President Donald Trump on Tuesday created what he called a “subcabinet” for federal water issues, with a mandate that includes water-use changes sought by corporate farm interests and oil and gas. An executive order from Trump put Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler in charge of the interagency water body.
A new experiment is looking into how drought conditions, like we’re currently in, can affect water traveling downstream the Colorado River. The pilot project involved shepherding water from a high mountain reservoir to the Colorado-Utah state line. The project is a partnership between Colorado Springs Utilities, Aurora Water and Pueblo Board of Water Works.
Customers know when they need clean drinking water, they simply have to turn on the tap. At Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, we take pride in ensuring customers don’t have to worry about the safety or reliability of their water.
Mo Mohsin has been trying to bring clean drinking water to the residents of the Cobles Corner mobile home park ever since he bought the property back in 2003. The struggle, however, has been all uphill.
San Diego, Calif. – In an important cost-savings agreement, the City of San Diego has refinanced a loan with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will save an estimated $293 million for taxpayers as the City’s Public Utilities Department embarks on the first phase of Pure Water San Diego – the largest infrastructure project in City history.
While health and safety of our water supply remains our top priority, reliable water service is an enabling force for economic growth and improves the quality of life for families. According to a recent study by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Value of Water, the United States needs to invest $109 billion per year in water infrastructure over the next 20 years to close the water infrastructure gap.
The West Valley Water District Board of Directors has approved a series of critical water infrastructure improvements for North Fontana residents in Zone 7. The actions will ensure that WVWD will be able to better maintain and control the steady flow of water to the area’s residents, WVWD said in a news release on Sept. 22. The project is located west of Citrus Avenue and north of Interstate 15.
The plan to fix subsidence in the Friant-Kern Canal and restore water deliveries to farmers in southern Tulare County and Kern County got over a major hump last week. On Sept. 18, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the Friant-Kern Canal, released final environmental documents for its plan to repair a 33-mile stretch of canal between Lindsay and McFarland. The final environmental impact report represents a significant milestone in beginning work to restore flows to the lower third of the 153-mile long canal running along the Valley’s east side.
The San Diego County Water Authority is partnering with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego to better predict atmospheric rivers and improve water management before, during, and after those seasonal storms.
This month, Scripps’ Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E) launched the Water Affiliates Group, which brings together cutting-edge science and hands-on water industry experience to enhance reservoir operations in light of the changing climate. The Water Authority has a long-running alliance with Scripps and is among six founding water agencies statewide.
CW3E and its partners will share and support best practices in forecast-informed reservoir operations, increase research around atmospheric rivers and droughts, and develop strategies for mitigating flood risk and increasing water supply reliability.
“This partnership with Scripps Institution of Oceanography underscores our commitment to strategic, science-based decision-making and long-term planning,” said Jim Madaffer, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “By supporting advances in forecasting, we can more efficiently and effectively manage water resources both locally and statewide. This ultimately will benefit everyone in California by helping sustain our economy and quality of life.”
Addressing major climate challenges in the arid West
Water Authority General Manager Sandra L. Kerl said the collaboration aligns closely with Governor Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio, which prioritizes voluntary agreements, smart water storage strategies and coordination of data collection.
“This is a great example of how water agencies are stronger together by addressing major climate challenges that affect everyone across the arid West,” Kerl said. “By combining forces with some of the leading scientists in the world, we will enhance our planning capacity and be ready to adapt to whatever the future brings.”
Atmospheric river storms cause 40% to 60% of annual precipitation and most of the flood damage on the West Coast. Managing reservoirs for both flood control and drinking water supply retention is challenging because 20th-century practices and regulations are decreasingly relevant due to changing patterns for snowmelt and rainfall.
SIO data will help manage water supplies
CW3E is a leader in Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations, which uses data from watershed monitoring and modern weather and water forecasting to help water managers determine the best strategies for retaining or releasing water from reservoirs. CW3E has numerous tools and technologies that affiliates can use to augment water research and improve on-the-ground decisions of water managers. The group’s research covers water supply reliability, flood management, greenhouse gas mitigation, groundwater recharge, public safety, observations, forecasting, decision support, climate outlooks, and hazard assessment.
The Water Authority is working with CW3E to assess how better near-term and long-term precipitation forecasts can improve reservoir planning and operational management in the San Diego region by maximizing local water supplies and the reliability of water resources through a mix of planning processes and real-time decisions.
Joining the Water Authority as founding partners are Sonoma Water, Orange County Water District, Yuba Water Agency, Turlock Irrigation District, and Irvine Ranch Water District.
The Sweetwater Authority recently began a multiyear water main flushing program using innovative technology to clean all 400 miles of pipeline in its system. It’s part of Sweetwater Authority’s use of the latest technology to deliver a safe, reliable water supply to its South San Diego County customers.
Water main flushing cleans pipeline interiors by sending a rapid flow of water through them. Sweetwater’s program is the first in the region to use a new, innovative technology resulting in less environmental impact.
“We’re committed to providing our customers with high-quality water, ensuring that every drop meets safety standards and protects public health,” said Tish Berge, Sweetwater Authority general manager. “We’re also dedicated to providing the safe, reliable water through the use of best available technology and sustainable practices.”
See the system in action in the following video. A Spanish language version is also available.
New method avoids storm drain discharge
Traditional flushing methods release water from fire hydrants at a high speed in order to flush out naturally occurring sediments accumulating in water pipes over time. Although the sediment itself is harmless, it can eventually affect water color and taste. The water used to clean the pipes often cannot be captured and ends up in the storm drain system.
The bulk of Sweetwater Authority‘s flushing program now eliminates the need to discharge water from fire hydrants during the cleaning process while delivering the same results.
Crews identify all pipes, valves, and fire hydrants located in the area to be flushed. Next, crews connect one end of a hose to a hydrant and the other end of the hose to the no discharge, or NO-DES flushing unit. The process repeats, connecting a second hose to another hydrant and the other end back into the flushing unit, creating a temporary closed loop.
Once the NO-DES flushing unit is turned on and the hydrants are open, water will push through the loop at high pressure, disrupting any accumulated sediment on the inside of the pipes. The water is pushed through a series of sock-like filters, which remove those sediments and return clean, high-quality water back into the system.
Crews closely monitor the filtration system and water quality to determine when flushing of each pipeline segment is complete.
Innovative technology, efficient and environmentally responsible
With the closed-loop system and increased controls, crews are able to effectively and thoroughly flush large sections of pipeline with a single setup and staging area. This more efficient setup is less labor-intensive and allows the crew to maintain a safe hub for operations.
In the National City area 75.8 miles of pipeline was recently flushed. Crews are now completing work in the Bonita area, and then will start work in Chula Vista.
Additional water agencies have indicated an interest in the cost-effectiveness of purchasing the NO-DES flushing units for the region and collaborating to create a shared-use program with the innovative technology.
“Securing a local water supply to ensure the water delivered is of the highest quality through the best technology in our projects and programs helps to maximize value for our customers while also being sustainable,” said Berge.
For more information on the program, go to www.sweetwater.org/flushing.