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Sweetwater Authority Board Appoints Chair and New Committee Assignments for 2020

Chula Vista, CA – Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Governing Board voted in December to appoint Steve Castaneda as Board Chair for 2020; this will be his second term as chair. Hector Martinez was appointed as Vice Chair for 2020.

Dry, Sunny Days in January Have Taken a Toll on California’s Snowpack

All of those dry January days have taken a toll on California’s snowpack, but officials say it’s too early to worry about drought conditions.

Surveyors with the California Department of Water Resources trekked through a snow-covered field Thursday at the department’s Phillips station, above Lake Tahoe, to take the second seasonal measurement that serves as an important marker for the state’s water supply.

Most Major California Dams Lack Emergency Plans. ‘High-Risk Issue,’ State Auditor Says

The vast majority of California’s major dams aren’t adequately prepared for an emergency.

Three years after the near-disaster at Oroville Dam, only 22 state-regulated dams have finalized emergency plans — out of 650 major dams that are required by law to have plans in place — according to a report issued Thursday by State Auditor Elaine Howle.

Across the U.S., States are Bracing for More Climate-Related Disasters

State lawmakers across the country are calling for huge investments to mitigate the effects of wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, droughts and other natural disasters made more devastating and frequent by climate change.

Following the hottest decade on record, which saw record-breaking wildfires in the West, extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy, a years-long drought in California, and severe flooding in the Midwest, legislators in many states say it’s long past time to treat such events as the new normal — and invest accordingly.

As Forests Burn Around the World, Drinking Water is at Risk

Fabric curtains stretch across the huge Warragamba Dam to trap ash and sediment expected to wash off wildfire-scorched slopes and into the reservoir that holds 80% of untreated drinking water for the Greater Sydney area.

In Australia’s national capital of Canberra, where a state of emergency was declared on Friday because of an out-of-control forest fire to its south, authorities are hoping a new water treatment plant and other measures will prevent a repeat of water quality problems and disruption that followed deadly wildfires 17 years ago.

California Coastal Commission Staff Asks Cal Am to Postpone Desal Appeal

Coastal Commission staff has recommended California American Water withdraw and resubmit a coastal development permit application involving the company’s proposed Monterey Peninsula desalination project, which would likely postpone a hearing on the desal permit and a pending appeal until September at the earliest.

Acknowledging that further analysis of California American Water’s proposed desalination project won’t be done in time for a planned March hearing, commission staff sent a Jan. 28 letter with the recommendation, which the letter says Cal Am officials requested during conversations earlier this month in order to formalize the staff recommendation.

Some in the Sierra Still Optimistic Despite Below-Average Snowpack

Last month, the state’s snow survey team saw snow levels just shy of average and on Thursday the trend continued downward.

“Seventy-nine percent of an average February and 58% of the April 1 average here at this location,” said Sean de Guzman, chief of the Department of Water Resources’ Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Section.

Along with measurements taken at the station near Echo Summit, measurements at 260 other locations indicate the snowpack is below average.

Newport Beach Water Wheel Project Moving Forward

The Newport Beach Harbor Commission got an update on the proposed water wheel project at their Jan. 8 meeting, with Newport Beach Department of Public Works Water Quality Senior Engineer John Kappeler telling commissioners city staff is hoping a consultant contract will be awarded in February.

The water wheel would be a floating stationary solar and hydro-powered trash interceptor in San Diego Creek nestled by Jamboree Road Bridge.

City Reports Significantly Fewer Water and Sewer Spills in Past Year

San Diego is experiencing considerably fewer breaks in water mains and sewer lines thanks to continuing replacement of deteriorating cast iron pipes, according to a year-end report released Wednesday.

A total of 38 water main breaks were reported in the city in 2019, a 38% reduction from the previous year. It was the lowest total in 15 years and far less than the peak of 131 breaks in 2010.

With Signing of USMCA, Help is on the Way for Tijuana Sewage

President Donald Trump signed the renegotiated trade agreement with Mexico and Canada Monday that will replace NAFTA.

The bipartisan deal includes $300 million to help address the frequent sewage spills in Tijuana that contaminate beaches in San Diego’s South Bay.

“It’s a huge win for San Diego and it’s a huge win for our cross-border region,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who attended the signing ceremony outside the White House.