The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Water News: Water Supply Conditions; What to Expect for 2018

January 18, 2018 Board Meeting: The January meeting had a rather light agenda. An S.F.I.D. employee, Nicholas Isabell, recognized by his fellow employees as the 2018 employee of the year, was presented with his 10-Year Service Award. The Board discussed the need to schedule a monthly "extra" day for the Board to meet throughout 2018 for planning workshops to address the upcoming Cost of Service Study and Strategic Business Plan updates. As of this writing, the Board has yet to be polled about prospective dates for these additional monthly meetings.

State-wide water supply conditions: The initial show survey, carried out on January 3, 2018, noted the state's snow pack was 24% of normal. Northern Sierra precipitation is 71% of the past fifty year average. Of greatest concern is the Upper Colorado River Basin's precipitation at 59% of average, with the snow water equivalent 64% of median. Locally, Lake Hodges was 54.6% of capacity, with unusual demands in December 2017 that were 40% higher than December 2016. NOAA three-month outlook precipitation shows a dry three months with temperatures higher than normal.

Customers of S.F.I.D. who keep track of their historical water usage, and have not significantly changed their landscape, would probably note that water usage in December 2017 was the highest in decades. No rain and unusually high temperatures continued the trend of unusually high water usage for a winter month. Despite the previous statistics, the San Diego Water Authority projects that 2018 water demands by local agencies will be met, due to last year's high rainfall in Northern California that helped to top up reservoirs. Statewide, reservoirs are at 108% of average. Those of you who enjoy keeping up with scientific articles on California's water/weather conditions probably noticed an uptick in articles about whether California is entering another drought phase…particularly the southern part of our State.

December 2017 District water usage: December clocked in at a highly unusual 351 r-gpcd (residential gallons-per-capita-per-day).

Calling all 4th - 8th graders: The San Diego branch of the California Special Districts Association is awarding two $800 grants - to cover the cost of up to two buses to transport students - to classmates who write a letter explaining why and how a Special District field trip would benefit them. There are five potential trip destinations: CSA #135 Safety Group (Palomar Mountain fire suppression unit); Santa Fe Irrigation District: Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon; Olivenhain Water District in Encinitas and the San Miguel Fire District in Spring Valley. Applications must be time-stamped no later than 9:00 PM on Friday, March 16, 2018. Contact S.F.I.D. for grant program details. 756-2424.

Could you use another 2018 calendar? The North County Water Agencies' 2018 "Be Water Smart" winning entries calendar is still available at S.F.I.D. offices. The calendar features charming water savings drawings by North County grammar students. September 2018's page features three winners who just happen to all reside in my Division 3, with two of the three residing in Fairbanks Ranch. Isabella Costa won first place, along with Catherine Camberos and Isabel Marie Bartolo. It is always instructive to see how young people frame the "save water" message.

State Water Resources Control Board moves toward finalizing Wasteful Water Use Practices: The State Board has extended the public comment period another 15 days, from January 31st to noon, February 14, 2018. The following link provides a red-lined copy of the regulations, with links for providing comments. Of note is the proposed language change for how much rainfall would trigger the requirement to turn off outside irrigation for two days: originally the term "measurable rainfall" was used, with current red-lined language changed to ¼ inch.

You can download the Notice of 15-day Proposed Regulatory Action HERE.