The San Diego County Water Authority approved a water rate increase for calendar year 2020 purchases by SDCWA member agencies. The new rates approved by the water authority board June 27 will increase the cost per acre-foot on a countywide basis from $1,617 to $1,686 for treated water and from $1,341 to $1,406 for untreated supply. The increases equate to 4.3 percent for treated water and 4.8 percent for untreated water. The new rates also include an 18.3 percent increase in the Infrastructure Access Charge which is used for SDCWA fixed expenditures incurred even when water use is reduced. The water authority’s member agencies have the option of absorbing the rate increases or passing on the additional cost to customers.
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What are the likely effects of global climate change (GCC) around the world, across the United States, and within the San Diego region? Is where you live in any danger? Is there evidence that GCC is already affecting the San Diego region? What steps should we be taking? Professor Emeritus Phil Pryde first started teaching about greenhouse gas effects at SDSU in the 1980’s and has followed the topic ever since. This will be an illustrated, objective look at what we know and don’t know about global climate change and its possible effects locally.
Is the cleanest, greenest electricity in the world green enough for California? For years, the people of the Northern San Joaquin Valley have been trying to get hydropower recognized for what it is: the original source of clean electricity. Our efforts have been stymied by people who feel entitled to decide what is, or isn’t, green enough. That’s why I have begun the process of modifying our state Constitution to recognize safe, abundant, carbon-free hydropower as a reliable source of renewable energy in our fight against climate change. I have authored Assembly Constitutional Amendment 17 to place this question before California’s voters.
About 20% of the world’s population has no access to safe drinking water, and this number will increase as the population continues to grow and global freshwater sources continue to decline. The worst-affected areas are the arid and semiarid regions of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. UNESCO has reported that the freshwater shortfall worldwide will rise to 500 trillion gallons/yr by 2025. They expect water wars to break out in the near-future. The World Economic Forum says that shortage of fresh water may be the primary global threat in the next decade.
Groundwater overdraft is a major problem globally and has been a persistent and growing problem in California for decades. This overdraft is predominantly driven by the economic value of water for agricultural production and cities. Spurred by the recent drought, California passed legislation requiring the elimination of groundwater overdraft by 2040. To explore potential water supply effects of ending long-term groundwater overdraft in California’s Central Valley, we compared several water policies with historical and warmer–drier climates, employing a statewide hydroeconomic optimization model, CALVIN, in our new paper.
After years of delays, and millions in cost overruns, San Diego will hire a third-party company to take over the city’s troubled conversion to smart water meters. The announcement was made after the city auditor released a new report highlighting management and staffing issues inside the city’s water department. The City of San Diego launched its conversion to smart water meters in July of 2012 with a completion date of December 2017. But shortly after launching, numerous delays occurred due to a lack of oversight, staffing shortages, and performance issues with the meters. Currently only six percent of San Diego customers have smart water meters installed and the program is now $16 million over budget.
Fish die-offs in freshwater lakes are an increasing threat in California, and experts say climate change is to blame. Researchers from UC Davis and Reed College in Portland, Ore., found a strong link between fish deaths in freshwater lakes in Wisconsin and hot summers. They predict that fish die-offs will double by 2050 and quadruple by 2100 in Wisconsin. Andrew Rypel, a UC Davis wildlife, fish and conservation biology researcher, said we should expect similar effects in California. He told The Bee in an interview that California lakes may be even more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than those in Wisconsin, because they host many sensitive cold-water species.
If you visit Lake Tahoe this summer, the beaches might seem a little smaller than they were a few years ago. It’s not an optical illusion. Large sections of them really are underwater. Dozens of feet of snow that blanked the Sierra Nevada this winter, generated by blizzards from raging atmospheric river storms, have been steadily melting all spring and summer, sending billions of gallons of water rushing downhill and steadily raising the water level at Lake Tahoe.
The Sweetwater Authority, a water agency that serves 190,000 people in National City, Bonita and parts of Chula Vista, was last in the news in January when board members voted 6-1 to give themselves ridiculously cheap, heavily subsidized health insurance for their dependents. This is a part-time government body that oversees 100-plus employees earning $176,000 in average salary and benefits that needs far more transparency and accountability. Yet General Manager Tish Berge and board members have taken a step in the opposite direction. They have instituted policies that no longer require that minutes be kept for its two key committees — one that reviews issues related to operations and one that addresses finances and personnel.
Officials began to clean up a massive oil spill Friday that dumped nearly 800,000 gallons of oil and water into a California canyon, making it larger — if less devastating — than the state’s last two major oil spills. The newly revealed spill has been flowing off and on since May and has again stopped, Chevron spokeswoman Veronica Flores-Paniagua said. She and California officials said the spill is not near any waterway and has not significantly affected wildlife. The last flow was Tuesday.