The nation’s environmental watchdog may investigate federal enforcement of water policy in California after Democratic lawmakers accused the Trump administration of “irregular” interference targeting San Francisco, according to a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Archive for date: May 19th, 2020
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The Trump administration’s long-anticipated water jurisdiction rule has already drawn a half-dozen legal challenges since its April release, with more on the way.
The Navigable Waters Protection Rule narrows which types of wetlands and waterways trigger federal Clean Water Act oversight, replacing interpretations by Obama-era officials and earlier administrations.
The City of Encinitas and the Olivenhain Municipal Water District are working together on a project that keeps water supply and traffic flowing.
To prevent water main breaks and ensure reliable service to its customers, Olivenhain Municipal Water District is proactive in its repair and replacement of aging water infrastructure.
Year-long construction project underway
In early April, OMWD began construction to replace aging water infrastructure along El Camino Real in Encinitas. The work marks the start of the El Camino Real Potable Water Pipeline Replacement and Green Bike Lane Striping Project. Construction is expected to last about one year.
During the project, OMWD will replace approximately 4,700 linear feet of existing 12-inch diameter potable water pipeline along North El Camino Real from Encinitas Boulevard to Garden View Road and approximately 650 linear feet of existing 12-inch diameter pipeline between Via Molena and Mountain Vista Drive. Water service lines and fire hydrant laterals served by the existing pipelines will also be replaced.
The two pipelines being replaced were originally installed in 1961 and 1974, and are approaching the end of their lifespan.
The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that there more than 240,000 water main breaks in the United States every year. The main breaks waste over two trillion gallons of treated drinking water, but also interrupt water service to homes and businesses, and require costly and disruptive emergency repairs.
After OMWD’s pipeline work is complete, the City of Encinitas will implement traffic calming measures and improve safety and mobility for bicyclists along North El Camino Real from Encinitas Boulevard to Leucadia Boulevard by restriping and narrowing travel lanes.
The work will include adding bollards to existing bike lanes, applying green color to some areas on the bike lanes, and additional signage and pavement markings will also be installed.
OMWD will implement the lane restriping portion of the project on behalf of the City of Encinitas, which will take place concurrently with the pipeline replacement project.
Coordination minimizes impact on residents and businesses
The two agencies have combined efforts to maximize operational efficiencies and to reduce impacts to area residents and businesses.
Originally, OMWD’s project was scheduled to begin in 2021. Encinitas Council Member Joe Mosca and OMWD Board Treasurer Larry Watt identified the opportunity to streamline the two projects, maximizing efficiencies and minimizing impacts to the community. Because the City’s project had a deadline for grant funding, the two agencies ultimately decided it would be more efficient to advance the timeline of OMWD’s project.
“El Camino Real is a major thoroughfare and any work done there needs to be executed with maximum care and efficiency in mind to keep impacts to businesses and residents low,” said Larry Watt, OMWD board treasurer. “By coordinating the pipeline replacement project with the City’s project, the community can enjoy a continued safe and reliable water supply and improved road safety with the least disturbance possible.”
Environmental responsibility and safety
“The City of Encinitas is continuing its track record of environmental responsibility by making our streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians through the Active Transportation Enhancing Project,” said Encinitas Councilmember Joe Mosca. “The City’s partnership with OMWD on this project highlights the benefits of collaboration between neighboring public agencies on critical infrastructure projects.”
Coronavirus pandemic helps minimize impact on traffic management
In addition to the partnership, OMWD has taken steps to minimize the impact of the project on residents and businesses along North El Camino Real. A City-approved traffic management plan will be implemented during construction. All work was originally scheduled to be completed at night to minimize traffic impacts.
As a result of the reduced traffic from the statewide stay-at-home order, the agencies adapted hours in April to 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The change allows work to be completed more efficiently and safely.
Olivenhain will work closely with the City to monitor the project’s impact on traffic on a week-by-week basis and modify the schedule as needed along with project contractor Teichert Energy and Utilities Group while still maintaining efficient operations.
OMWD anticipates a single shutdown of water service for most businesses/residences, kept as short as possible. Project updates are posted on its website. Email questions to or call 760-632-4235.
This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. City of Carlsbad Utility Worker II George Crabbe in the Water Utility Hero of the Week.
Imperial Irrigation District, California’s third largest public power provider and the largest irrigation district in the nation, will be extending its voluntary on-site shelter-in-place program at designated critical facilities for a core group of employees.
To keep employees safe and to ensure that the district’s water and energy systems remain operational during the COVID-19 pandemic, 32 district employees have been living and working at their job sites since April 25.
The San Diego Food System Alliance is calling on San Diego County leaders and residents to recognize the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on our local food system—including food businesses, farms and fisheries, food and farm workers, and food security.
California and 16 other states can sue the Trump administration for rolling back enforcement of the Endangered Species Act by allowing consideration of economic impacts, disregarding climate change and allegedly weakening protections for many imperiled creatures, a federal judge ruled Monday.
In denying administration officials’ request to dismiss the suit, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar of Oakland said the states had shown they could suffer biological and economic harm if the law were weakened.
The Endangered Species Act, signed by President Richard Nixon in 1973, protects the existence and habitat of more than 1,600 plants and animals threatened with extinction. More than 300 of the species live in California’s lands and waters, including bighorn sheep, gray wolves, humpback whales and bald eagles.
Within the Colorado River basin, management laws dictate how water is allocated to farms, businesses and homes. Those laws, along with changing climate patterns and demand for water, form a complex dynamic that has made it difficult to predict who will be hardest hit by drought.
Cornell engineers have used advanced modeling to simulate more than 1 million potential futures – a technique known as scenario discovery – to assess how stakeholders who rely on the Colorado River might be uniquely affected by changes in climate and demand as a result of management practices and other factors.
Environmental and animal advocacy groups haven’t shown they have legal standing to challenge the Trump administration’s revised Endangered Species Act regulations, but a lawsuit from a coalition of states can move forward, a federal court ruled Monday.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California tossed a lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and other groups, and a similar suit from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, but gave them 21 days to file an amended complaint with more information to support their claims that the regulations harm their members.