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Olivenhain Municipal Water District Logo landscape design workshops

Olivenhain Water and Encinitas Fire Offer Free Online Firewise Landscaping Workshop

Encinitas, Calif. — Olivenhain Municipal Water District and Encinitas Fire Department invite the public to attend a free online
workshop on October 13 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The workshop will cover how to landscape homes and businesses
in a way that protects them from fire damage and improves water efficiency.

Gov. Gavin Newsom Signs Off On New Commission to Study Salton Sea Lithium Extraction

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday added his signature to a new law that orders the formation of a commission to study the feasibility of lithium extraction around the Salton Sea. Local politicians hope the commission will lead to the creation of a green economy around the state’s largest lake, which is a geothermal hotspot. It was one of several bills focused on California’s environment that Newsom dealt with this week.

DuPont, Chemours, 3M Sued Over PFAS in California Water

3M Co., E.I. DuPont de Nemours Inc., Chemours Co., and Corteva Inc. are facing a suit by Golden State Water Co. over PFAS contamination of the state water supply. The water supplier seeks to recover from 3M as the only manufacturer of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid in the U.S. PFOS and perfluorooctanoic acid are both in a family of chemical compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Anderson Dam: Project to Drain Santa Clara County’s Largest Reservoir Begins Thursday

Santa Clara County’s largest reservoir will soon be nearly empty, and will stay that way for the next 10 years. Under orders from federal dam regulators, the Santa Clara Valley Water District will begin a project to drain Anderson Reservoir on Thursday, the first step in a $576 million effort to tear down and rebuild its aging dam.

Hurtado Makes Splash as Newsom Signs Water Bill

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) secured Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature on legislation that will speed the permit process for low-income Central Valley communities to deliver clean drinking wate for residents. The bill, Senate Bill 974, exempts new water projects that serve small, rural communities from some provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act.

Tom Steyer Calls For Clean Energy Jobs to Help California’s Economic Recovery

Tom Steyer, a one-time Democratic presidential candidate who has spent a portion of his multi-billion dollar fortune supporting environmental causes, thinks the path to California’s economic recovery during the coronavirus pandemic will begin with clean energy jobs. Steyer in April was named co-chair for the state’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery, along with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s chief of staff Ann O’Leary.

Locals Discuss Water Sources and Delivery to the Memorial Gardens Cemetery

The cry for help to deliver water to Memorial Gardens Cemetery is being answered by grassroots volunteers determined to beautify the burial grounds.  Through the years, volunteers removed debris, pulled weeds, resurfaced headstones, planted trees, and hauled water to irrigate the plants.

Environment Report: County Celebrates Then Sinks Its Climate Plan

San Diego County celebrated meeting 98 percent of its 2020 target to cut greenhouse gas emissions in a kind of climate “mission accomplished” press release last week. While we’re drawing analogies, if the county’s 2018 Climate Action Plan were the aircraft carrier from which President George W. Bush gave his infamous speech, the county is now preparing, despite the congratulatory press release, to sink its own ship under a court order.

Special Agriculture Water Rates-Farmers-Water Rates

New Agricultural Water Rate Program Benefits San Diego County Growers

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors has approved a new and Permanent Special Agricultural Water Rate structure that offers lower water rates to farmers in exchange for lower water supply reliability.

Unlike the current transitional program, the new program will allow new participants to join as a way to strengthen the region’s multibillion-dollar agriculture industry. The program will take effect January 1, 2021, replacing the current program that ends December 31.

Ranking 19th in the nation, San Diego County boasts top crops in nursery, avocados, tomatoes, citrus, poultry, and strawberries, according to the San Diego County Farm Bureau.

Unique program benefits all water users

The Water Authority will be working closely with its 24 member agencies to implement the program for 2021 by providing program details, such as qualifying criteria and the signup process. Participants in the existing transitional program will be allowed to take part in the permanent program on a temporary basis while being screened for eligibility under the new program. Member agencies have six months, through June 30, 2021, to verify eligibility for existing customers for the new program.

“This unique program will benefit all regional water users and the county’s robust agricultural economy,” said Water Authority Board Chair Jim Madaffer. “It helps farmers sustain their operations – and thousands of jobs – while favoring residential and commercial water customers in the event of future water supply reductions.”

Special rates designed to support regional farm economy

Farmers and growers who participate in the Water Authority program will receive a lower level of water service during water shortages or emergencies. That allows the Water Authority to reallocate those supplies to commercial and industrial customers who pay for full reliability benefits. In exchange, participating farmers are exempt from fixed water storage and supply reliability charges.

Under the permanent program in 2021, participants will pay $1,295 per acre-foot for treated water, while municipal and industrial users will pay $1,769 per acre-foot.

San Diego County is unusual among major metropolitan areas in the United States because it includes one of the country’s most valuable and productive farm sectors adjacent to one of the nation’s largest cities.

The region sustains 3.3 million people and a $245 billion economy, thanks to decades of regional investments in water supply reliability projects, including the nation’s largest seawater desalination plant and the biggest conservation-and-transfer agreement in U.S. history.

Permanent special agricultural water rate

The Water Authority has provided lower-cost water to growers in exchange for lower reliability since October 2008, when the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California began phasing out a similar program. Since that time, the transitional Water Authority program continued with a series of extensions that expire at the end of 2020.

In June 2020, the Water Authority Board set calendar year 2021 rates and charges, including a rate category for the new ag program. Future rates will continue to reflect cost-of-service standards and be defined annually as part of the rate-setting process.

The new permanent special ag rate was recommended by the Water Authority’s Fiscal Sustainability Task Force, which is assessing a variety of issues to ensure the agency’s long-term financial health. Regional farming leaders provided input to the task force on the parameters of the new program, which will be reevaluated in five years to assess current and forecasted demands and supplies.

The Four Lessons Learned in the Water Sector After the Coronavirus

During the coronavirus crisis, water utilities around the world have undergone a deep transformation to continue guaranteeing water service to the population. For this to be possible, remote control of processes and infrastructures, teleworking or social distancing measures have made digitalization an essential tool to maintain the quality of service. These are the four lessons learned in the water sector after its response to the crisis.