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Hot Again: 2020 Sets Yet Another Global Temperature Record

Earth’s rising fever hit or neared record hot temperature levels in 2020, global weather groups reported Thursday.

While NASA and a couple of other measurement groups said 2020 passed or essentially tied 2016 as the hottest year on record, more agencies, including the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, said last year came in a close second or third. The differences in rankings mostly turned on how scientists accounted for data gaps in the Arctic, which is warming faster than the rest of the globe.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, AES Pursue Nation’s First Solar-Powered Pumped Hydro Project

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative and AES Corp. have executed and filed a power purchase agreement with Hawaii regulators to develop a solar-powered pumped hydro storage project the utility says will bring its total resource mix above 80% renewables. The West Kauai Energy Project could come online in 2024.

A “Forever” Drought Takes Shape in the West

The Southwest U.S. is mired in an ever-worsening drought, one that has left deer starving in Hawaii, turned parts of the Rio Grande into a wading pool, and set a record in Colorado for the most days of “exceptional drought.”

Sustainable Gardeners, Get Into Your Climate Zone

People around the world know San Diego for its beautiful, sunny, and mild weather. San Diego residents know our daily weather has more variety than visitors might imagine.

Climate is defined as the average weather conditions in an area over a long period, generally 30 years or more. German climate scientist Wladimir Koppen first divided the world’s climate into six regions in the early 1900s.

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

Building a Collaborative Vision for San Diego County

We welcome the new year with heavy hearts about the recent events in our nation’s Capitol and a renewed commitment to civility and respect at every level of government.

At the same time, we are maintaining our concentration on our priorities for the year, which are numerous and significant. I’m focused on advancing San Diego County’s interests as we continue to fulfill our mission of making sure that our region has safe and reliable water supplies at an affordable price, which is critical to maintaining our economic competitiveness and sustaining our wonderful quality of life.

Here’s some good news about how the Water Authority is putting San Diego County first in 2021:

  • As part of our commitment to meeting some of the strictest environmental regulations in the world, the Water Authority and Poseidon Water have launched a state-of-the-art project evaluating intake screen technologies at the Claude “Bud” Lewis Desalination Plant, which has served more than 65 billion gallons of locally produced water over the past five years. Crews are testing both active screen and passive screen technologies in Agua Hedionda Lagoon to complete the full-scale project by the end of 2023.
  • We are updating our Urban Water Management Plan, which is a critical part of meeting the long-range water needs of the San Diego region for both normal years and dry years. This planning document is increasingly important given the increasingly unpredictable impact of climate change. The planning process is, of course, a collaborative effort with our 24 member agencies as we account for their local supplies and demand projections.
  • Our low-cost supplies of conserved water from the Imperial Valley are the foundation of our diversified supply portfolio. With Board direction, staff has launched the next phase of a study to explore a new system to deliver those supplies because initial studies show it could be most cost-effective than the current system and mutually beneficial for our partners in the valley. The study will only advance if it benefits the region by providing cost savings for ratepayers.
  • As the regional economy recovers, we are working hard to protect ratepayers by maintaining a focused and strategic budget. It’s a tough balance, but we are working hard to find the right combination of near-term and long-term funding priorities in these challenging times.
While I’m glad to put the old year behind us and welcome 2021, I’m certain there will be many challenges and opportunities ahead. I’m committed to keeping you informed along the way, and to working with our Board, member agencies, stakeholders, regional leaders and ratepayers to create innovative solutions. In my 20-plus years on the Water Authority Board, we’ve never shied away from big and bold ideas – and 2021 will be no exception.

Valve Opening Sends Billions of Gallons of Water From Loveland to Sweetwater Reservoir

A valve at the base of the Loveland Dam near Alpine was opened Monday, allowing billions of gallons of water to thunder down the valley toward Sweetwater Reservoir in Spring Valley. “It’s a spectacle that is hard to forget,” said Hector Martinez, Chairman of the Sweetwater Authority “Very powerful! I almost feel the ground shaking when the water is being released.” The gushing valve is a sight to behold, and thanks to the massive transfer, South Bay water customers might be looking at their water bills with similar amazement.

Wall Street Can Now Bet On the Price of California Water. Watch Out

Wall Street’s reputation as one of America’s premier innovation machines can only be enhanced by a new futures contract that began trading publicly on Dec. 7. It allows investors to bet on the price of water in California.

Those who take the gamble are effectively betting that the spot price for water will rise during the life of the contract; they’ll pocket the difference. Sellers are betting that the price will fall.

Climate’s Toll on the Colorado River: ‘We Can Weather Maybe a Couple of Years’

Beside a river that winds through a mountain valley, the charred trunks of pine trees lie toppled on the blackened ground, covered in a thin layer of fresh snow. Weeks after flames ripped through this alpine forest, a smoky odor still lingers in the air.

The fire, called the East Troublesome, burned later into the fall than what once was normal. It cut across Rocky Mountain National Park, racing up and over the Continental Divide. It raged in the headwaters of the Colorado River, reducing thick forests to ashes and scorching the ground along the river’s banks.

Dry Start to California’s Water Year

A dry start to California’s water year is reflected in the season’s first snow survey of the Sierra Nevada snowpack. The statewide snowpack is 52% of average for Dec. 30. On average, the Sierra snowpack supplies about 30% of California’s water needs.

“The first snowpack survey of the water year points to California’s climate variability, which is why a diverse water portfolio is needed to provide a reliable supply,” said Goldy Herbon, San Diego County Water Authority senior water resources specialist. “The Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have successfully diversified water sources, and continue to expand those sources, to ensure our supply meets the needs of the region’s 3.3 million people and its $245 billion economy.”

Why It’s Way Too Early to Worry About Rain Deficits in SoCal

Yes, it’s been pretty dry so far this winter, but there is no need to worry. The major winter storm that roared through Southern California Monday proved we can erase a month’s worth of rain deficit in one day. I recently explained how the climate where we live — the Mediterranean Climate — sees the majority of its annual rainfall in the winter months. In fact, a whopping 80% of Southern California’s annual rain and snow falls from December through March.