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Water Utility Hero of the Week: Ivan Martinez, City of Poway

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. Ivan Martinez, City of Poway Wastewater Utilities Worker, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Businesses That Have Been Closed Should Flush Out Water Systems

The Escondido Utilities Department worked with the Communications Department and Economic Development to develop business outreach to commercial, industrial, dining, and retail operators that have been completely closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Escondido’s Utilities Department has provided clean and safe drinking water throughout the pandemic, but water sitting in the internal plumbing of a closed building could be unsafe for drinking. Businesses that have not been occupied are being advised to flush internal plumbing systems to clear the potentially stagnant water prior to building occupancy. 

Buildings that have been occupied, even partially, during the pandemic do not need to take these steps because the plumbing in these buildings is routinely refreshed with water from the City’s water distribution system. 

Water Authority Considers 6% Rate Increase for 2021 as COVID-19 Affects Operations

The San Diego County Water Authority is considering rate increases for 2021 of 6.2% for treated water and 6.3% for untreated supplies as the COVID-19 pandemic puts pressure on operations.

The proposal that will be considered by the water authority’s board on May 28 calls for charging member agencies $1,790 per acre-foot for treated water and $1,495 for untreated. A public hearing will follow on June 25.

An acre-foot is about 325,900 gallons — enough to serve the annual needs of 2.5 typical four-person households in San Diego County.

When Life Dries Up

Nowhere has California’s dry winter hit harder than the state’s far north.

In a handful of counties along the rural Oregon border, where late-season rains have done little to sate the parched forests and dusty plains, hundreds of farmers are at risk of having their irrigation water shut off — and watching their crops wither in the field.

The Klamath Project, a U.S. government-operated waterworks that steers runoff from the towering Cascades to more than 200,000 acres of potatoes, alfalfa, wheat, onions and other produce on both sides of the state line, is running low on supplies. The local water agencies served by the project say they may not have water to send to farms beyond next month.

City Attorney Blasts SDSU Sale Plan; Says Ambitious Wastewater Plans in Danger

Friday, the San Diego City Council is set to review and give final approval to the historic deal to transfer the city’s Mission Valley land to San Diego State University. But late Friday, City Attorney Mara Elliott sent around another list of concerns this time focused on the city’s long-term plans to recycle wastewater. Elliott’s deputies wrote that city would face  “dire consequences in the future” if the deal goes forward as SDSU has sketched out in its final purchase and sales agreement.

If you have some quarantine time to kill, you can read the full memo, which includes background and explanation of the dilemma. The land is largely owned by the city in its Water Utility Fund and a large groundwater aquifer that the city could use to store water in the future.

The city plans to recycle water to such an extent that someday it will make up about a third of the city’s water source. It’s called the Pure Water project.

Scorching Temperatures Expected In San Diego County Deserts This Week

Temperatures will soar well into the triple digits in the San Diego County deserts Tuesday and the blazing conditions are not expected to let up until this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.