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Olivenhain Municipal Water District Sewer Customers Will Not Face Higher Rates in 2020

Encinitas, Calif. —Following a review of its sewer rates and charges, Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors voted at its May 20 meeting to hold the line on current sewer rates and fees rather than increase rates as scheduled.

Pure Water Oceanside Groundbreaking-February-2020-Pure Water-IRWM-Primary

San Diego Region on Track to Receive $15 Million for Water Projects

Several regional water supply projects in San Diego County are on track to receive a total of more than $15 million from the California Department of Water Resources, pending a final decision on the grants this summer.

Money for the projects has been recommended by DWR, which will make the awards after a public comment period.

In San Diego County, the grant funds would support local agencies to advance conservation, environmental enhancements, water purification and other initiatives.

Funding for regional water projects

The San Diego County Water Authority submitted the funding request on behalf of the San Diego Integrated Regional Water Management Region, or IRWM. The San Diego IRWM Program began in 2005 as an effort by water retailers, wastewater agencies, stormwater and flood managers, watershed groups, the business community, tribes, agriculture, and nonprofit stakeholders to improve water resources planning in the region.

“The IRWM funding will provide much-needed funding over the next several years to implement a variety of local water supply projects, water use efficiency measures, along with a disadvantaged community project in the City of National City,” said Water Authority General Manager Sandra L. Kerl.

Kerl cited the “extraordinary effort” by the San Diego IRWM Regional Water Management Group and the Regional Advisory Committee for their work over the past year to make the $15,336,000 grant possible.

The statewide IRWM Program is supported by bond funding provided by the DWR to fund competitive grants for projects that improve water resources management.

Regional projects recommended for grant funds

  • San Diego Grant Administration, San Diego County Water Authority – Public Agency $920,180
  • 2020 Regional Water Use Efficiency Programs, San Diego County Water Authority – Public Agency Water Conservation $1,440,000
  • Paradise Valley Creek Water Quality and Community Enhancement, City of National City – Public Agency Flood Damage Reduction $3,681,056
  • North City Pure Water Facility Influent Pump Station and Conveyance Pipeline, City of San Diego, Public Agency Water Supply – Recycled Water $1,477,600
  • San Elijo Stormwater Capture & Reuse San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, Public Agency Water Supply – Recycled Water $1,195,000

Enhancing water stewardship

On November 4, 2014, California voters approved Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.

Proposition 1 authorized $510 million in IRWM funding. Funds are allocated to 12 hydrologic region-based funding areas, including the San Diego Region.

The Proposition 1 IRWM Grant Program, administered by DWR, provides funding for projects that help meet the long-term water needs of the state, including:

  • Assisting water infrastructure systems adapt to climate change;
  • Providing incentives throughout each watershed to collaborate in managing the region’s water resources and setting regional priorities for water infrastructure; and
  • Improving regional water self-reliance, while reducing reliance on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Chula Vista Elementary students will explore science during "Innovation Week 2020." Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School District

Hydro Station Joins Virtual ‘Innovation Week’ May 26-29

The Chula Vista Elementary School District’s “Innovation Week 2020” from May 26 to 29 will make a virtue of going virtual, inviting the community to participate along with its students in four live science education events. The activities include a Hydro Station lesson about groundwater aquifers.

The Hydro Station is an interactive educational space at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility, operated as a joint partnership between the school district, the Otay Water District, and the Sweetwater Authority.

“We’re proud that the school district can continue offering its programs at a time that’s needed now more than ever,” says Tenille Otero, Otay Water District communications officer. “Even better, is that anyone outside of the school district can experience these wonderful programs that the district offers.”

Live interactive events for students and public

“We are very excited to bring our innovative learning experiences to the San Diego region and beyond through these live, online events,” said Michael Bruder, instructional services coordinator with the Chula Vista Elementary School District. “We are also grateful to have the support of our wonderful community partners in making this happen.”

All live sessions start at 1 p.m. and will be hosted on the Microsoft Teams platform. The sessions are free and open to the public to join.

Treats teach kids about groundwater on May 28

The Hydro Station is an interactive educational space at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility, operated as a joint partnership between the Chula Vista Elementary School District, the Otay Water District, and the Sweetwater Authority. Photo: Otay Water District

On Thursday, May 28, at 1 p.m. Hydro Station instructor Christy Bystrak will lead “Building an Edible Aquifer.”

Participants will learn about the geology of an aquifer including confining layers, contamination, recharge, and water tables, while constructing their own version using items found at home in the kitchen, including clear plastic cups, straws, food coloring, soda, ice cream, and different types of small candy or cereal.

Additional presentations include “Engineering Superhero Tech,” “Cooking Up S’More Energy,” and “Structures for Survival.”

Located in southern San Diego County, the Chula Vista Elementary School District’s 46 schools serve more than 29,600 students. Schools serve a vibrant, diverse community that features a blend of residential areas, recreational facilities, open space, and light industry.

CVESD offers innovative partnerships such as the Hydro Station project with the Otay Water District and Sweetwater Authority as a vital part of its technology-based curriculum to develop students’ creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills.

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.