Californians reuse treated wastewater as a water supply, to irrigate crops, and to support freshwater ecosystems. To get answers to questions about managing the new coronavirus in the “sewershed,” we talked to two experts: Kara Nelson, an expert in waterborne pathogens at UC Berkeley; and Adam Link, executive director of the California Association of Sanitation Agencies.
The COVID-19 epidemic has made clear how much our society depends on essential services we too often take for granted. Among these is agricultural work and the people who plant and harvest our food.
New team of mission-critical employees relieves original 10-person crew, begins 21-day lock-in at critical water facility for operational continuity.
As we adjust to the new – and hopefully temporary – realities of this pandemic, it’s worth reflecting on the good that is happening in our community, our state and our nation.
- Doctors and nurses are bravely treating the sick by the thousands.
- Grocery store employees are working long hours to stock shelves and serve customers.
- Restaurants are evolving to offer takeout, and customers are showing up to support them.
- Houses of worship are meeting remotely.
- Companies are transitioning to make ventilators, sanitizers and other products that are so necessary.
Of course, food banks are also doing tremendous work to support residents who are suddenly without a paycheck. That’s why the Board leadership of the San Diego County Water Authority is joining regional efforts to fight the economic impacts of the pandemic by setting up a virtual food drive in partnership with the San Diego Food Bank.
The San Diego Food Bank helps feed hundreds of thousands of hungry people each year – and the numbers are growing rapidly. The Water Authority’s virtual food drive allows donors to select and purchase items such as canned meats, fruits, peanut butter and oatmeal for distribution to needy residents. Click here to donate – and don’t forget to share the link with family, friends and others who may want to participate.
I’ve heard it said that true colors come through during a crisis, which is why I’m proud to report that our regional efforts to safeguard our water supplies have generated substantial regional and even national attention in recent days. Click here for a great story by 10News San Diego.
We’re going to keep it up as long as needed to beat this thing.
View From The Chair represents the viewpoints of Jim Madaffer, Chair of the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors.
Coronavirus is on all our minds these days, with the countless challenges that we face at every level of society, including our homes and families.
While there are many uncertainties, I want to assure you that the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies are doing everything possible to address this complex situation, from following health and safety protocols to ensuring the continued operation of the water treatment and delivery system regardless of the challenges.
Public water supplies in the San Diego region remain safe to drink due to robust standard treatment processes by local and regional water providers. Drinking water provided by the Water Authority and its member agencies is treated by a combination of technologies – including sedimentation, filtration and disinfection – that chemically deactivate and physically remove bacteria, viruses and other contaminants. The U.S. EPA recommends that Americans continue to use and drink tap water as usual.
To support continued operation of critical infrastructure, the Water Authority has activated its Emergency Operations Center, increasing the region’s ability to respond to any challenges that emerge. The EOC supports the need for enhanced communication between the Water Authority and its member agencies as the public health crisis evolves. In addition, the agencies have back-up plans to assist each other should key personnel be unable to work.
We’ve taken other operational steps as well. Agency employees identified as critical to operation and maintenance of key infrastructure will continue to report to work and conduct normal job functions while complying with enhanced safety precautions such as social distancing measures. Non-critical staff at many agencies, including the Water Authority, are telecommuting or will begin remote work shortly to minimize the potential for virus transmission.
Of course, we will continue to monitor this situation closely and make strategic decisions to support our community in these difficult times. I will update you periodically, and we will keep information on our website – www.sdcwa.org – current as the situation evolves.