Helix Water District has partnered with San Diego Gas & Electric and is offering free kits that conserve water and reduce energy use, a win for your wallet and the environment.
A no-cost kit includes a hand held low-flow shower head, three faucet aerators and a LED sensor night light. These easy-to-install items maintain a high-pressure flow while reducing water usage up to 11%. When you save water, you’re also saving energy used for water-heating, which can help lower your monthly energy bill.
Why is SDG&E interested in water conservation? Because the conveyance, treatment, distribution and heating of water, and the treatment of wastewater, accounts for nearly 20 percent of the electricity and 30 percent of the non-power plant related natural gas consumed in California. Saving water saves energy.
Kits are available to SDG&E residential gas customers and are limited to one per household every ten years. To have your free kit mailed to your home visit sdge.com/waterkit. Or visit Helix’s Administration Office in La Mesa, where you can receive your kit in person after completing a pledge form.
Nestle, the largest food company in the world, came under scrutiny last year when the Palm Springs-based Desert Sun revealed that the company was piping millions of gallons of water out of the San Bernardino National Forest and exporting it across the U.S. as Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water — when its permit to do so expired in 1988. This week, voters in Oregon approved a ballot measure to prevent Nestle from tapping into a spring in the Columbia River Gorge, and here in California, the State Water Resources Control Board began investigating Nestlé’s water rights.
Outside Magazine’s new article, Scientists are Controlling the Weather, is a good introduction to the obscure topic of precipitation enhancement technologies — i.e., cloud seeding. Yes, cloud seeding. Cities, counties, utilities and ski resorts across the Southwest utilize the technology to enhance the snowpack in the Sierra, Rockies and local mountains.
Reserve your seats today for the Sustainable Landscapes Design Seminar coming to the Lakeside Community Center on June 4, 2016 from 9:00am to 12:00pm.
This free, three-hour seminar will show you how to design and install a water-efficient and watershed-friendly landscape. You will learn how to contour your property to capture rainwater and reduce water pollution caused by stormwater runoff, and key landscape design principles like how to identify, select and group plants in your landscape based on their water needs. Participants should bring a 1/4 inch scale drawing of their property to the seminar, so they can work on their specific landscaping issues and ideas, and are encouraged to read the California Friendly Landscape Training FAQs before the seminar.
Photo: Lake Shasta, California’s largest reservoir, 93 percent full on May 1st. Mount Shasta is in the background. Source: Allen Schaben
Executive Order B-37-16, issued by Governor Brown on May 9th, instructs the State Water Resources Control Board to update emergency water conservation regulations, “In recognition of the differing water supply conditions across the state.”
This is good news for the San Diego region, which has been developing new water resources and increasing water conservation for over 20 years. From 2008 to 2016, in response to drought conditions, Helix customers reduced their water use by 36 percent. Take a bow — you deserve a standing ovation.
San Diego County water agencies, including Helix, have been lobbying the State Water Resources Control Board to allow regional management of drought conditions since November, 2015. “I think they heard us,” said Helix’s general manager, Carlos Lugo. “They want to put in place a long-term approach to conservation, and the most effective way to do that is to allow and help regions put together the best mix of water resources and conservation strategies based on their location, just like we did here in San Diego.”
The State Water Resources Control Board is proposing that water agencies assume water supply conditions over the next three years mirror conditions from 2012 to 2015 and that customers conserve over the next three years at the same level they did in 2013 and 2014. Water agencies that will face a water shortage in three years must adopt a conservation level now equal to the amount of the shortage.
“We expect our conservation requirement will decrease,” said Lugo.
The State Water Resources Control Board will meet on May 18th to finalize and adopt new regulations. Click on the link below to read the comments Helix submitted to the board earlier today.
San Diego River Days 2016 is this weekend and the next — four days of exploring, discovery and volunteering along the San Diego River. There are 43 events, all free, including mountain biking, hiking, walking, fly fishing, meditation, art, photography, environmental restoration and community service, from Ocean Beach to Santa Ysabel. Clear your calendar and call a friend — this is going to be fun.
Have you ever watched A Growing Passion on KPBS? The show is co-produced, co-written and hosted by Nan Sterman, a writer, author and expert on water efficient gardening in Southern California who lives here in San Diego. You’ve probably heard Nan talking about gardening on the radio during your commute or read her stories in the San Diego Union Tribune, Sunset and Better Homes and Gardens.
“Waterwise Gardens—After the Lawn is Gone”, episode 405 of A Growing Passion, premiered on KPBS on Thursday evening and repeats today (Saturday) at 3:30pm. You can also watch it on the show’s website. Other episodes are on the website, too, along with Nan’s blog. Take a look over the weekend.
Felicia Marcus is the chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, the agency responsible for implementing Governor Brown’s executive order for a 25 percent reduction in statewide water use.
Now, based on precipitation and reservoir levels throughout the state, Marcus is deciding how much water Californians need to save through October. She will convene the State Water Resources Control Board on May 18th to lay out a plan.
Last year, 57 Helix customers provided us with water samples from their taps for lead and copper analysis. None of the results from the 57 homes were above the action levels established by the Lead and Copper Rule – 15 parts per billion for lead and 1.3 parts per million for copper. Lead and Copper Rule monitoring must be conducted every three years – our next study will be in 2018.
The Lead and Copper Rule was published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1991 to require public water systems to monitor and report the presence of lead and copper in their drinking water. If lead or copper concentrations exceed the action levels in more than 10 percent of taps sampled, the public water system must educate the public and control corrosion, by reducing the corrosivity of the water and, if applicable, replacing any lead service lines connecting customer water meters to water mains.
In fact, lead and copper levels in Helix’s water are undetectable or negligible. There are two reasons for this. First, we do not have any lead service lines. According to the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water, lead service lines like those used in Flint, and other areas of the country, are not common in California. Second, we maintain the pH and a low concentration ratio of chloride to sulfate so that our water does not corrode household plumbing and fixtures.
Look for the results from the 57 homes tested in 2015 in Helix’s upcoming consumer confidence report (water quality report). We will post the report in June on our website at hwd.com.
If You Have Concerns About Lead
If you are concerned about lead exposure in your home, note that paint, imported toys, candy and home remedies, and lead dust brought home from work are more common sources of lead than your drinking water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust are the most hazardous sources of lead for U.S. children. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978. All houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. However, it is the deterioration of this paint that causes a problem.
For information about lead in drinking water, we recommend calling Helix’s senior chemist at 619-667-6248. Additional information is available on the EPA’s website or by calling their Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.
You can also test your water. The following water quality laboratories in San Diego County work with the public and will analyze your samples.
Analytical Chemical Labs, Inc. 1123 W. Morena Blvd, San Diego 619-276-1558
EMSL Analytical, Inc. 7916 Convoy Ct, San Diego 858-499-1303 emsl.com
Enviromatrix Analytical, Inc. 4340 Viewridge Ave, Suite A, San Diego 858-560-7717 enviromatrixinc.com
Expert Chemical Analysis, Inc. 10366 Roselle St, Suite C, San Diego 858-535-9979 ecalab.com