Lawmakers Call on Kern Stakeholders to Engage on Water Investment

Farmers and water managers may need to do more to engage with lawmakers from outside the Central Valley before the state Legislature can be persuaded to make important investments in water storage and other infrastructure projects, members of Kern’s Sacramento delegation told an audience Tuesday of the Water Association of Kern County.

Poway Water Infrastructure Projects to Begin Later This Year

Poway is gearing up for several years of water infrastructure improvement projects, including replacing the city’s aging clearwell.

The Poway City Council received an update at its Tuesday night meeting on the Water Infrastructure Improvement Program, which includes three projects spanning the next four-to-five years.

The program includes bypassing and then replacing the clearwell with two new storage tanks. Poway’s clearwell, which was built in 1964, is used to store treated water from the city’s Lester J. Berglund Water Treatment Plant before distribution.

The other project in the program is creating a treated water connection to the San Diego County Water Authority. Poway has a raw water connection to the SDCWA and treats its own water, but a treated water connection will build redundancy in the system, said Shadi Sami, principal civil engineer.

State Senate Leader Toni Atkins

Sen. Atkins to Share Legislative Vision with Water Authority Board

Editors Note: Due to the volume of activity associated with this week’s organizational activities related to the beginning of the 2021-2022 state legislative session, Senator Atkins regretfully had to cancel her appearance during this Thursday’s special Board of Directors meeting, and she expressed her apologies for the unavoidable circumstances and workload that resulted in the cancellation. Fortunately, the Water Authority is honored that state Senator Brian Jones will join the special Board meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday and offer his perspectives on 2020 and his insights on policy and fiscal issues facing California and San Diego County as we advance toward 2021.

California Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins will share her legislative vision and 2021 policy outlook at a special San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, December 10. The webcast of the meeting can be viewed at 2 p.m. here.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll hear from Senator Atkins about energy and infrastructure funding and partnership opportunities,” said Sandra L. Kerl, General Manager of the Water Authority. “This has long been one of the top legislative priorities for water and wastewater agencies – and the pandemic has highlighted the need for continued investments in these projects that produce jobs as well as generational benefits.”

Atkins has represented the region since 2000, serving on the San Diego City Council for eight years and in the state Assembly for six years. She was elected to the state Senate in 2016, where she represents the 39th district. The district includes most of the city of San Diego, and Coronado, Del Mar, and Solana Beach. She was elected Senate President pro Tem by her senate colleagues in March 2018.

A champion for California water policy

Throughout her years of public service in state and local government, Atkins has championed sound water policy. She is currently in the middle of coronavirus pandemic-related public safety and economic recovery issues. Atkins received the 2019 Safe Drinking Water Champion Award in January 2020 from the California Municipal Utilities Association in Sacramento.

As leader of the Senate, Atkins was instrumental in bringing California together to find consensus that resulted in passage of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund of 2019. The long-term funding solution avoided a proposed water tax, ensures safe drinking water for an estimated one-million Californians, and will fix failing water systems in vulnerable communities.

Legislative partnerships are essential for a prosperous future

The San Diego County Water Authority is pursuing partnerships with state and national agencies to advance shovel-ready water and energy infrastructure projects that can help California’s economic recovery gain traction.

Over the years, the Water Authority has hosted numerous legislative roundtable events to promote collaboration with civic, business, and elected leaders to ensure continued water supply reliability for the region.

Past speakers have included Congressmen Scott Peters and Mike Levin, State Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez and Marie Waldron, and State Senators Ben Hueso and Brian Jones. Atkins participated in the Water Authority’s Legislative Roundtable in October 2015.

Trump Uses ‘Emergency’ to Speed Up Infrastructure Projects

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday calling on federal agencies to use emergency powers to “accelerate” infrastructure projects on federal lands as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.