Posts

Gary Croucher-Board Chair-San Diego County Water Authority-Primary

Investments Protect San Diego Region from Drought

It has been a very busy few weeks in the water world, with the governor declaring a drought emergency in two Northern California counties and increased discussions across the West about how to manage water through a very dry year.

While the challenges are real in some parts of the state, I applaud Governor Newsom for taking a targeted, flexible, and iterative approach to drought management. This approach provides support for individual regions that are suffering from drought while also recognizing regions like San Diego County that have sufficient water supplies due to three decades of investments in supply reliability.

Water Portfolio Strategy

The governor’s Water Portfolio Strategy aligns with our region’s long-term investments in a diversified water portfolio, desalinated seawater, conserved water from Imperial County, local water-use efficiency measures, member agency recycled water and local supply projects, and increased water storage. It’s especially important to highlight the efforts of our ratepayers, who have cut per capita water use by nearly half since 1990. Because of those actions and others, our residents have enough water for 2021 and future dry years.

In addition, the innovative and resilient water supply portfolio created by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies puts our region in a unique position to provide solutions that can help California weather this drought and future droughts – for instance, by storing water in Lake Mead. We look forward to working with the governor and his staff to collaborate on projects and programs where we can use our assets and experience to help areas that are hit hard by drought in the face of a changing climate.

Finally, I invite you to read my latest commentary in The San Diego Union-Tribune that addresses many of the issues being faced statewide and how that impacts San Diego County.

I hope you also take a moment to appreciate the cartoon in the U-T by Steve Breen, which perfectly captures our investments over the past three decades.

Steve Breen Drought cartoon-prepared-drought

Value of Water: Mission Trails FRS II

The Mission Trails Flow Regulatory Structure II Project, or FRS II, will be an underground concrete water tank in Mission Trails Regional Park that will store slightly less than five million gallons of water and be used to balance flows in the aqueduct system. FRS II will be the second underground water tank in the park – both work to efficiently move water through the region. Construction is underway and expected to be completed in 2022.

Value of Water-Mission Trails-FRSII-Underground reservoir

Value of Water: Mission Trails FRS II

What does project do?

The Mission Trails Flow Regulatory Structure II Project, or FRS II, will be an underground concrete water tank in Mission Trails Regional Park that will store slightly less than five million gallons of water and be used to balance flows in the aqueduct system. FRS II will be the second underground water tank in the park – both work to efficiently move water through the region. Construction is underway and expected to be completed in 2022.

Why is this project important?

Improving the region’s water infrastructure ensures that San Diego County residents are getting a clean, safe, and reliable supply. The FRS II project is another example of the successful long-term strategy by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies to diversify its water resources, make major upgrades in the regional water delivery and storage system, and improve water-use efficiency.

How do water ratepayers benefit?

The underground reservoir is being constructed within the park to improve the Water Authority’s untreated water system in the northwest area of the park. The upgrade will increase reliable water delivery to treatment plants that serve the central and south sections of San Diego County.

In 2013, the Water Authority finalized the Regional Water Facilities Optimization and Master Plan Update, the agency’s roadmap for infrastructure investments through 2035. This updated plan focuses on optimizing the Water Authority’s existing infrastructure while maintaining the flexibility to adjust to a range of future water supply needs.

Notable

Once complete, the dirt hill will be leveled to its previous contours and revegetated with native plants – many seeded from plants within the park itself. The reservoir will be completely underground – out of sight – but within the control of the San Diego County Water Authority.

Quotable

“The San Diego County Water Authority is building a massive 5-million-gallon concrete water storage tank, called a flow regulatory structure. You will never see it once it’s completed.” — Joe Little, Reporter, NBC 7, April 9, 2021.

[Editor’s note: This feature, the Value of Water, focuses on the projects, operations and maintenance by the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies that increase the value, reliability, and safety of water for ratepayers in San Diego County.]

Opinion: What Can Help Get Us Through This Drought

Living in California means living with droughts – there’s no getting around it.

The devastating 2014-15 drought resulted in water shortages for our communities, farms and the environment, prompting California’s water leaders and decision-makers to implement early planning, improved collaboration, added conservation measures and new local supply projects to help balance the water needs of people and fish in preparing for the drought that is currently before us.

Rainbow Approves MND for Gopher Canyon Pipeline

The Rainbow Municipal Water District board approved an environmental mitigated negative declaration along with a Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program for Rainbow’s Gopher Canyon Water Pipeline Improvements project. The board’s 5-0 vote, March 23, adopted the MND and the MMRP while also formally approving the Gopher Canyon Pipeline Improvements project.

With Help from American Rescue Plan, Thousand Oaks Plans $111 Million of Infrastructure Projects

Thousand Oaks plans to upgrade much of its aging infrastructure over the next two fiscal years, with help from President Joe Biden’s recently enacted American Rescue Plan.

“The city is nearing 60 years old and our infrastructure is aging,” Jaime Boscarino, Thousand Oaks’ finance director, said in presenting the proposed capital improvement budget for fiscal years 2022 and 2023 at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. Thousand Oaks was incorporated in 1964.

Opinion: Water Infrastructure Package Needed to Deal with Drought

California is once again into a critically dry year with memories of the last drought all too fresh. Scientists warn that “boom or bust” water years are the new normal, and we all knew we’d be back here again. The question is, what have we learned and what have we done about it?

Kirk Paving Given Dentro De Lomas Resurfacing Contract

In December, a Rainbow Municipal Water District water main broke in the 2800 block of Dentro De Lomas Road. The main break caused severe damage to the asphalt pavement, so replacement of the pavement will be required. Rainbow’s board voted 5-0, March 23, to approve a contract with Kirk Paving to provide the repaving.

Onyx Paving Given FPUD Contract

While repairing leaks of Fallbrook Public Utility District facilities, FPUD staff temporarily patched 40 sites with cold mix asphalt. On March 22, FPUD’s board awarded Onyx Paving a contract for a one-time paving project to replace the cold mix patches with permanent hot mix paving. The 5-0 vote awarded Onyx Paving the contract for $77,120.

Controversial Pipeline Project Is Fueling Drama Within the Water Authority

The San Diego County Water Authority is no stranger to conflict – virtually all of its dealings over the past decade have been shaped by its feud with the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Now that feud is fueling fights within the agency itself. In the latest twist, some members called for an independent ethics officer during a full meeting of the Water Authority last month.