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State Awards $15 Million for San Diego Regional Water Projects

The California Department of Water Resources has awarded more than $15 million in grant funds to advance several regional water projects in San Diego County, ranging from water recycling and reuse to water conservation.

The San Diego County Water Authority submitted the funding request on behalf of the San Diego Integrated Regional Water Management Program, or IRWM.

IRWM-SanDiego Wild Animal Park-Water Conservation

State Awards $15 Million for San Diego Regional Water Projects

The California Department of Water Resources has awarded more than $15 million in grant funds to advance several regional water projects in San Diego County, ranging from water recycling and reuse to water conservation.

The San Diego County Water Authority submitted the funding request on behalf of the San Diego Integrated Regional Water Management Program, or IRWM. The San Diego IRWM Program began in 2005 as an effort by water agencies, wastewater agencies, stormwater and flood managers, watershed groups, business leaders, disadvantaged communities, tribes, agriculture, and nonprofit stakeholders to improve water resources planning in the region.

The statewide IRWM Program is supported by bond funding from the California Department of Water Resources to fund competitive grants for projects that improve water resources management.

Collaboration with county agencies, nonprofits improves water supply and conservation

“These grants will provide much-needed funding for important local water supply projects and water-use efficiency measures, along with a disadvantaged community project in National City,” said Water Authority Board Chair Jim Madaffer. “Regional collaboration by the Water Authority and a host of partners makes these projects possible. Once again, this shows how San Diego County is stronger together.”

Madaffer praised the San Diego IRWM Regional Water Management Group and the Regional Advisory Committee for their work over the past year to secure the $15,336,336 grant. Since 2008, the San Diego region has secured more than $111 million in funds for 74 high-priority water management projects through the IRWM process. The projects help to achieve goals established in the San Diego IRWM Program and the Water Authority’s Urban Water Management Plan.

The following regional water projects will receive funding in the current round:

  • Paradise Valley Creek Water Quality and Community Enhancement, City of National City, Flood Damage Reduction, $3,681,056
  • Pure Water Oceanside, City of Oceanside, Water Supply–Groundwater, $3,115,000
  • North County Recycled Water Project, San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, Water Supply–Recycled Water, $2,820,000
  • North City Pure Water Facility Influent Pump Station and Conveyance Pipeline, City of San Diego, Water Supply–Recycled Water, $1,477,600
  • 2020 Regional Water-Use Efficiency Programs, San Diego County Water Authority, Water Conservation, $1,440,000
  • San Elijo Stormwater Capture & Reuse, San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, Water Supply–Recycled Water, $1,195,000
  • Lower Santa Margarita River Indirect Potable Reuse Pilot Project, Fallbrook Public Utility District, Water Supply–Recycled Water, $687,500

In addition, the grant allocates $920,180 to the Water Authority to administer the grant.

Regional approach to create resilient and diverse water supply portfolio

“By working together for more than 12 years, the regional IRWM Program has created a legacy of collaboration by public agencies and nonprofit organizations in the region to increase the long-term reliability and resiliency of the San Diego region’s water supply and diversify our local supply,” said Mark Stadler, San Diego regional IRWM program administrator. “Investing in water reuse, water efficiency, and conservation projects are key parts of our success to ensure a regional approach to integrated watershed management.”

On November 4, 2014, California voters approved Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014. Proposition 1 authorized $510 million in IRWM funding. Funds are allocated to 12 hydrologic region-based funding areas.

The Proposition 1 IRWM Grant Program, administered by DWR, provides funding for projects that help meet the long-term water needs of the state, including:

  • Assisting water infrastructure systems adapt to climate change;
  • Providing incentives throughout each watershed to collaborate in managing the region’s water resources and setting regional priorities for water infrastructure; and
  • Improving regional water self-reliance, while reducing reliance on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

“Water is such a vital resource, that it is critical we continue to take action to ensure communities have access to clean water supplies, reliable flood protection and healthy ecosystems.” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth when announcing the San Diego regional grant on July 3. “These grants will support agencies and projects to continue local momentum in creating a more diverse water supply portfolio, strengthening partnerships and addressing climate change.”

Coronavirus: Testing Sewage an ‘Easy Win’

A sewage-based coronavirus test could be an “easy win” that would pick up infection spikes up to 10 days earlier than with existing medical-based tests.

Scientists led by UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology are working on a standardised test to “count” the amount of coronavirus in a wastewater sample.

“The earlier you find [a signal], the earlier an intervention can happen,” says lead researcher Dr Andrew Singer.

“That means lives will be made much more liveable in the current crisis.”

Welcoming La Mesa Landscape Wins 2020 WaterSmart Contest

Tim and Brianna Montgomery of La Mesa transformed a thirsty lawn to a welcoming, water-efficient English inspired cottage landscaping, winning the Helix Water District 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The contest is an annual competition recognizing outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on overall attractiveness, design, efficient irrigation, and appropriate plant selection and maintenance.

Key Findings: The Guardian’s Water Poverty Investigation in 12 US Cities

Water is essential to life. Yet running water is becoming unaffordable across the US, in cities large and small. Water bills weigh heavily on many Americans as utilities hike up prices to pay for environmental clean-ups, infrastructure upgrades and climate emergency defenses to deal with floods and droughts. Federal funding for America’s ageing water system has plummeted, and as a result a growing number of households are unable to afford to pay their bills; millions of homes are being disconnected or put into foreclosure every year.

Arizona Starts Talks on Addressing Dwindling Colorado River

Arizona is getting a jump start on what will be a yearslong process to address a dwindling but key water source in the U.S. West.

Several states and Mexico rely on the Colorado River for drinking water and growing crops. But climate change, drought and demand have taken a toll on the river that no longer can deliver what was promised in the 1920s.

Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada have been operating under a set of guidelines approved in 2007. Those guidelines and an overlapping drought contingency plan will expire in 2026.

As Potential Mega-Drought Looms, Stanford Researchers Explore Desalination System

Researchers at Stanford are working on a technology that may be needed more than ever over the next decade, especially if new predictions are accurate. Researchers have recently warned of a potential mega-drought in the western United States – conditions so dry that our drinking water supplies could be facing historic pressures. Experts say keeping the taps flowing could require a patchwork of solutions, including potentially increasing the use of desalination, turning saltwater into drinking water.

Panelists Set to Explain Laws Limiting Water Consumption

Panelists from several water districts will give updates on new laws affecting water consumption in California during an American Liberty Forum of Ramona event set for Saturday, June 27.

The free forum on Water Regulations Today and Tomorrow will be held at Ramona Mainstage, 626 Main St. Doors open at 11 a.m. and a video program starts at 11:30 a.m.

The focus will be on Senate Bill 606 and Assembly Bill 1668.

SB 606 is in response to mandates that California achieve a 20 percent reduction in urban per capita water use by Dec. 31, 2020. Existing law requires each urban retail water supplier to develop urban water use targets and an interim urban water use target.

AB 1668 would require the state Water Resources Control Board to adopt long-term standards for the efficient use of water and would establish specified standards for per capita daily indoor residential water use.

Water Recycling Project Promises Supply for Farms

Planning efforts with farmers and preliminary designs are underway for what is expected to be one of the largest water recycling projects in California.

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District is constructing the $375 million South Sacramento County Agriculture & Habitat Lands Recycled Water Program, or the South County Ag Program. As part of the wastewater provider’s $2 billion treatment plant upgrade, the district—known as Regional San—will construct new transmission and distribution pipelines to deliver recycled water from its treatment facility in Elk Grove to irrigation systems in southern Sacramento County.

Opinion: A Social Justice Perspective of the Delta Tunnel Project

As California confronts increasing water challenges, the most equitable statewide solution from a social justice perspective is the single-tunnel project proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, known as the Delta Conveyance Project.

More than 27 million Californians rely on imported drinking water conveyed through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This imported water also serves millions of acres of local agricultural lands and vital wildlife refuges.