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Water Use Drops Nearly 32% Per Capita in Manteca Copy

Manteca’s daily per capita use of water in 2019 was down 31.8 percent compared to 2013.

That means Manteca is now exceeding the water conservation goal of 30 percent established by the state at the height of the drought. Mantecans used 195.5 gallons per capita in 2013 compared to 133.3 gallons in 2019.

Several sensitive species of small animals, such as this western spadefoot toad, live within Mission Trails Regional Park. Photo: Water Authority

Wildlife Protected for New Underground Reservoir Project

One by one, small mammals and amphibians living within a construction zone in Mission Trails Regional Park are being relocated to safe areas. Protecting sensitive species is one part of the Mission Trails Project.

A team of biologists from the San Diego County Water Authority, AECOM, and the San Diego Natural History Museum began surveying for and relocating the wildlife in preparation for a new underground reservoir. The reservoir will be constructed in the western portion of the park. The habitat surveys and wildlife relocation program span 15 acres of the park and are designed to protect sensitive species in the project area from construction activities.

Biologists move, monitor sensitive wildlife

Several sensitive species of small mammals and amphibians will be encountered and moved.

Biologists will focus on four sensitive species that are covered under the Water Authority’s Natural Communities Conservation Plan and Habitat Conservation Plan: northwestern San Diego pocket mouse, Dulzura pocket mouse, San Diego desert wood rat, and western spadefoot toad. Biologists will continue to monitor for these and other sensitive species during construction.

Biologists took special care to find burrows or covered areas for the small animals, such as this kangaroo rat, so that they could begin to build their new homes in the safe areas of the park. Photo: Water Authority

Biologists took special care to find burrows or covered areas for the small animals, such as this kangaroo rat, so that they could begin to build their new homes in the safe areas of the park. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Protecting sensitive species, environmental stewardship ‘paramount’

For about two weeks, more than 500 traps will be placed in a grid pattern in the evenings and the sensitive species will be moved one at a time to safe areas within the park early each morning. Special care is being taken to help the animals find new burrows or covered areas as quickly as possible. Each animal is carefully marked, and data is logged to track the relocated animals. This tracking process helps ensure that the wildlife is not returning to the construction zone.

“We are conducting sensitive species surveys and habitat management before the start of construction to allow the animals to find new habitat and build homes safely away from the upcoming work,” said Summer Adleberg, a principal water resources specialist at the Water Authority. “Environmental stewardship is paramount to the Water Authority, and we always aim to minimize impacts to the surrounding land and communities while we improve regional water infrastructure.”

New covered reservoir will improve regional water delivery system

The reservoir, also called a “flow regulatory structure,” will store up to 5 million gallons of water underground and help regulate untreated water flows in the regional water delivery system. When completed, the reservoir will be covered with soil and vegetation. Above-ground access hatches and vents will be constructed to allow air to move in and out of the reservoir.

Once the project is completed, the area will be restored to its original condition and monitored over the next several years.

Mission Trails Project protects wildlife

The structure is part of a suite of infrastructure improvements, called the Mission Trails Project. The underground reservoir, pipeline tunnel, and removal of existing blue vent stacks are part of the project.

A new concrete crossing over the San Diego River will also be constructed to allow Water Authority vehicles to access pipelines and other infrastructure more efficiently. The pipeline tunnel, river crossing, and removal of most above-ground vent stacks have already been completed.

Construction activities on the covered reservoir and removal of the last two vent stacks are scheduled to begin in March and last approximately two years.

For trail closures and more information about the project, go to

Women In Water Conference Showcases Career Opportunities

More than 200 people explored career opportunities in the water and wastewater industry at the third annual Women in Water Symposium Thursday at Cuyamaca College.

The conference’s goal this year was to create a community of people with the interest and aptitude to take on what were previously considered non-traditional careers.

Speakers at the conference shared their personal experiences working in the water industry and offered tips for young professionals.

California Moves Toward Single Water Tunnel Under Delta

California is moving forward with its biggest water project in decades, a single tunnel beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta that will help move Northern California water south to cities and farms, state water officials said Wednesday. The proposal piggybacks on plans by former Gov. Jerry Brown, who wanted to build a pair of 30-mile-long tunnels through the delta but was stymied by funding shortfalls and controversy. The project shares the same vision as Brown’s: to halt deterioration of the delta’s fragile ecosystem — the pinch point of the state’s water delivery network — while ensuring adequate water shipments to the rest of the state.

State: Poway Failed to Protect its Water System, Customers

A state water board is faulting the city of Poway for “failing to protect its public water system” and is ordering the municipality to take immediate action to correct a series of violations that led to a week-long boil-water advisory. In a letter that accompanied the official citation, the State Water Resources Control Board said Poway “failed to provide pure, wholesome, healthful and potable water by delivering untreated storm drain water to customers”. The agency also criticized city officials for making comments to the media that confused or worsened the situation, which resulted in nearly 50,000 people being told not to drink their tap water and forced the closure of nearly 200 food-related businesses between Nov. 30 and Dec. 6.

What to Expect from the Biggest Winter Storm of 2020 to Hit Northern California

A major storm system that has plagued the Pacific Northwest with heavy snow and ice is moved into Northern California on Thursday. The brunt of the storm slammed the Bay Area to Fairfield, around 9 a.m. Sacramento got its fair share of heavy rain around 10 a.m. The heaviest of the rain lasted about an hour, with continued rainfall expected through 1 p.m. As the storm system moves through the valley, the Sierra and Coastal range will be dealing with heavy snowfall through Friday morning.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Administration Seeks Input on Water Plan

As Gov. Gavin Newsom and his administration attempt to establish a comprehensive and cohesive water policy for the state, officials are seeking public input on the draft water resilience portfolio released earlier this month. The document was issued in response to Newsom’s April 2019 executive order directing his administration to inventory and assess a wide range of water-related challenges and solutions. Completed jointly by the California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the draft offers more than 100 recommendations designed to help the state manage drought, floods, threatened fish populations and aging water-delivery infrastructure, among other threats.

Imported Water Helps the Valley Endure Another Year of Drought

Thanks in part to a wet December that brought heavy snow to the Sierras, 2020 is off to a good start with reservoir storage levels at or above historic averages throughout most of the state – good news for San Bernardino Valley residents. Even though water districts and cities throughout the San Bernardino Valley rely on local rainfall and mountain runoff for about 70 percent of their water supply, local supplies are not enough. The region relies on Sierra snowmelt from Northern California to meet the remaining 30 percent.

Water Resource Innovation, Hard-Earned Lessons and Colorado River Challenges — Western Water Year in Review

Innovative efforts to accelerate restoration of headwater forests and to improve a river for the benefit of both farmers and fish. Hard-earned lessons for water agencies from a string of devastating California wildfires. Efforts to drought-proof a chronically water-short region of California. And a broad debate surrounding how best to address persistent challenges facing the Colorado River.


‘Forever Chemicals’ in Orange County Drinking Water to Force Widespread Well Closures

The Orange County Water District, which serves 2.5 million county residents, expects to see nearly a third of the 200 groundwater wells in its service area shut down by year’s end because of the presence of toxic PFAS, a chemical family linked to cancer, liver and kidney damage, low birth weight and other health problems.

Nine of those wells have already been closed and 32 more are expected to be closed in coming weeks as state regulators continue to lower acceptable thresholds for the toxins, according to district officials. As many as 31 additional wells could be shut down after testing is expanded later this year.