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L to R: Water Authority Deputy General Manager Sandra Kerl, Poseidon Water CEO Carlos Riva, and former Senator Barbara Boxer share a toast at Thursday's third anniversary event at the Carlsbad desalination plant. Photo: Water Authority

Carlsbad Desalination Plant Celebrates 40 Billion Gallons Served

San Diego County marked a significant milestone in regional water supply reliability Thursday at the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant – the delivery of 40 billion gallons of drinking water during its first three years of commercial operations.

This is enough water to fill 800 million bathtubs, or 1,820 Bellagio Las Vegas fountains.

The plant, which launched its commercial operations in December 2015, provides San Diego County with 50 million gallons of locally-controlled, climate-resilient and high-quality water a day, helping to minimize the region’s vulnerability to droughts.

The Carlsbad Desalination Plant has delivered 40 billion gallons of fresh, clean drinking water during its three years of operation. Photo: Water Authority

The Carlsbad Desalination Plant has delivered 40 billion gallons of fresh, clean drinking water during its three years of operation. Photo: Water Authority

Former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a long-time champion for water reliability projects like the Carlsbad facility, spoke at the third anniversary event on Dec. 13.

“This facility has helped protect public health and safety and the economy during the worst recorded drought in California history,” according to Boxer’s prepared remarks. “Here in California, we need to have a multifaceted water plan that includes conservation, recycling, recharging underground aquifers, and catching water as it falls.

“The Carlsbad Desalination Plant is a model for how desalination should be done in California, and more facilities modeled after Carlsbad are certainly going to be needed,” said Boxer. Boxer said in arid regions like Southern California where most of the population lives along the coast, seawater desalination is the only way to ensure residents’ water needs are met under extreme conditions brought on by climate change.

Most advanced and efficient desalination plant worldwide

The Carlsbad desalination facility is the largest, most technologically advanced and energy-efficient desalination plant in the nation. It was made possible through an innovative public-private partnership between Poseidon Water and the San Diego County Water Authority. The plant enhances water supply reliability in the San Diego region by meeting nearly 10 percent of the region’s water demand – or about a quarter of all the water generated in the county.

“We’re just thrilled,” said Sandra Kerl, deputy general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority. “It’s hard to believe it’s been three years and that we’re on the 40 billionth gallon. To have been a part of a project that provides a service that all of us can’t live without is really quite gratifying.”

Desalination is a cornerstone of the Water Authority’s strategies. Regardless of weather conditions, the Carlsbad plant produces a core supply of water day-in and day-out.

Visitors tour the Carlsbad desalination plant during Thursday's anniversary event. Photo: Water Authority

Visitors tour the Carlsbad desalination plant during Thursday’s anniversary event. Photo: Water Authority

Since the plant opened, it has also proved to be an educational and inspiring tool for water innovation across the country and throughout the world. Tour groups visit the plant monthly to learn about the plant’s operation and the partnership between Poseidon Water and the Water Authority.

At the Dec. 13 event, participants toasted the success of the plan with glasses filled with fresh, desalinated water from the plant. “A toast to Pacific on Tap and continued water reliability in San Diego County thanks to desalinated water!” said Carlos Riva, CEO of Poseidon Water.

For more information, go to the project website, carlsbaddesal.com, or the Water Authority’s website, sdcwa.org.

READ MORE:

CBS 8: Carlsbad desalination plant celebrates 40 billionth gallon of water

Fox 5 San Diego: County desalination plant celebrates 40 billion gallons of drinking water

KGTV 10 News: Carlsbad desalination plant celebrates milestone

NBC 7 San Diego: Carlsbad Desalination Plant Purifies 40 Billionth Gallon of Ocean Water

Times of San Diego: County Desalination Plant Celebrates 40 Billionth Gallon of Water

A new emergency generator kept water servicie running during recent wildfires in the Fallbrook PUD service area. Photo: Fallbrook PUD emergency preparedness

Emergency preparedness pays off for Fallbrook PUD

When residents in De Luz were forced to evacuate about 100 homes during the Rock Fire in July, an emergency generator installed by the Fallbrook Public Utility District proved its value by providing water to help firefighters extinguish the blaze.

The generator was installed about a year ago at the Donnil Pump Station at a cost of about $140,000. Since then, several fires have sparked in the hilly backcountry community north of Fallbrook.

The quick-burning Rock Fire broke out mid-afternoon on July 28 near Sandia Creek and Rock Mountain just south of the Riverside County line. The blaze grew quickly to 74 acres within two hours. Nearby residents were advised to evacuate, affecting about 100 homes.

San Diego Gas & Electric shut off the power for safety to 530 residents in the area at 4:12 p.m., according to information on the SDG&E outage website. The outage cut power to the pump station. FPUD kept water running thanks to the new generator, which is among several recent district projects and upgrades designed to maintain water service during emergencies.

The fire grew to 225 acres, but by 7:30 p.m. the forward spread was stopped. Power was restored gradually through the night, and the evacuation order was lifted the next morning.

Important community safeguard now in place

“Now, we can cover nearly all of the De Luz area during a power outage,” said FPUD General Manager Jack Bebee. “Fire has the potential to quickly spread, so this is a very important safeguard to have in place.”

The Donnil Pump Station conveys water from the San Diego County Water Authority’s aqueduct to the high-pressure zone in De Luz. The station was built before FPUD merged with De Luz Heights Municipal Water District in 1990, and it serves as the principal pump station in that area.

The pump station was upgraded as part of the district’s capital improvement plan. Without an emergency generator, water supply to the area could be cut off during a power outage. If that occurs during a wildfire, it could reduce flows for firefighters when they need it most to protect the community.

 

 

Water reliability is vital to the region’s core industries including craft brewing. Photo: Water Authority Outreach program

Airport Ads Remind Travelers San Diego Is Brought To You By Water

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Brought to You by Water outreach and education program made its debut on advertising monitors at Lindbergh Field the day before Thanksgiving – just in time for the busy holiday travel season.

Through the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s community promotion program, the ads are expected to remain in the rotation indefinitely, reminding travelers about the importance of water reliability to the region’s quality of life. The electronic display ads are visible in multiple spots throughout baggage claim areas in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

Ads underscore important message about importance of water reliability

Water reliability is vital to the region’s core industries including craft brewing. Photo: Water Authority

The partnership between the Airport Authority and the Water Authority helps educate the region’s residents and visitors on the impact of something many take for granted – a safe and reliable water supply that sustains the region’s $220 billion economy and the quality of life of 3.3 million people.

The Water Authority is focusing on four core industries during the first phase of its Brought to You by Water program – manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and craft brewing. The initial airport ads highlight the craft beer industry, which has a $1.1 billion regional economic impact annually, and the tourism industry, which attracts 35 million visitors a year to the region.

Overall, access to reliable water supplies support $482 million per day in regional sales – the equivalent of nearly three Comic-Cons per day, according to a June report by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.

In addition to the airport ads, the Brought to You by Water program has included the creation of the Water News Network, the inaugural Water Innovation and Efficiency Award, a partnership with the hotel-motel industry to promote water-use efficiency by guests, participation in numerous community outreach events, and many other efforts designed to enhance appreciation for the region’s most precious natural resource.

For more information about Brought to You by Water, go to B2UbyH2O.org.

 

 

North County Water Symposium Highlights Efforts To Ensure Reliability

The 2018 North County Water Symposium on Wednesday highlighted efforts by the San Diego County Water Authority to ensure regional water reliability for a crowd of about 100 North County business and industry leaders. Keynote speaker Jim Madaffer, the Water Authority’s newly elected board Chair, reviewed the Water Authority’s historic achievements in water supply diversification. He also discussed continued regional development of water recycling capacity and investments in technology to maintain billions of dollars worth of water infrastructure.

Water Authority Board Chair Jim Madaffer provided the keynote address at the 2018 North County Water Symposium. Photo: Water Authority

North County Water Symposium Highlights Efforts to Ensure Reliability

Escondido — The 2018 North County Water Symposium on Wednesday highlighted efforts by the San Diego County Water Authority to ensure regional water reliability for a crowd of about 100 North County business and industry leaders.

Keynote speaker Jim Madaffer, the Water Authority’s newly elected board Chair, reviewed the Water Authority’s historic achievements in water supply diversification. He also discussed continued regional development of water recycling capacity and investments in technology to maintain billions of dollars worth of water infrastructure.

“As the Water Authority approaches our 75th year,” said Madaffer, “we are doing everything we can …  to make sure that we have a resilient water supply for the region.”

The symposium was organized by the San Diego North Economic Development Council. It featured a panel discussion on water supply and reliability for San Diego North County, with a focus on agriculture and housing. Panelists were Greg Thomas, general manager of Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District; Cari Dale, water utilities director for the City of Oceanside; Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau; and Michael McSweeney, senior public policy advisor for the San Diego Building Industry Association.

Larson highlighted efforts by farmers to increase water-use efficiency and advance recycled water use to support their multi-billion dollar industry. McSweeney said the building industry improves water efficiency when it replaces decades-old homes with new homes that use less water and less energy thanks to modern technologies.

Larson and Thomas say their respective industries share a similar challenge. Larson said fewer young adults today choose farming careers. Thomas expressed the same concerns about the water industry. “There is so much emphasis among high school students on going to college, we aren’t training enough water technology employees” to replace a “silver tsunami” of retiring Baby Boomers, he said.

Madaffer and the panelists agreed that continued dialogue and coordinated efforts among the North County region’s leaders across all economic sectors can drive economic growth while ensuring water efficiency and reliability.

NOAA's three month weather outlook predicting the amount of rainfall across the U.S. Map: NOAA.gov

Water Supplies Sufficient for 2019 Demands Despite Hot, Dry Weather

At the start of the 2019 water year, the combination of diversified water supplies and water-use efficiency means the San Diego region has enough water for 2019 and the foreseeable future despite historically low rainfall over the past 12 months.

“It has been very hot and dry, but we have invested wisely in infrastructure and regional water-use remains well below where it was at the start of the last drought,” said Jeff Stephenson, a principal water resources specialist with the Water Authority. “In fact, potable water use over the past three-plus years was 17 percent below 2013, which shows that San Diego continues to live WaterSmart.”

Still, said Stephenson, “we are looking for a wet winter locally, and in the Sierra and Rocky Mountains, to help replenish reserves for future years.”

Water managers use “water years” that run from October 1 through September 30 to track rain and snow. Local rainfall during water year 2018 totaled just over 3 inches at Lindbergh Field – 67 percent below normal and the second-lowest in San Diego history dating back to 1850.

In addition, local temperatures have been significantly above normal for most of the past five years. In many of those months, the average daily maximum temperatures were more than 4 degrees above long-term averages.

Forecasts predict continued warm weather conditions through December

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts continued warm conditions for California through December, with a 33 percent probability of above-normal precipitation locally. The U.S. Drought Monitor’s classification of San Diego County as an area of “Severe Drought” is based on weather factors – but it does not reflect water supply conditions.

More than $3.5 billion in regional water investments by San Diego County ratepayers over the past three decades mean water supplies will meet demands regardless of the weather.

New supplies and infrastructure upgrades include the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, which delivers approximately 50 million gallons of potable water per day for regional use, along with a ramp-up of water delivered to San Diego County as part of a long-term water conservation and transfer deal signed in 2003.

Other regional assets include the storage of 100,000 acre-feet of water behind the raised San Vicente Dam due to conservation efforts during the last drought. In addition, many key reservoirs statewide, including Diamond Valley Lake in Riverside County, remain near average levels for this time of year. Significantly, no shortages are expected on the Colorado River system in 2019, though long-term drought conditions continue to be a concern across the Southwestern U.S.

The Water Authority offers several programs, including a Landscape Transformation program rebate, to promote water-use efficiency. Residents and business can also attend free sustainable landscaping classes, and access online videos and tips. To learn more about those resources and others, go to WaterSmartSD.org.

Water Deal Provides Less Costly, More Reliable Supplies

A historic achievement for San Diego County passed mostly under the radar this summer when the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors approved wholesale rates for 2019. The rate increases were among the lowest in 15 years — but that’s just part of the story. The critical long-term accomplishment highlighted by the rate-setting process was that the Water Authority’s independent water supplies from the Colorado River are now both less expensive and more reliable than supplies from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. That’s a goal the region’s water officials started working towards two decades ago, and one that will bear fruit for decades to come.

Fresh water aboard Midway was critical to building up enough fresh-water steam to accelerate this A-6E Intruder from 0 to approximately 150 miles per hour in only three seconds. Photo: USS Midway Museum

USS Midway: A History of Sustainable Water Management

The USS Midway Museum, docked in San Diego, is the most popular naval warship museum in the United States and among the most visited museums in the country, with 1.4 million people annually coming aboard.

Those visitors discover the Midway made its own fresh water while at sea, from the first day it was commissioned in 1945 until it was taken out of active service in 1992. But when this venerable aircraft carrier found new life as the USS Midway Museum in 2004, its relationship with water entered a new era as well.

The USS Midway Museum served as host for the launch of the San Diego County Water Authority’s new education and outreach program: Brought to You by Water.

The program underscores the importance of water reliability for the region’s key industries such as tourism and the military — something the operators of the USS Midway Museum understand on multiple levels.

Supporting a floating city at sea with water supplies

Twelve massive boilers aboard Midway converted fresh water into steam, the lifeblood of any aircraft carrier. Those boilers required periodic scraping, a dirty job far below the water line. Photo: Courtesy USS Midway Museum

Twelve massive boilers aboard Midway converted fresh water into steam, the lifeblood of any aircraft carrier. Those boilers required periodic scraping, a dirty job far below the water line. Photo: Courtesy USS Midway Museum

When deployed at sea, sailors aboard the USS Midway produced 240,000 gallons of fresh water daily through 12 boilers to support the floating city of 4,500 men. From cooking pasta to feeding sailors, to propelling the catapult system launching aircraft off the flight deck, the Midway depended on a safe and reliable water supply to thrive, just as the San Diego region does today.

Two evaporator plants deep inside the ship took in seawater and produced fresh water via desalination. According to Scott McGaugh, Midway Director of Marketing, working in those “evap spaces” was among the toughest duty assignments aboard the Midway. When one of these plants went out of service, the Midway had to ration its water.

Even in the best of times at sea, sailors always lived with a limited water supply, and water conservation was standard operating procedure. Consider a “Navy shower” — getting wet for 30 seconds or less, shutting the water off, soaping up, and then a quick rinse. That was the lifestyle during deployment, including a stretch when the Midway set a deployment record for aircraft carriers — 327 consecutive days at sea.

Water conservation remains a priority

Four steam throttle boards such as this were the gas pedals aboard Midway. Sailors here in 1958 fed the proper amount of steam into the four turbines necessary for propulsion and a top reported speed of 30 knots per hour. That’s 34 miles an hour for the 65,000-ton aircraft carrier when active—fast enough to water ski behind Midway. Photo: Courtesy USS Midway Museum

Four steam throttle boards such as this were the gas pedals aboard Midway. Sailors here in 1958 fed the proper amount of steam into the four turbines necessary for propulsion and a top reported speed of 30 knots per hour. That’s 34 miles an hour for the 65,000-ton aircraft carrier when active—fast enough to water ski behind Midway. Photo: Courtesy USS Midway Museum

While the USS Midway Museum doesn’t have to generate its own fresh water anymore, the conservation mindset is still a part of its daily life. Chief Engineer Len Santiago for the Midway says it is a priority for his team of 64 engineers to be good stewards of water and the ship deploys modern technology such as waterless urinals and sensors on faucets.

The most critical issue for the USS Midway Museum is water leaks. The Water Authority encourages homeowners to monitor their plumbing for leaks. Now imagine monitoring hundreds of miles of pipes aboard a floating museum.

“My staff and I have to make sure first, no leaks,” said Santiago. His team checks all systems regularly. “We have hundreds of spaces where pipes run through. We check all sensors in our restrooms for guests are working properly. Problems like a running faucet are reported immediately.

“As we grow as a museum, our infrastructure will continue to grow,” said Santiago. “In the 21st century, we’ll continue to leverage technology. I expect to have sensors that will alert me to water on the deck somewhere that might indicate a leak – even in things like air conditioning.”

 

 

 

 

Development of the next generation of skilled water workforce professionals is vital to the health of the nation's infrastructure. Photo: Water Authority reliable water supply

Water Fosters Innovation Economy in San Diego County

San Diego’s regional economy depends on cutting-edge industries such as life sciences, technology, aerospace, academia – not to mention the vibrant brewing sector. Together, those industries help drive economic prosperity countywide, and they share a basic need: reliable access to water.

It may seem obvious, but newly released numbers reveal just how vital a safe and reliable water supply is to the region’s economy.

The importance of a reliable water supplyThose five water-dependent industry clusters – life sciences, technology, aerospace, academia and brewing – collectively support daily business sales of nearly $30 million, according to a new report from the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.

And that’s just five industries. Total regional sales supported per day by reliable access to water amount to $482 million. That’s equivalent to 2.7 Comic-Cons every day.

A reliable water supply supports confidence by business in economic growth

Every day, the Water Authority delivers an average of 426 million gallons of water to 24 member agencies that serve 1.1 million households, more than 98,000 businesses, and 251,000 acres of farmland.

“One of the things that I think is really important about having a reliable water source is that it gives people confidence in our system,” Janice Brown, board chair of the regional EDC said during a late-June event to release the study. “And giving companies confidence in our system causes people to have more trust in economic growth.”

Over the past 20 years, the Water Authority has invested $2.4 billion in five major water reliability projects in the region, including new pipelines, dams and treatment plants, according to the EDC report, “The Importance of Water Reliability to San Diego’s Economy.” The total economic impact of these projects has been $4.8 billion over the past two decades.

Water reliability projects generate jobs in diverse fields

Water reliability generates jobs in a wide range of disciplines. Graphic: San Diego EDC

Water reliability generates jobs in a wide range of disciplines. Graphic: San Diego EDC

Regional water reliability projects, meanwhile, supported 1,475 jobs annually over the past 20 years. Just over half of these jobs have been in construction, but they also include jobs in architecture and engineering, retail, the restaurant industry, wholesale trade, real estate and other sectors.

Overall, more than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sector at the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. Occupations include water resource engineers, water treatment operators, environmental scientists, hydrologists, and health and safety engineers.

Nationwide, nearly two million people work in 212 occupations to ensure that safe and reliable water supplies to their communities, according to a new study by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program in Washington, D.C.

Skilled water workforce development critical to the nation’s future

The Brookings report points to a need to diversify the national pool of water workers, more than half of whom have a high school diploma or less but benefit from high levels of on-the-job training that helps them develop transferable skills.

“Renewing the country’s infrastructure requires a sizable workforce, and improving water infrastructure offer enormous environmental and economic returns for residents in every community,” said Joseph Kane, a senior research associate and associate fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and lead author of the report.

Continued development of the nation’s water workforce will be critical as the nation renews aging infrastructure and tackles the challenge of income inequality, the Brookings report found.

In San Diego, regional water and education officials have long recognized that maintaining and enhancing the region’s robust water system will continue to require a talented, well-trained workforce.

Across the region, 58 programs create an educational pipeline for the water industry, according to the EDC report. They include programs at Cuyamaca and Palomar colleges and California State University San Marcos. The Water Authority and several member agencies also help prepare future workers through a regional program that has provided more than 150 paid internships since 2006 – many of which have led to full-time positions. More information about that internship program is at https://www.sdcwa.org/internships.

Attendees sign the "Brought To You By Water" symbolic beach ball, naming summer activities that rely on a safe and reliable water supply. Photo: Water Authority. Brought To You

First Day of Summer ‘Brought To You’ By New Water Authority Education Campaign

Dozens of partners from the San Diego region’s second largest industry, tourism, joined the San Diego County Water Authority for a special event aboard the USS Midway on the first day of summer, June 21, kicking off a new education and outreach campaign called ‘Brought To You By Water.’

The Water Authority program underscores the importance of water reliability to the region’s core industries, focusing on examples including tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, and craft brewing.

Watch video of the Brought to You Be Water kickoff event.

The event also showcased the release of a new San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. (EDC) report highlighting the multi-billion-dollar economic impact of safe and reliable water supplies.

The EDC report underscores the importance of regional investments in clean, reliable water supplies to the San Diego region. It focused on more than $2.4 billion invested by the Water Authority in five major water reliability projects over the past two decades. Those projects generated $4.8 billion in total economic impact, supporting an average of 1,475 jobs annually over two decades and creating more than $1.8 billion in local wages and salaries. The report also found that access to safe and reliable water supplies supports $482 million in total regional sales of goods and services daily. “This figure is equivalent to the economic impact of nearly three Comic-Cons a day,” said Janice Brown, EDC board chairperson.

In addition, the report shows more than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sectors at the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. The water industry provides career opportunities across all levels of educational attainment, in everything from customer service to engineering.

The Water Authority’s yearlong Brought to You by Water educational program explains how San Diego’s thriving economy and quality of life are all made possible by the safe and reliable water supply provided by the Water Authority and its 24 retail member agencies.

San Diego’s $17.9 billion tourism industry took center stage at Thursday’s event on the popular USS Midway Museum, with representatives and displays from the San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, LEGOLAND California, Balboa Park, Living Coast Discovery Center, the USS Midway, and additional attractions.

Local visitor industry shows the significance of safe and reliable water supplies

San Diego County attracts 35 million visitors annually, including 17.3 million hotel nights a year, more than 100 major conventions, and 194,000 tourism jobs. “Think about the pools, think about all of the attractions, think about the great parks. Balboa Park would not be Balboa Park without the opportunity to use water,” said Joe Terzi, President and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority.

In addition, the Water Authority is partnering with leaders in additional key economic sectors to showcase the significance of safe and reliable supplies to those industries. The outreach and education program includes a series of videos about the region’s iconic industries, which can be viewed and shared on social media, and a targeted advertising campaign.  To watch the videos, go to: b2ubyh2o.org 

Manufacturing: Nearly every one of the San Diego region’s groundbreaking 4,000 manufacturing facilities relies on water for washing, fabricating, cooling and other processes, which generate $23 billion in economic activity across 300 industries from world-famous guitars to Navy ships.

Craft Brewing: San Diego is justifiably proud of its $870 million a year craft brewing industry. But no one would enjoy a single pint wouldn’t be possible without safe and reliable water.

Coffee: Beer isn’t the only beverage making an impact in San Diego. The region is also home to a burgeoning coffee industry – another sector that values water as a core ingredient.

Agriculture: San Diego County’s farms produce nearly $2 billion annually in sales. Our region’s temperate climate and reliable water supplies support 5,500 local farms on more than 250,000 cultivated acres – plus numerous farmers markets, restaurants and grocery stores stocked with our local bounty.

Brought To You By Water outreach and education program activities planned

The ‘Brought to You By Water’ beach ball will travel to public events and gather more signatures this summer. Photo: Charlie Neuman for Water Authority

The “Brought To You By Water” program will be covered on the Water Authority’s newly created Water News Network, a regional online hub for water news and information at WaterNewsNetwork.com

“Over the next year, the Water Authority and its member agencies will make a special effort to highlight how our safe and reliable water supplies are critical to our economy, and quality of life,” said Mark Muir, Water Authority board chairman.

The Water Authority will participate in regional events for industry sectors, along with street fairs, farmers markets and other opportunities to talk about water with residents in the coming months. These events will feature a highlight of today’s kickoff, a giant beach ball – eight feet in diameter – branded with the Brought to You by Water logo and signed by guests at the conclusion of today’s event.

For more information about Brought to You by Water, visit B2UbyH2O.org