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Water Supply Diversification Overcomes Dry Winter

No ‘March Miracle’ for snow and rain in California, but the San Diego County Water Authority has diversified water supply sources to weather the boom-and-bust cycle of California winters.

March brought abundant precipitation throughout California, but not enough to offset a dry February. Most large urban water agencies in the state maintain a reliable water supply in wet and dry years.

Opinion: What Gov. Gavin Newsom Needs to Do to Protect State’s Water Future

Today, responding to a global pandemic is every governor’s top priority. When we emerge from this crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a challenge to ensure California’s future economic and environmental health. In this context, his water policies will represent critical decisions. Along with public health, jobs, energy, transportation, education, housing and fire protection, water is a compulsory gubernatorial priority.

Californians Won’t Have Their Water Service Turned Off for Unpaid Bills During Coronavirus Crisis, Newsom says

Californians won’t have their water turned off due to unpaid bills during the coronavirus crisis, and those who already had it turned off will have their service restored, under action taken Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The governor’s directive comes in response to calls from environmental justice organizations for assistance to low-income residents facing mounting financial pressures.

“This executive order will help people who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring they have water service,” Newsom said in a written statement after hinting at the action during an event broadcast online. “Water is critical to our very lives, and in this time it is critically important that it is available for everyone.”

The decision also requires that residential water service be restored to those who had it turned off for lack of payment since March 4, when the statewide coronavirus emergency went into effect.

Construction in Mission Trails Regional Park to Improve Infrastructure

When Mission Trails Regional Park reopens and visitors return, they may notice an increase in construction traffic and activities in and near the western portion of the park as the San Diego County Water Authority improves a portion of its regional water delivery system.

The Water Authority has begun work to construct a new underground reservoir and flow control facility. The facilities are part of the Mission Trails Project, a suite of projects that mostly were completed in late 2010 to improve regional water infrastructure. Completed components include the construction of a pipeline tunnel, demolition of most above-ground vent stacks in the park, and construction of a stabilized crossing at the San Diego River.

The new underground flow regulatory structure, or covered reservoir, will help regulate untreated water flows in the regional water delivery system. It will hold up to 5 million gallons of water. The reservoir will be covered with soil and vegetation, except for several above-ground access hatches and vents that will allow for air movement in and out of the reservoir. A new flow control facility and pipeline interconnections will also be constructed as part of this project. Pre-construction work to prepare the site has already started. The project construction is scheduled to begin in March and end in early 2022.

Construction vehicles will use Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Calle de Vida, Portobelo Drive, and Antigua Boulevard to access work areas in the park. Some trails leading to the site in the western portion of the park will be closed. For instance, the trail that begins at the intersection of Calle de Vida and Colina Dorada Drive will be closed to allow large construction vehicles and traffic to safely pass through the park. Additionally, parking at the eastern end of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard will be limited to accommodate project field offices and equipment staging.

For more information about either project, go to www.sdcwa.org/mission-trails-FRS, call the toll-free project information line at 877-682-9283, ext. 7004, or email .

 

Coronavirus Hit California’s Cut-Flower Industry at the Worst Time

It happened this fast: Shoppers frightened by the novel coronavirus ransacked grocery stores. Store managers shifted staff to restock shelves. The floral booth went empty. California’s cut-flower industry imploded.

Sure, there are lots of nuances to this tale of tumbling economic dominoes. But at its core is the simple fact that few will buy a perishable luxury item when they fear for their lives. That could spell the end of many farms in California’s $360-million cut-flower industry.

Since mid-March, sales have fallen an average of 85% on California’s 225 flower and foliage farms, while the labor force has dropped by a similar proportion, according to the California Cut Flower Commission, a state agency that promotes the industry.

“We have companies that won’t be here when it’s over,” said David Pruitt, CEO of the commission.

Oceanside Farm Delivers Fresh Produce Across North San Diego County

With farmers markets closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a family who has been farming in Southern California for more than a century is taking its produce directly to homes throughout North County and beyond.

For the last three years, Yasukochi Family Farm has been putting together and delivering CSA (community supported agriculture) boxes full of fresh produce.

“They’re buying local vegetables,” said Donal Yasukochi explaining how the community is supporting the operation. “It helps us stay in business.”

Farmworkers Confront Losses, Anxiety Despite Demand for Food

The coronavirus brought much of San Diego — and the country — to a standstillResidents are isolating in their homes and working remotelyclassrooms are moving online, most beaches and parks are closed, and many businesses have temporarily shut down.  

City streets that once buzzed with people are going quiet in the wake of local leaders implementing policies that prohibit large gatherings. That makes grocery stores and other businesses that sell food items some of the only pieces of the economy that are going strong. 

But while it may seem as if business is boomingthe agricultural industry in San Diego — the farmworkers, farmers and food distributors — is experiencing the economic impact of the global pandemic as hard as anyone else as it quickly shifts to accommodate a changing marketplaceFood is in high demand, yet some of those in charge of providing those products are struggling to stay afloat. 

 

Potent Storm Bringing Heavy Mountain Snow, Flood Risk to California

Department of Water Resources Mourns Death of Former Director

The Department of Water Resources is mourning the death of a former director on Saturday.

William Gianelli passed away this week at the age of 101.

Opinion: Collaboration is the Answer to California’s Fishery and Water Supply Challenges

California has the opportunity to enter a new era in water management. Unprecedented efforts by leaders at the state and national level have led to the kind of cooperation that will provide valuable benefits to water users and the environment.

I know because that’s what we’ve been doing in the Sacramento Valley for many years. The kinds of success we’ve achieved can be replicated in other parts of the state. By working together, we can accomplish much more than can ever be achieved when competing interests are fighting.

California’s current water regulatory system is completely broken. Farms, towns and cities suffer continued cutbacks and threatened fish species continue to dwindle. The only recourse currently available seems to be an ongoing parade of lawsuits that further paralyze the system and help no one.