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Blog: 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 more than $15 million from the California Department of Water Resources, pending a final decision 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 funds would support local agencies to advance conservation, environmental enhancements, water purification and other initiatives.

Latest Survey of California Snow Pack Measures Below Normal

The last seasonal survey of snow in the Sierra Nevada confirms that California had a dry winter that will leave much-needed runoff levels below normal, authorities said Thursday.

The snow was only 1 ½ inches deep at the traditional manual measuring site at Phillips Station in the range east of Sacramento, and the water contained in it was equivalent to just a half-inch, which is 3 percent of the May average for the location, according to the state Department of Water Resources.

Sierra snow melt typically provides about 30% of the state’s water supply.

More broadly, 130 electronic snow sensors scattered throughout the Sierras indicated that California’s snow pack water equivalent is 37 percent of the May average.

Readings for April also were well below average.

“March and April storms brought needed snow to the Sierras, with the snow pack reaching its peak on April 9, however those gains were not nearly enough to offset a very dry January and February” and the last two weeks of higher temperatures have rapidly reduced the snow pack, said Sean de Guzman, chief of the department’s Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecast Section.

The snow measurements help in predicting runoff into reservoirs that will help meet California’s water demand in the summer and fall, the water agency said.

At the moment, reservoirs are in good shape, with the six largest close to or even above their historical averages. Lake Shasta, California’s largest surface reservoir, is currently more than 80% full, authorities said.

Projects Create Wetlands, Improve Water Quality in San Diego Region

Since 2005, the San Diego Integrated Regional Water Management Program has supported and funded water conservation, water quality and resource projects throughout San Diego County.

Program partners, including staff of the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies, the California Department of Water Resources, and regional water industry leaders, met at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College Monday to celebrate 15 years of achievements.

The program facilitates collaboration on water resources planning and projects in the region by water retailers, wastewater agencies, stormwater and flood managers, watershed groups, the business community, tribes, agriculture, and nonprofit stakeholders.

FPUD and Rainbow to Work Together on New Supply

The Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District now have a Memorandum of Understanding to work with each other on new water resource development and emergency supply.

The Dec. 3 Rainbow board meeting included a 4-0 vote with Michael Mack absent to approve the Memorandum of Understanding with FPUD while FPUD’s Dec. 9 board meeting approved the MOU on a 4-0 vote with Don McDougal absent. The MOU provisions include both collaborating on long-term water supply development and working together to improve emergency water supply capabilities.

“It’s just a good opportunity for us to work together and try to save money for our ratepayers,” FPUD general manager Jack Bebee said.

State-Federal Water Deal Takes a Bite From L.A.’s Supply

With virtually no public notice, state officials quietly gave away a significant portion of Southern California’s water supply to farmers in the Central Valley as part of a deal with the Trump administration in December 2018.

One year later, it remains unclear why the California Department of Water Resources signed the agreement, which strips the agency, during exceptionally dry years, of 254,000 acre-feet of water — about what Los Angeles consumes in six months. This change will place extra strain on urban water users during drought years. The agreement could also have potentially disastrous implications for the Sacramento River’s salmon runs, since it will negatively impact river flows and water temperatures.

First State Water Project Allocation at 10% for the 2020 Calendar Year, California Department of Water Resources Announces

SACRAMENTO, Calif. –  On Monday, the California Department of Water Resources announced an initial State Water Project allocation of 10 percent for the 2020 calendar year.

The initial allocation is based on several factors, such as conservative dry hydrology, reservoir storage, and releases necessary to meet water supply and environmental demands. State allocations are based on conservative assumptions and may change depending on rain and snow received this winter.