Southern California’s ‘Water Doctor’ Pushes for Transformation to Adapt to Climate Change

When Adel Hagekhalil speaks about the future of water in Southern California, he often starts by mentioning the three conduits the region depends on to bring water from hundreds of miles away: the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the Colorado River Aqueduct and the California Aqueduct.

SoCal Water Recycling Program Gets $80M From State

State officials Wednesday presented an $80 million check to advance Pure Water Southern California, a large-scale, regional water recycling program intended to create a new source of water to benefit 19 million people amid changing climate and weather whiplash.

Assemblywoman Lisa Calderon, D-Whittier, Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, and Carson Mayor Pro Tem Jawane Hilton joined water district officials during Wednesday’s event at the Pure Water demonstration facility.

“The climate crisis has strained our region’s water supply,” Calderon said in a statement. “It’s imperative we continue investing in our projects focused on addressing our water needs.”

Pure Water will take cleaned wastewater that is currently sent to the ocean and purify it to produce high-quality drinking water, officials said.

Project partners Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Los Angeles County Sanitation District received funding from the state’s 2022-23 budget to accelerate the project’s design and construction, with the potential to begin construction as early as 2025 and have water deliveries start in 2032.

Opinion: San Diego County Farmers’ Water Dispute Shows Ratepayers Will Balk at Ever-Costlier Bills

In 1991, during a lengthy drought, the giant Metropolitan Water District of Southern California ordered huge cuts in supplies to the San Diego County Water Authority, which relied on MWD for 95 percent of its water. The authority resolved back then to steadily and sharply diversify its supplies, and it did with great success.

New Report Finds Proposed Delta Tunnel Could Bankrupt Metropolitan Water District

In a report sponsored by the California Water Impact Network, policy expert Max Gomberg revealed that the continued funding of the controversial Delta Tunnel – also known as the Delta Conveyance Project – could bankrupt the powerful Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Gomberg is the former climate change and water conservation manager for the State Water Resources Control Board.

Report Urges Metropolitan Water District to Abandon Newsom’s $16-Billion Delta Tunnel Plan

Gov. Gavin Newsom and his administration have touted plans to build a tunnel to transport water beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, saying the project would modernize California’s water infrastructure and help the state adapt to climate change.

But an advocacy group is urging the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to abandon the $16-billion project, saying it doesn’t make financial sense for the state’s largest urban water agency.

Joint Venture Inked for ‘Landmark’ Southern California Water Reuse Program

A joint venture of AECOM and Brown and Caldwell (AECOM-BC Team) has been chosen to provide program and project management support and engineering design services for the Pure Water Southern California program, one of the largest water reuse programs in the world.

Save Water and Money with Free Water Efficiency Survey

Forecasts of a hotter, drier climate for the Southwest U.S. make every effort to save water critical. A new program now available intends to do just that for residents in parts of Southern California. The San Diego County Water Authority, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, are offering free indoor and outdoor residential water efficiency use surveys.

Water Use Surveys-Audit-Save Money-Save Water

Save Water and Money with Free Water Efficiency Survey

Forecasts of a hotter, drier climate for the Southwest U.S. make every effort to save water critical. A new program now available intends to do just that for residents in parts of Southern California. The San Diego County Water Authority, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, are offering free indoor and outdoor residential water efficiency use surveys.

The surveys, in-person and virtual, are available within MWD’s service area, including San Diego County.

“The survey is a free, easy, tool that can show you what small changes can be made which will lead to long-term savings,” said Joni German, a water resource specialist at the Water Authority.

She said the surveys are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis. After filling out an online application the next step is scheduling a visit from a certified landscape auditor.

Save water, save money

Not only do residents save our most precious resource, they also save money.

Vallecitos Water District customer Michael Berry took advantage of the program because he wanted to do more to save water. Even though Berry had previously replaced his grass with artificial turf, he said he learned how to save even more water after the survey.

“What I learned primarily is how to improve my irrigation system from spray-based systems to a drip based system,” said Berry. “That’s the primary thing I’ll fix going forward.”

Outdoor survey

An outdoor survey includes an evaluation of the water meter to check for leaks along with zone information on the homeowner’s plants. During this process the homeowner will take the surveyor around areas with irrigation, divided into sections or “zones.”

Inspections will be done on each zone to determine whether the current irrigation system in place is operating at peak efficiency. The water meter can be utilized in seeing any unusual increase of water usage without the homeowner’s knowledge which would indicate a leak in the irrigation system.

Saving water with irrigation efficiency

In Berry’s case, the surveyor performed a check up on potential irrigation problems such as valve malfunctions, pressure, sprinkler alignment, drainage leaks and anything else that might reduce efficiency or indicate overwatering. The presence of leaks or blocks in the valves and using spray water instead of drip irrigation are just a few elements the surveyor warned Barry could negatively impact his water savings.

“One of the specific things that the surveyor helped me with was the valve maintenance, making sure that every 6-12 months you have to clean the valves out to make sure they’re not getting impeded,” Berry said.

Once the survey is completed, participants receive a written report along with irrigation efficiency recommendations, and information on financial incentives to offset the cost of recommended improvements.

“It’s a good way to get a new perspective for anyone who does their own landscaping work and is curious about their water usage,” Berry said. In his case, Berry was able to make a plan to improve the water saving practices he already has in place.

“Spray system is where most of the problem I need to solve exists,” he said. “The spray system I have was spraying a lot of dirt areas which aren’t really helping the plants and tree. The second problem is the system is hard to control in terms of the amount of water that I want to put on over a period of time.”

Water efficiency inspections can also be performed on larger commercial landscapes. Schedule your free survey here:

(Editors Note: The Vallecitos Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the San Diego County region).

Emergency Water Delivery-Tijuana-San Diego County Water Authority

Water Authority Delivers Emergency Water Supply to Tijuana

Fast action by the San Diego County Water Authority and its partners is helping maintain water service in Tijuana after problems with the city’s aqueduct emerged in December.

Emergency water deliveries started last week after a coordinated effort between the Water Authority, Otay Water District, and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). The typical multi-month approval process was compressed into a few days to avoid additional water supply shortages in Tijuana.

Agency accelerates emergency water delivery

“We’re extremely proud of how quickly the Water Authority staff worked to meet the emergency water needs of our neighbors to the south,” said Mel Katz, Water Authority Board Chair. “Coordinating with multiple agencies and getting the necessary approvals in just three days was a team effort and is a credit to the Water Resources and Operations & Maintenance departments.”

Cross-border emergency deliveries started more than 50 years ago and are governed by an agreement between the United States and Mexico to provide Tijuana with a portion of Mexico’s Colorado River supply. The Water Authority provides emergency water deliveries to Mexico through a cross-border connection in Otay Mesa. These deliveries use Water Authority, Otay Water District, and MWD facilities to transport the emergency supplies from the Colorado River to Mexico, which pays transportation costs on deliveries to Tijuana and provides funds for meter connection upkeep. Deliveries are typically planned months in advance due to the number of government agencies involved.

Coordination with multiple agencies

On January 2, the Water Authority received a request for emergency water delivery to Tijuana. Water Authority staff immediately expedited the complex approval process during this unplanned Tijuana aqueduct outage. Those steps included working with the U.S. International Boundary & Water Commission, Otay Water District, and MWD to confirm system capacity availability and establish costs associated with the additional emergency deliveries.

The current water deliveries are scheduled to continue until the end of February. Consistent with the previously approved schedule, planned water deliveries will restart in April and continue through September 2023.

(Editor’s note: The Otay Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across San Diego County.)

San Diego County Student Artwork Featured in 2023 Calendar

Six San Diego County student artists are among the 37 Southern California students whose artwork will appear in the 2023 “Water Is Life” Student Art Calendar.