San Diego secures use of Imperial Valley water through 2047

San Diego secures use of Imperial Valley water through 2047

Photo: Imperial Valley / New York Times

In 2003, the Imperial Irrigation District agreed to reduce agricultural water use in the Imperial Valley through the year 2047 and transfer the saved water to the San Diego County Water Authority to meet the needs of the San Diego region.

This water transfer agreement now provides 20 percent of the San Diego region’s water supply. In 2021, the amount of water transferred will reach 200,000 acre feet per year, enough water for more than 400,000 homes.

How does this actually work? Imperial Irrigation District doesn’t see the water it saves. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California pulls the water out of the Colorado River at Lake Havasu and transports it through their 250-mile long Colorado River Aqueduct to the San Diego Aqueduct.

There was, however, an issue. Even though Imperial Irrigation District agreed to share its water through 2047, the agreement with Metropolitan to transport the water ended in 2037.

Last week, the Water Authority’s Board of Directors put the issue to rest, voting unanimously to extend their agreement with Metropolitan to deliver the Imperial Irrigation District’s saved water through 2047. Now, the water from the Imperial Valley and the means to transport it to San Diego are both locked in — a big step forward in securing the long-term reliability of the San Diego region’s water supply.

Learn More

Read the Water Authority’s Media Release

Read the Water Authority’s Summary of the Agreement

 

The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge Returns

The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge Returns

Image: satellite image taken December 3, 2017 shows high pressure ridge over the western U.S.

The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, a ridge of high pressure over the Western U.S., is back and is once again preventing winter storms from reaching California. Scientists studying the ridge recently announced three new findings:

  • That the formation of the ridge coincides with warm water temperatures in the western Pacific Ocean
  • That the ridge forms independently of El Nino and La Nina conditions
  • That the ridge is responsible not just for warm, dry winters in the western U.S., but also the the cold, wet weather occurring simultaneously in the eastern U.S.

The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge remained in place throughout the winters of 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16, producing one of the most severe droughts on record in California.

Today’s post, from the Weather West blog, discusses these new findings:

New insights into the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge and North American Winter Dipole

 

Colorado is a lot like California

Colorado is a lot like California

Photo: Mt. Evans Scenic Byway in Colorado, the highest paved road in North America. (CBS Denver)

In California, 70 percent of the water is in the northern half of the state and 70 percent of the people live in the southern half.

In Colorado, 80 percent of the water is west of the Continental Divide and 80 percent of the people live on the eastern side.

Both states built massive engineering projects decades ago to move the water where it was needed. Today, both states face opposition to plans to improve their water storage capacity and conveyance systems.

Read Colorado River Journey: The Past and Future of Water Use

 

How do we stop wildfires?

How do we stop wildfires?

It’s too soon to know what caused multiple conflagrations spreading across Northern California’s wine country, but elsewhere in the state dead and dying trees have been the subject of much concern. The five-year drought in California killed more than 102 million trees on national forest lands. That is a gigantic problem in itself that will lead to huge wildfire risks in the future. new report by the Public Policy Institute of California recommends changes in state law and new contracting practices, and changes in public attitudes.

Read Water Deeply’s interview of the Report’s Author

Read the Report

Photo: California State Association of Counties

Scripps scientists forecast future weather

Scripps scientists forecast future weather

Precipitation in California, especially Southern California, is already more variable from year to year than anywhere else in the U.S, which makes things difficult for water utilities.

“It rarely happens that we get near-average rainfall for a year, we typically get deficient rainfall or excessive rainfall,” says Alexander Gershunov, a research meteorologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  Scripps recently published studies investigating California’s current and future weather, and the forecast is even greater variability.

Read About California’s Future Weather

 

Photos — construction continues on Oroville Dam spillway

Photos — construction continues on Oroville Dam spillway

From the California Department of Water Resources —

Photo Above:
Crews work on structural rebar panels for the new side walls on the lower chute of the Lake Oroville flood control spillway in Butte County, California.

Photo Below:
The lower chute of the Lake Oroville flood control spillway. Construction crews are rebuilding the floor and the side walls of the chute.

Photo Below:
Sheena Williams of Kiewit Infrastructure looks for nicks in the coating on the rebar before structural concrete is poured into a panel on the lower chute of the Lake Oroville flood control spillway.

Coalition forms to protect California’s salmon

Coalition forms to protect California’s salmon

From the San Francisco Chronicle — A coalition of government agencies and advocates for sustainable fisheries came together Tuesday to launch a long-term effort to save California’s beleaguered salmon populations in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems.

Read the Story

Legislature to vote on a new tax on drinking water

Legislature to vote on a new tax on drinking water

On Friday, California’s Senate Appropriation Committee in Sacramento will vote on Senate Bill 623, which would establish a state tax on drinking water. The purpose of the bill is to generate funds over the next 15 years to clean up contaminated groundwater and improve faulty water systems in rural areas throughout the state.

The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), of which Helix is a member, opposes the bill.

Read The Mercury News’ “First-ever water tax proposed to tackle unsafe drinking water in California”

Watch ACWA’s Video

Throwback Thursday: The San Diego Flume

Throwback Thursday: The San Diego Flume

Remember Ken Kramer’s About San Diego series on KPBS?

KPBS general manager Tom Karlo told the San Diego Union Tribune in 2015, when Kramer retired, “What made his work special is he truly wanted the community to know about the richness and history of all of San Diego. He talked about places they know, and he talked about places that, after they heard him, they wanted to go see.”

Above all else, Kramer was known as a storyteller, and nobody tells the story of the San Diego Flume better than he did. The flume — which marks the beginning of Helix Water District’s long history — brought fresh water from the mountains to urban San Diego for the first time. Today, we still go to the mountains for fresh water — the Rockies, Sierra and our local Cuyamacas.

Enjoy the video — courtesy of KPBS.

Poll shows high levels of confidence in region’s water supply

Poll shows high levels of confidence in region’s water supply

Photo:  Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant

The results of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 2017 public opinion poll are in, and after one of the most severe droughts in California’s history, 83 percent of respondents rated the San Diego region’s water supply as very or somewhat reliable, and 79 percent support the Water Authority’s supply diversification plan, which includes Colorado River water transfers, water-use efficiency and the development of new local water resources, like the construction of the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant.

The Water Authority polled 1,001 adults in San Diego County from May 3 to May 25, approximately a month after Governor Jerry Brown ended the statewide drought emergency he declared in 2014. The Water Authority began conducting public opinion research more than 17 years ago to determine local residents’ knowledge and attitudes regarding water issues.

“Coming out of this most recent drought that challenged so many communities across the state, it’s great to see that the public feels more secure about our region’s water supply reliability than before,” said Mark Muir, chair of the Water Authority’s Board.

“Our residents continue to support supply diversification, are willing to continue to use water efficiently no matter the weather, and recognize the need to ensure ongoing water security for our region’s 3.3 million people and $222 billion economy.”

As state regulators develop a new long-term, statewide policy for regulating water use, poll respondents strongly support taking a balanced approach to water management in California. Two-thirds — 66 percent — indicated the best way for the state to meet future water needs is to both save water and make investments in local supplies. Only 28 percent said the best strategy is to focus principally on saving water.

San Diego County residents also maintain a widespread belief in the need to continue using water efficiently. An overwhelming majority of poll respondents – 92 percent – predicted they will use less or about the same amount of water in 2017 as they did the year before. Only 5 percent predicted they will use more. In addition, 81 percent said water-use efficiency is a civic duty.

What East County Respondents Said

77%

of East County residents feel that tap water is a good or excellent value after learning that it only costs around one cent per gallon.

82%

of East County residents feel that San Diego County’s water supply is very or somewhat reliable.

76%

of East County residents support the Water Authority’s plan to diversify the region’s water resources.

83%

of East County residents agree that a reliable water supply for the region is essential for a healthy economy.

90%

of East County residents said they will use less or about the same amount water in 2017 as they used in 2016.

74%

of East County residents said they are very willing or would consider replacing their turf with a low water use landscape.

Probe Research conducted the 2017 survey by a random telephone sample of 500 respondents (including 150 respondents who only use a mobile phone), and 501 online respondents chosen from a custom panel of San Diego County residents who have agreed to participate in online surveys. All participants were at least 18 years old and had lived in the county for at least one year.

The full results of the 2017 poll and prior polls are available at www.sdcwa.org/public-opinion-research.

Our annual water quality report is on our website

Our annual water quality report is on our website

We posted Helix’s annual water quality report on our website. There are five ways you can access it:

Also known as consumer confidence report, the water quality report contains important information about the source and quality of customers’ drinking water. As in years past, district tap water met all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state drinking water health standards.

To speak to someone about the report or to have a paper copy of the report mailed to your home, call (619) 466-0585.

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