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Water Reuse Projects Highlight Sustainable Building Week

Three potable water reuse or recycling projects under development in the San Diego region were highlighted this week during the San Diego Green Building Council’s inaugural “Sustainable Building Week San Diego.”

The Sustainable Building Week programs focused on sustainable practices and creating collaboration and networks among San Diego professionals involved with environmental stewardship and green building.

Epic Drought Means Water Crisis on Oregon-California Border

Hundreds of farmers who rely on a massive irrigation project that spans the Oregon-California border learned Wednesday they will get a tiny fraction of the water they need amid the worst drought in decades, as federal regulators attempt to balance the needs of agriculture against federally threatened and endangered fish species that are central to the heritage of several tribes.

5 Things You Need to Know About Federal Drought Aid in California

Stop if you’ve heard this before: California is in the grip of a severe drought. Again. Now the federal government is stepping in to help.  To assist California, which is the nation’s largest food supplier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently declared a drought disaster for 50 counties. That makes growers throughout the state who have been struggling with parched conditions eligible to seek federal loans.

Lake Powell Could Hit Near-Record Lows From Drought

In cruising Lake Powell this year, as people explore canyons and take in the beauty of the rock formations, they’ll also see first-hand what extreme drought looks like.

They could come across previously submerged trees standing bare out-of-water. Or maybe they’ll notice the “bathtub ring” lining the canyon walls, where the water used to sit. Some lucky groups might even find shipwrecked boats revealed on the shore.

Bee's Bliss Sage (Salvia leucophylla) attracts pollinators including bees and butterflies to your landscaping. Photo: Wikipedia groundcovers to use

12 Grand Groundcovers to Use as Lawn Substitutes

You’ve decided to eliminate the thirsty turf areas in your current landscaping when planning your new sustainable landscape. It’s tempting to install hardscape. It needs no water at all. It might seem like a smart idea, but it creates a new problem: stormwater runoff. It can also increase temperatures and add in its own small way to global warming.

Finding alternatives to cover the area with plants instead of hardscaping will help prevent too much stormwater runoff and capture rainfall.

Consider replacing your lawn with groundcovers. There are many good choices of groundcover plants that make good lawn substitutes. Many species grow well in San Diego County’s six climate zones and the Mediterranean climate natives fall into the very low or low Plant Factor categories. They won’t use as much water than the same amount of grass.

Very Low Plant Factor groundcover choices include:

California lilac (Ceanothus) is a native plant to San Diego County and produces spectacular blooms in early spring. Photo: Wikimedia

California lilac (Ceanothus) is a native plant to San Diego County and produces spectacular blooms in early spring. Photo: Wikimedia

Silver Carpet (Dymondia margaretae)

Bluff California Lilac (Ceanothus maritimus)

Low Plant Factor groundcover choices include:

Bee's Bliss Sage (Salvia leucophylla) attracts pollinators including bees and butterflies to your landscaping. Photo: Wikipedia groundcovers to use

Bee’s Bliss Sage (Salvia leucophylla) attracts pollinators including bees and butterflies to your landscaping. Photo: Wikipedia

Pink Yarrow (Achillea millefolium rosea)

Gold Coin Plant (Asteriscus maritumus)

Sundrops (Calylophus hartwegii)
Carmel Mountain ceanothus

Dwarf Mat Rush (Lomandra longfolia)

Bee’s Bliss Sage (Salvia)

Wooly Thyme (Thymus pseudolanguinosus)

Blue Chalksticks (Senecio serpens)

Moderate Plant Factor groundcover choices include:

The Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) provides a display of white flowers. Photo: Wikimedia groundcovers to use

The Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) provides a display of white flowers. Photo: Wikimedia

Creeping Manzanita ‘Carmel Sur’ (Arctostaphylos edmunsii)

Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis)

Pink yarrow, sages, and lilacs also support the lifecycle of butterflies, which are important pollinators.

 

This article is part of a year-long series inspired by the 71-page Sustainable Landscapes Program guidebook available at SustainableLandscapesSD.org. The Water Authority and its partners also offer other great resources for landscaping upgrades, including free WaterSmart classes at WaterSmartSD.org.

Pure Water San Diego is anticipated to provide 50% of the City of San Diego's water supply by 2035. Photo: Courtesy City of San Diego Water Reuse Progress

Water Reuse Projects Highlight Sustainable Building Week

Three potable water reuse or recycling projects under development in the San Diego region were highlighted this week during the San Diego Green Building Council’s inaugural “Sustainable Building Week San Diego.”

The Sustainable Building Week programs focused on sustainable practices and creating collaboration and networks among San Diego professionals involved with environmental stewardship and green building.

The panel discussion, “Potable Reuse: New Local Sources of High-Quality Drinking Water for San Diego County,” updated the development status and future benefits of three projects: Pure Water Oceanside, Pure Water San Diego, and the East County Advanced Water Purification program. Attendees learned how the technology works and how it reduces reliance on imported water, while increasing local supply.

Multiple benefits to the environment

Panelists provided the latest updates on Pure Water San Diego, Pure Water Oceanside, and the East County Advanced Water Project. Photo: Water Authority

Panelists provided the latest updates on Pure Water San Diego, Pure Water Oceanside, and the East County Advanced Water Purification program. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

“Potable reuse has multiple benefits, including sustainability and drought resilience,” said Lesley Dobalian, principal water resources specialist for the San Diego County Water Authority and the panel moderator.

Pure Water Oceanside

“Water supplies are subject to lots of vulnerabilities, including rising costs, energy consumption, natural disasters, and eco-system and environmental issues,” said Cari Dale, City of Oceanside water utilities director. “Pure Water Oceanside replicates and accelerates Nature’s natural recycling process.”

The City of Oceanside is working toward creating 50% of its water supply locally, including Pure Water Oceanside, by 2030.

Cari Dale, Water Utilities Director, City of Oceanside, explained to the viewers how the process works. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

East County AWP

Kyle Swanson, director of advanced water purification with the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, said the East County Advanced Water Purification project would recycle 15 million gallons of annual wastewater discharge into a resource. Currently, wastewater from East County travels 20 miles to be discharged into the San Diego metropolitan wastewater treatment system and eventually into the Pacific Ocean.

“Redistribution of this water would meet 30% of the demand for potable water in East County,” said Swanson. “It is sustainable, uninterruptable, and competitive in costs.”

The East County AWP will produce 30% of the region’s water supply. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Pure Water San Diego

Pure Water San Diego is the $5 billion project designed to generate 83 million gallons of water per day by 2035, nearly one-half of San Diego’s water demand based on the new 2021 urban water management plan.

“That’s pretty exciting, half our water supply is from this project,” said John Stufflebean, assistant director, City of San Diego Water Utilities Department.

Phase 1 will produce 30 million gallons of water per day by 2025; Phase 2 will deliver the remaining supply.

Potable reuse will provide a new source of safe, high quality drinking water in San Diego County. This local supply is sustainable, drought resilient, and benefits the environment. It will also help prepare the region for future droughts and a changing climate.

Drought: Why Water Supply Diversity is Critical

Drought is back in California. Federal and state agencies are warning of potential water shortages in the months ahead. Because of investments made by the San Diego County Water Authority, its member agencies and the region’s water ratepayers, San Diego County is safe from the threat of multi-year droughts.

Opinion: Failure to Prepare Deepens the Pain from Dry Years

It’s that time of year, when we find out it’s that kind of year. We appear at the doorstep of a “critically dry year,” and most reservoir levels are significantly below average. Those conditions bring painfully to mind the awful drought years of 2014 and 2015, and threaten water supplies for California farms and cities, and for the protected fish species that must also get by in these lean years. For direct diverters, the State Water Resources Control Board recently sent letters to 40,000 water right holders of record, asking them to start planning for potential water supply shortages later this year, and identifying actions water users can take to increase drought resilience.

Ag Community Welcomes More Environmentally Friendly Farming But Says It’ll Take Money

California’s agricultural community made clear in a series of public meetings last month that growers, dairies and ranchers stand ready to expand forward-thinking environmental practices — but that such activities don’t necessarily make financial sense without some form of government support.

Opinion: Drought Hits California — and Newsom

By any standard, California is experiencing one of its periodic droughts after two successive years of below-normal precipitation.

“We are now facing the reality that it will be a second dry year for California and that is having a significant impact on our water supply,” state water resources director Karla Nemeth said in late March as the state reduced projected deliveries of water to 5% of requested demand.