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Oceanside Receives Second $1.5M Grant to Aid $19.5M Smart Water Meter Project

The City of Oceanside received its second $1.5 million award from a federal agency to aid its new smart water meter installation project, the city announced.

The city is in phase two of a three-phase project to replace all 45,000 existing water meters with advanced metering infrastructure smart meters, confirmed Lindsay Leahy, Principal Engineer for the project.

In total, all three phases will cost an estimated $19.5 million — the cost of phase two is about $4.5 million, Leahy said.

Contractors Get Reprieve in Effort to Block San Diego’s Pure Water Recycling System

Legal wrangling over San Diego’s proposed Pure Water sewage recycling system continued Friday, when a judge gave a temporary reprieve to a group of local contractors fighting for the ability of non-union workers to help build the system.

Superior Court Judge Richard Strauss gave the contractors two weeks to strengthen their case, that construction of the system should be blocked because of a dispute over the use of non-union workers to build some of it.

MWD Grants SDG&E Permanent Easement in Pala

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California granted San Diego Gas and Electric an permanent easement on MWD property in Pala.

The MWD board vote Feb. 11 approves the granting of the easement including conditions. SDG&E will obtain a 12-foot wide easement along the northern edge of the MWD property in the 39000 block of Pala Temecula Road.

MWD’s Pipeline 6 currently conveys water from Lake Skinner to Anza Road at De Portola Road in Temecula. That 7-mile segment is considered the northern reach of Pipeline 6; the southern reach would extend from Anza Road at De Portola Road to the San Diego County Water Authority delivery point approximately 6 miles south of the Riverside County line.

Westlands Water District Gets Permanent U.S. Contract for Massive Irrigation Deliveries

The Interior Department on Friday awarded the nation’s largest farm water district a permanent entitlement to annual irrigation deliveries that amount to roughly twice as much water as the nearly 4 million residents of Los Angeles use in a year.

Gaining a permanent contract for so much cheap Central Valley Project water represents a major milestone for Westlands Water District, which supplies some of the state’s wealthiest growers and has long-standing ties to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

Water Authority Board Votes to Dismiss Certain Legal Claims Against MWD

After securing more than $350 million in “Water Stewardship Rate” benefits for the San Diego region, the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors today voted to dismiss certain related claims against the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

The Water Authority Board’s decision represents a major step toward resolving the litigation, which has been pending for more than 10 years. The suits challenged water rates and charges imposed by MWD on San Diego County agencies and their ratepayers from 2010-2018. The Water Authority’s Board action will allow the parties to avoid a trial scheduled for June 2020 and clear the way for judgment to be entered in the older cases.

Water Authority Board Honors Retiring Otay Water District GM Mark Watton

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors on Thursday honored Otay Water District General Manager Mark Watton for 37 years of public service in the water industry.

The Board issued a proclamation congratulating Watton on “his long and distinguished service to San Diego County upon his upcoming retirement from the Otay Water District” and commended him “for a lifetime of service that has improved the quality of life in our region.”

After 15 years leading the water agency that serves Southeastern San Diego County, and nearly four decades representing the water interests of the county and state, Watton plans to retire in late March. He first served on the Water Authority’s Board of Directors in 1985 and was Board Chair from 1995 through 1996.

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Feb. 26, 2020 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $33.2 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 41 approved projects will benefit fish and wildlife — including some endangered species — while others will provide public access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, landowners and the local community.

What Would It Take to Get More Farmers Fighting Climate Change?

As signs of a new drought loom over California farm country and a potential return of last spring’s catastrophic floods haunts the Midwestern corn belt, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) is out with a new plan to ready US agriculture for the insults of climate change. Called the Agriculture Resilience Act, the bill would enlist growers to help slow global warming by using their soil to sponge up carbon dioxide. Agriculture is responsible for nearly 10 percent of our country’s carbon emissions. Pingree’s plan would establish a “national goal” of net zero greenhouse emissions from agriculture by no later than 2040.

Military May be Bound by State Laws on ‘Forever Chemicals’

The Pentagon may be forced to follow new state environmental pollution standards for a family of manmade “forever chemicals” that may have been spilled at hundreds of military sites in the U.S., Defense Secretary Mark Esper told lawmakers. Esper was pressed Wednesday at a House Armed Services Committee hearing over the military’s use of widely used firefighting foam containing chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that never degrade.

‘Without Water We Can’t Grow Anything’: Can Small Farms Survive California’s Landmark Water Law?

Nikiko Masumoto began her farming career in the summer of 2011, just as California was entering its worst drought in recorded history. Masumoto is the fourth generation of her family to farm this land in Del Rey: 80 organic acres of stone fruit in eastern Fresno county in California’s fertile Central Valley, its most perfect peaches bound for the epicurean Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. For four years in a row, the farm survived only on the water it could draw from underground.