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‘This System Cannot Be Sustained’

The Colorado River Basin is the setting for some of the most drawn-out and complex water issues in the Western U.S. In 2019, the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan — a water-conservation agreement between states, tribal nations and the federal government for the basin, now in its 20th year of drought — passed Congress. This year, it goes into effect.

2020 will also see the start of the renegotiation of the Colorado River Interim Guidelines. The guidelines, which regulate the flow of water to users, were created in 2007 without tribal consultation and are set to expire in 2026. The 29 tribal nations in the upper and lower basins hold some of the river’s most senior water rights and control around 20% of its annual flow.

Dry Conditions in California Continue to Expand, but Will March Rains Dent the Drought?

The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor data, released Thursday, show that about 48% of California is in moderate drought. That’s up from 34% a week ago.

An additional 30% of the state is abnormally dry, according to the data.

The data were compiled Tuesday, so the figures do not reflect moisture from Southern California’s most recent storm.

Escondido Councilman John Masson Dies

Escondido City Councilman John Masson, 55, who had served on the council since 2012, passed away Tuesday evening after a lengthy battle with cancer.

“I had the great honor to serve with John Masson on the City Council,” said former Mayor Sam Abed. “He was a great leader, a man of faith, who loved Escondido so much. His passing away is a tragic loss for his family, friends and the entire community.”

In a city press release, Escondido City Manager Jeff Epp said that Masson was a much-loved and -respected member of the city administration.

Western Water Reuse, Conservation Bills Approved by House Panel

The House Natural Resources Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to approve bills offered by California Democrats to reauthorize grant programs to provide reliable water supplies through reuse and desalination projects.

Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said he supported the water bills because Western states have been hit hard by drought conditions worsened by climate change.

Scattered Showers, Flash Flood Watch in San Diego Forecast for Thursday

More rain showers are expected Thursday throughout San Diego County and there is a chance of thunderstorms Thursday afternoon in the mountains and deserts.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch from noon Thursday through Thursday evening in the mountains and deserts.

The low-pressure system making its way inland is expected to produce heavy rainfall at times, which could cause flooding in low-lying areas, areas with poor drainage and desert mountain slopes, forecasters said.

Escondido City Councilmember John Masson Dies

Flags are at half-staff over city facilities this week as the City of Escondido mourns the passing of city councilmember John Masson, who died Tuesday night of cancer.  They will remain at half-staff until Mr. Masson is interred.

The city released the following statement Wednesday afternoon: 

“The Escondido City Council is saddened to announce the passing of Councilmember John Masson. He was appointed to the Escondido City Council in 2012 and elected in November of 2014 representing District 2 and then re-elected in 2018. During his tenure on the Escondido City Council, Councilmember Masson served as the Deputy Mayor, a representative on the Economic Development Subcommittee of the City Council, representative to the San Diego County Water Authority, and as Escondido’s representative on the League of California Cities.”