Carlsbad Desalination Plant Expected to Go Live in December or January

Carlsbad Desalination Plant Expected to Go Live in December or January

The Carlsbad Desalination Plant is “successfully producing 50 million gallons of fresh drinking water each day. Right now the water is going back out to the ocean,” said Jessica Jones of Poseidon Water, the company that designed and built the plant.  

Poseidon hopes to receive an operating permit from the California Department of Drinking Water, successfully complete a 30 day performance test, and begin providing in December or January enough drought-proof water for about 400,000 people.

The $1 billion plant is funded through an increase in the San Diego County Water Authority’s wholesale water rate, the rate it charges each of its 24 member agencies, including Helix Water District. In 2016, the increase is about $5.00 per household per month.

“This is a critical piece of infrastructure for ensuring a reliable future water supply for the region. A drought-proof water supply just makes sense,” said Carlos Lugo, General Manager of Helix Water District.

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San Diego County Taxpayers Association Supports San Diego’s Proposed Water Rate Increase

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association is supporting the City of San Diego’s proposal to raise water rates 17 percent in 2016. The SDCTA’s press release states that the Association’s board of directors voted to support the rate increase “after a thorough analysis of the revenue challenges presented by drought conservation as well as the need to invest in projects that bolster water reliability for San Diego’s future.”

 “I am pleased to see the Taxpayers Association analyze and endorse San Diego’s proposed rate increase because all of the 24 water agencies in the San Diego region rely on the same water resources and supply chain, we are all struggling with the drought and mandatory conservation, and we all have aging infrastructure and key projects to fund,” said Carlos Lugo, Helix Water District’s General Manager.

Read SDCTA Press Release

Read City of San Diego’s Notice of Public Hearing


El Nino Won’t End Water Use Restrictions

The Voice of San Diego is reporting that the State Water Resources Control Board has no plans to rescind statewide water use restrictions, even if El Nino brings above average precipitation to California this winter. In fact, the state has begun work on new restrictions that will go into effect after current restrictions end in February. Why? Because state water officials won’t know until April if enough snow has fallen in the Sierra to fill State Water Project reservoirs emptied by drought.

“This is what we anticipated when we calculated the five year rate plan that we adopted on October 7th,” said Carlos Lugo, General Manager of Helix Water District.

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Nov 7 — Fall Plantstravaganza!

Nov 7 — Fall Plantstravaganza!

Are you thinking about putting in a water efficient landscape or improving the one you have? Come to the 2015 Fall Plantstravaganza! at The Water Conservation Garden on Saturday, November 7th from 10am to 2pm.

Why talk about gardening in the fall? Because this is the best time to plant a water efficient landscape, so that winter rainstorms provide the extra irrigation that water efficient plants need until their roots are established.

The Plantstravaganza is an opportunity to talk with experts, buy plants and attend workshops on all aspects of gardening. You can also exchange $20 for 20 minutes with a landscape designer or architect to talk about the landscape you have now, the one you want to have, and how to do it. “Ask the Designer” consultations are popular and making a reservation is recommended. Call 619-660-0614 ext. 10.

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News Media Incorrectly Report Rate Hike

Several news media incorrectly reported that Helix Water District raised rates by 70 percent.

At the district’s October 7, 2015 public hearing, the board of directors voted to approve a five-year rate schedule that includes a 9 percent rate increase for water used beginning November 1.  For the average domestic customer who uses 26 units of water per billing period, that is about $6 a month.

The 5-year plan establishes maximum levels for rate increases in years two, three, four and five, but actual rates for those years will be calculated at the beginning of each fiscal year. The public will be informed at that time and invited to participate in the rate-setting process. Drought Weary? Five Things You Need to Understand About El Nino

There are two words on most every tongue in drought-plagued California these days: El Niño.

Media reports over the past two weeks have informed us all that El Niño is here. And that it’s a strong one. And that it will end the drought, or it could, or it may. Depending on how optimistic or flamboyant the journalist is feeling that day. Don’t bet on it.

Read the full article here.

KQED: Designing California Cities for a Long-Term Drought

Let’s consider the possibility that this drought we’re in could last more than than just a few dry years.

Geologic history in California is marked by epic droughts — droughts lasting decades, even centuries. There’s no way of knowing whether we’re at the start of one of those, but scientists say it’s possible.

Meanwhile, most Californians live in cities designed, to a great extent, on the promise of nearly endless water, imported from wetter parts of the state via massive engineering projects like the California State Water Project.

Read or listen to the full article here.

KPCC: Urban Trees Dying in Drought. What You Need to Know

KPCC: Urban Trees Dying in Drought. What You Need to Know

Limiting outdoor water use might be inadvertently creating a new casualty of the drought: trees.

Experts say many trees in Southern California are showing signs of drought stress or are outright dying due to lack of water.

As people stop watering lawns, many are also not watering trees, leading them to dry out and become vulnerable to disease and pests.

Losing mature trees not only hurts the urban ecosystem, it also can cause local temperatures to rise and home values to drop.

Here’s what you need to know about urban trees and the drought.

Read the full article here.

For a recommended watering schedule in Helix’s service area go here.