The Rancho Santa Fe Post

April Water News... From the Desk of Marlene King S.F.I.D Director, Div. 3

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March 16th Board Meeting: Declared end to Drought Response Level 1. The Board voted unanimously to end Level 1 restrictions. For the residential customer, this means that the previously VOLUNTARY Level 1 water use restrictions of irrigating no more than three days a week, before 8a.m. and after 6p.m., avoiding washing vehicles during hot conditions, and requiring that hoses used to water landscaped area must be equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle have been retracted. However, the State of California’s drought prohibitions are still in effect. A complete list of those prohibitions can be found on the SFID website under water conservation.

Lake Hodges “Overflow Conditions” Update: The significant rainfall events of February 26 and 27th resulted in the lake level rising nearly 15 feet. SFID staff met with San Dieguito Water District, the City of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority, and the result was the City of San Diego transferred 4700 Acre Feet of their water out of Lake Hodges to the Olivenhain Reservoir. The City then transferred 2500 AF out of Hodges, to Olivenhain Reservoir, to be transferred to San Vicente Dam. Moving a total of 7200 AF out of Hodges created a “hole” that now allows additional rainfall to be captured, and SFID and San Dieguito Water District have access to this newly created unused City of San Diego storage capacity. (Last month’s Water News noted the disparity between SFID’s inflow rights and storage rights, so this action was a step in the right direction for SFID.)

This transfer of water was the first time that the 1.5 billion dollar “Emergency & Carryover Storage Project” planned 25 years ago by the San Diego County Water Authority – Olivenhain Dam, pipeline and pump station; Lake Hodges pipeline and pump station; San Vicente pipeline, pump station and Dam raise - was taken out for a spin. These assets are part of the Water Authority’s long term strategy to provide six months of local water supply in the event a catastrophic event disrupted outside water supplies. This large project just won the top civil engineering award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, beating out the World Trade Center rebuild.

Salary Increase for SFID General Manager: On a 4–1 vote (Dir. King dissenting), the annual compensation of the General Manager was increased from 213,140. to 225,000. The G.M.’s salary contract was last amended in 2014. The G.M. received a bonus of 5,000. in January 2016 on a 3-2 vote of the Board; a bonus is not included in calculating an employee’s pension payout.

February’s Water Usage: The amount of water sold in February is the lowest amount since records were kept by the District. (January 2017 had been the previous low month, until this month.) February 2017 usage, compared to February 2013 baseline year, resulted in a 51% water reduction. The cumulative savings from June 2016 to February 2017 stand at 18%.

Lake Oroville Spillway Damage Update: It has recently been revealed that the California Department of Water Resources has been burning through 4.7 million dollars/day for repairs to the Oroville spillway. The report from experts hired by DWR, by order of FERC, revealed troubling concerns about the thickness of the concrete spillway, and the underlying earth support. The Sacramento Bee, 3/23/17, reported that “DWR built the spillway on an uneven mountainside and in some spots used compacted clay to fill in the depressions in the rock foundation beneath the 12 inch thick concrete spillway. The consultants described finding evidence of a number of repair instances in which portions of the chute were cut away in order to ‘fill voids beneath the concrete’”.