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California Agriculture and COVID-19

In recent weeks, we’ve been sharing stories of how California agriculture is adapting under the current circumstances stemming from COVID-19. I have a few more for you here today.

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic reverberate through California agriculture, according to speakers at an online forum. During a virtual town hall hosted by chairs of the Legislature’s agriculture committees, economists said changes in diets and buying habits have disrupted every aspect of the farming business. One analyst said agriculture faces a “one-two punch” from the pandemic shutdown and a slow economic recovery.

FPUD Adopts Resolution of Emergency

The Fallbrook Public Utility District adopted a resolution declaring a state of emergency due to the coronavirus epidemic.

A 5-0 FPUD board vote, April 27, authorized Jack Bebee, general manager of FPUD, and Dave Shank, the district’s chief financial officer, to submit any necessary requests for emergency-related financial assistance to the state’s Office of Emergency Services or to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We’re only doing it just because there’s a timeline to submit it,” Bebee said. “Right now, we’re not planning to submit anything.”

San Diego Food Bank-Virtual Food Bank-Covid-19-primary photo

San Diego Regional Water Agencies Help Fight Hunger During Pandemic

An effort to bolster food bank supplies and fight hunger in San Diego County is getting a helping hand from the region’s public water agencies.

The San Diego County Water Authority and its member agencies are supporting a virtual food drive in partnership with the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. The campaign allows donors to select and purchase items such as canned meats, vegetables, fruits, peanut butter and oatmeal for distribution to needy residents. To donate, go to

The Water Authority Board leadership launched the effort for staff and Board members in late March, then expanded it by inviting 24 retail member agencies countywide to join the effort to fight hunger. So far, approximately $20,000 has been contributed through donation portals established by the Water Authority and member agencies.

Help fight hunger

In addition, water agencies have partnered with the Food Bank to inform its clients that it is unnecessary to purchase bottled water when convenient, clean drinking water is available 24/7 at the tap for about a penny a gallon.

“The region’s water industry is committed to sustaining our community in this time of acute need,” said Water Authority Board Chair Jim Madaffer. “The San Diego region has come together time and again to meet challenges such as wildfires, and we’re doing the same to provide hunger relief during this crisis.”

Demands for food increase during pandemic

The San Diego Food Bank typically helps feed 350,000 people each month at 200 distribution sites — and demands have skyrocketed as the economic impacts of coronavirus closures ripple across the region.

Donations to the San Diego Food Bank are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. The San Diego Food Bank is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Essential workers on the job

In response to the pandemic, the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have increased regional coordination and communication to ensure continued delivery of safe and reliable water service for San Diego County. Public water supplies in the region remain safe to drink due to numerous robust treatment processes used by local and regional water providers.

As essential workers, the region’s water and wastewater system employees will continue to work to ensure safe and reliable water services.

Water Costs Rise in Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has shut down many parts of life, but there are some things that can’t be put on hold, like the payment of utilities.

Both Las Virgenes Municipal Water District and Triunfo Water and Sanitation District have tentative plans to increase their water rates by the end of the year. The rate hikes would cover an increase in the cost of wholesale water from the Metropolitan Water District, which provides local supplies.

Metropolitan’s board of directors approved a 3% rate increase effective Jan. 1, 2021, and a 4% increase effective Jan. 1, 2022.


Regulating Microplastics in Drinking Water: California Retains its Vanguard Status

The California State Water Resources Control Board is poised to become “the first regulatory agency in the world to specifically define ‘Microplastics in Drinking Water.”‘ In September 2018, the California legislature adopted Health and Safety Code section 116376 via Senate Bill No. 1422, adding microplastics regulations to California’s Safe Drinking Water Act.

Senate Panel Moves Major Water Bills, Adding PFAS Actions

The Senate’s environment panel pushed through two major water infrastructure bills Wednesday, rejecting a GOP member’s attempt to give Western states more authority over water supplies but agreeing to direct the EPA to set drinking water limits for “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

Supercharged by Climate Change, ‘Megadrought’ Points to Drier Future in the West

Since 2000, the West has been stricken by a dry spell so severe that it ranks among the biggest “megadroughts” of the past 1,200 years. But scientists have found that unlike the decades-long droughts of centuries ago, this one has been supercharged by humanity’s heating of the planet.

UCLA Students Take First Place In National EPA Stormwater Treatment Design Competition

Ateam of UCLA undergraduate students has won a national competition sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking innovative plans for stormwater management. The team proposed to redesign elements of a Los Angeles elementary school to improve its environmental sustainability.

Virginia Tech Team Creating a Tube Pump for Desalination Applications

In a bid to remove salt and other minerals from ocean salt water, otherwise known as desalination, without using bulky hydraulic pumps, a team from Virginia Tech has developed a simplified pump composed of a fluidic flexible matrix composite material.

Extremely Hot Temperatures Expected Again in San Diego County Deserts

Temperatures will reach well into the triple digits again Thursday in the San Diego County deserts, according to the National Weather Service. Conditions in the rest of the county will also remain warm, but will be slightly cooler than Wednesday.