January 19, 2017 Board Meeting: discussion focused on two issues – “what if” scenarios were Lake Hodges to spill, and the status of Gov. Brown’s Executive Order B-37-16 – “Making Water Conservation a Way of Life”.
The Jan. 26, 2017 edition of the Rancho Santa Fe Review reported on S.F.I.D. Board discussion with an article entitled, “Rarely seen spill could be coming to Lake Hodges dam”. Lake Hodges, completely full, holds approximately 30,000 acre feet of water; S.F.I.D. holds water rights to approximately 5550 of those acre feet. District staff and San Diego County Water Authority staff have been in talks for over a year to hammer out an agreement that would enable parties to move and sell water when Lake Hodges is at overflow conditions to prevent excess water from eventually being “lost” to the ocean. “What if” scenarios are complicated, involve a lot of moving parts and cooperation between many agencies, but are a tribute to local water staffs continuing to work toward a document that could capture a good percentage of Hodges spillage, moving it through San Diego County Water Authority aqueducts to parties who want to purchase the excess flow. The capture and sale of excess Hodges flow is particularly challenging because the upstream flow into Lake Hodges is categorized as an impaired water quality, prior to treatment.
MAKING WATER CONSERVATION A WAY OF LIFE:
S.F.I.D. analyst, Jessica Parks, gave an update of how the Governor’s order is winding its way through State bureaucracy. The S.F.I.D. website recently posted several letters sent by the District to State agencies receiving comments on the Executive Order. (These letters can be accessed by clicking onto the S.F.I.D. website, and looking on the right side of the face page under “News”.) As I mentioned last month, the Executive Order is soon to move from Executive Agencies to our State Legislature, where water agencies are hopeful elected officials will chip away at the current “one size fits all” approach to an approach which, at least for San Diego County, recognizes the billions of dollars of infrastructure paid for by San Diego citizens to ensure water supplies for our region.
The January 26, 2017 meeting of the San Diego County Water Authority found agency members declaring an end to the drought in San Diego County. The following link is to the posted press release announcing this action.
At the same meeting, the Water Authority voted to sponsor a legislative proposal for a stakeholder workgroup. This group would function through the State Dept. of Water Resources to establish long-term water use efficiency standards.
State Senator Joel Anderson, 38th Senate District - which includes Fairbanks Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe - on 12/19/16 sent a strong, clear letter to the Dept. of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board regarding Gov. Brown’s Executive Order. The following two paragraphs are from Sen. Anderson’s letter:
“There are also serious environmental and health concerns associated with discrediting resilient and sustainable supplies in this plan. Many of my constituents will have to continue letting their landscapes die, including trees, resulting in increased fuel for fires, decreased urban habitat, increased solar radiation, decreased CO2 absorption, and an increase in dust in our neighborhoods and waterways. Additionally, limiting recycled water use as the proposed regulations do will likely result in an increase in ocean discharge of water that has beneficial use.
My constituents and I are deeply concerned that adopting these regulations will be devastating to the economy, could strand billions of dollars that Californians have invested in local supply development, could hamper the development of future local, sustainable supplies, and could even interfere with existing take-or-pay contractual water agreements.”
…Sen. Joel Anderson, 38th Senate District
December 2016 Water Usage Down: S.F.I.D. customers used 29% less water, compared to December 2013 amounts. The cumulative savings for the period of June 2015 through December 2016 stands at 25%. The cumulative savings for June 2016 through December 2016 comes in at 15%.