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More Reservoirs May Run Dry and the Great Salt Lake Will Continue to Decline, State Officials Warn

More reservoirs across Utah may run dry and the Great Salt Lake will continue to decline, state officials warned lawmakers on Wednesday.

During a briefing before the Utah State Legislature’s Natural Resources Interim Committee, lawmakers were told that 99% of Utah remains in severe or extreme drought. That’s actually an improvement over last year, when a huge chunk of the state was in “exceptional” drought — the worst category.

California’s Drought, Relentless and Inexorable, Takes its Toll

With the rainy season come and gone, drought’s withered hand remained firmly fixed on California this month, as it has been, with few exceptions, for the last decade.

Woes pile up. Rain didn’t save us, the snowpack is all but gone, the Coastal Commission says no desalinating sea water, and urban-interface fires have already begun.

It’s almost summer in the Golden State.

Opinion: Did Wastewater Recycling Help Defeat the Huntington Beach Desalination Plant?

For some time, California seemed well on its way toward a water future made more secure by desalination plants up and down the coast.  A dozen are currently in operation, including the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, which upon opening in 2015 became the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.  Ten more plants are being planned.

California’s Snowpack, Groundwater Keep Dropping

New numbers continue to show California Sierra snowpack is dropping along with the state’s groundwater but why is that important? Check out this image below and you’ll see all of the ways we use snowpack.

That Spring snowmelt not only fills our streams, reservoirs and lakes, we also use it for agriculture, household, ecology and hydropower. In total providing one-third of the state’s water supply.

San Marcos residents joined officials including San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones, and San Marcos City Councilmember Ed Musgrove; City of San Marcos Parks and Recreation Commissioners Danyte Mockus-Valenzuela and Judy Prestininzi; and VWD board members Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson, Ph.D, Jim Pennock, and Mike Sannella at Woodland Park to fill new reusable bottles with fresh drinking water at the new fill station. Photo: Vallecitos Water District Wags and Water Festival

Wags and Water Festival Brings Canines and Water Conservation Together

Adoptable dogs and even a few cats found new homes and called attention to new water conservation measures at five San Marcos parks at the first “Wags and Water Festival.” The event was organized by the Vallecitos Water District and the City of San Marcos.

San Marcos and VWD partnered on the new project to encourage water conservation. Five hydration stations have been installed in San Marcos parks to facilitate easy refilling of reusable bottles during outdoor activities instead of using purchased bottled water. Photo: Vallecitos Water District Wags and Water Festival

San Marcos and the Vallectios Water District partnered on the new project to encourage water conservation. Five hydration stations have been installed in San Marcos parks to facilitate easy refilling of reusable bottles during outdoor activities instead of using purchased bottled water. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Residents joined officials, including San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones and San Marcos City Councilmember Ed Musgrove; City of San Marcos Parks and Recreation Commissioners Danyte Mockus-Valenzuela and Judy Prestininzi; and Vallectios board members Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson, Ph.D., Jim Pennock, and Mike Sannella, at Woodland Park to fill new reusable bottles with fresh drinking water at the new fill station.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s K9 team presented a tracking demonstration of their working dogs. Camp Run-A-Mutt San Marcos assisted at the event.

Seven dogs find new homes

San Diego County dog adoption agencies participating at the event placed seven dogs in new homes. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

San Diego County dog adoption agencies participating at the event placed seven dogs in new homes. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

San Diego County dog adoption agencies participating at the event with adoptable dogs and adoption information included A New Life Rescue, Paws 4 Thought Animal Rescue, and Tragic to Magic and helped call attention to the project. Seven dogs found their forever homes with families who adopted them at the event.

San Marcos and Vallecitos partnered on the new project to encourage water conservation. Five hydration stations have been installed in San Marcos parks to facilitate easy refilling of reusable bottles during outdoor activities instead of using purchased bottled water. Both the City of San Marcos and the Vallecitos Water District are committed to reducing single-use plastics. Each station features a quick-fill mechanism to encourage reusable water bottle use alongside a regular water fountain spout.

Allie Uribe with her new puppy, Patsy. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Allie Urabe with her new puppy, Patsy. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Grant funding benefits the community

The hydration station project received $25,000 in grant funding from the San Diego County Water Authority and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to cover the purchase and installation of the stations, and educational signage informing the public about the benefits of tap water over bottled water. The signage also offers several additional steps people can take to conserve water.

In addition to Woodland Park, fill stations are available at Mission Sports Field Park, Bradley Park, Connors Park, Buelow Park, and Woodland Park.

Both the City of San Marcos and the Vallecitos Water District are committed to reducing single-use plastics. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Both the City of San Marcos and the Vallecitos Water District are committed to reducing single-use plastics. San Diego County Water Authority staffers Emily Rose (L) and Vadim Livshits (R). Photo: Vallecitos Water District

According to the Water Footprint Calculator, it takes 1.5 gallons of water to manufacture a single plastic bottle holding 16 ounces of drinking water. All plastic drinking bottles are made from new plastic material, so there is no recovery due to recycling.

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

Six Steps to WaterSmart Landscape Success

Every WaterSmart landscape added by a homeowner becomes a key part of the San Diego region’s water efficiency goals. By converting a turf-focused yard to a WaterSmart landscape, you have the potential to beautify your property, save money, and reduce maintenance. You also play a critical role in protecting and improving the health of our natural environment by cultivating native plants, retaining and minimizing stormwater runoff, and conserving water.

A Salty Dispute: California Coastal Commission Unanimously Rejects Desalination Plant

The California Coastal Commission tonight rejected the proposed construction of a desalination plant in Huntington Beach, sealing the controversial project’s fate after more than 20 years of debate.

The unanimous decision about the $1.4-billion plant in Huntington Beach is pivotal because it sets a high bar for the future of turning seawater into drinking water in California, which can help buffer its vulnerable water supply against drought.

Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir Moving to Completion

The San Diego County Water Authority Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir project in North San Diego County reached a major milestone in late April when crews poured the concrete roof of the new prestressed concrete water tank. The major construction project, which began in March 2021, will improve drinking water supply reliability for the county.

Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir

Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir Moving to Completion

The San Diego County Water Authority Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir project in North San Diego County reached a major milestone in late April when crews poured the concrete roof of the new prestressed concrete water tank. The major construction project, which began in March 2021, will improve drinking water supply reliability for the county.

The project began with the demolition of an abandoned steel tank, and includes construction of an isolation vault and an underground flow control facility, in addition to the new 2.1 million-gallon water tank connected to the Valley Center Pipeline. The project is expected to be completed by November 2022.

Improved flexibility with Hauck Mesa Reservoir

The new Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir will increase operational flexibility by balancing the flow of treated water between the agency’s first and second aqueducts as well as ensure water deliveries can be maintained even if power supplies are interrupted.

The walls of the new tank are about 60 feet tall, will be stained a forest green color to blend in with the natural landscape, and are made of prestressed, or wire wrapped, concrete. Construction Manager Emma Ward-McNally said that the prestressed technology “will maintain the tank walls in permanent compression, allowing the tank to accommodate seismic events while remaining watertight.”

Next steps for the project include the wire wrapping of the water tank, applying green-tinted shotcrete to the tank walls, installation of mechanical components within the flow control facility, system commissioning, and paving of the project site and access road.

Asset management

Strategic infrastructure improvements by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies are part of the regional effort to ensure continued delivery of water to support the region’s $240 billion economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents. As part of the asset management program, it is critical to actively replace and repair the Water Authority’s assets, which include pipes, valves, facilities, equipment, and other infrastructure.

The Water Authority will continue to work closely with the Valley Center community, Valley Center Municipal Water District, and nearby homeowners to minimize short-term construction impacts.

How Bad is Water Use in California? March is the Worst So Far, Up 19%

Californians emerged from the driest January, February and March on record with the biggest jump in water use since the drought began: a nearly 19% increase in March compared to two years earlier.

Despite the urgent pleas of water officials, California’s water use in March is the highest since 2015, standing in stark contrast to February, when residents and businesses used virtually the same amount of water in cities and towns as two years ago.