions returned, likely contributed to a combustible mix of fuels that played a role in the severe fires that have swept California in the past two years.

Joint Powers Authority Formed To Oversee East County Water Purification Project

A government oversight group has been formed to help four local entities keep Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s recycled water treatment plans flowing smoothly.

Earlier this month, representatives from Padre Dam, the city of El Cajon and the County of San Diego took part in the initial formation meeting of the East County Advanced Water Purification Joint Powers Authority. The JPA will serve as the governing body for the recycled water project.