There may be more in the sewage-tainted water that regularly spills over the border from Tijuana than many San Diegans realize. The cross-border pollution also contains potentially dangerous industrial and agricultural chemicals, according to a draft report compiled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that was circulated to officials throughout the region on Wednesday.
In a major shift in one of the largest proposed public works projects in state history, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced he does not support former Gov. Jerry Brown’s $19 billion plan to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water from the north to the south. “Let me be direct about where I stand,” Newsom said. “I do not support the twin tunnels. But we can build on the important work that’s already been done. That’s why I do support a single tunnel.”
Connie Bakken opened her bedroom window Sunday morning and didn’t quite believe her eyes. Bakken lives in a Rancho Bernardo home that overlooks a creek just west of Matinal Circle. What she saw – the creek where she loves to watch turtles and crabs live naturally turn into a deep, unnatural purple.
Back in 2015, the city of San Diego expected it would get about a third of its drinking water from recycled sewage within 20 years and could do so for about $3 billion in construction costs. Now, the city is looking to spend no less than $4.8 billion and perhaps as much as $9 billion on the project, according to city financial documents, including previously undisclosed internal estimates from the Public Utilities Department.
Just over half the city’s infrastructure needs are in the city’s Public Utilities Department, which is responsible for sewage, water and the city’s ambitious water recycling program, Pure Water. The city expects to have all the money it needs in those areas because they are funded by water and sewer rates. The picture is far less rosy for infrastructure that has less reliable revenue sources. The city is short $719.8 million for stormwater infrastructure — by far the biggest unfunded capital need in the city.
A notice published recently in the Federal Register is not sitting well with Imperial Irrigation District. That notice, submitted by the Department of Interior through the Bureau of Reclamation and published on Feb. 1, calls recommendations from the governors of the seven Colorado River Basin state for protective actions the Department of Interior should take in the absence of a completed drought contingency plan.
San Diego County has agreed to pay nearly $700,000 for a pipeline rupture that dumped raw sewage into a San Diego River tributary. The spill sent about 760,000 gallons of sewage into Los Coches Creek in February and March 2017, violating the federal Clean Water Act, among other state and federal rules.
A major deadline just passed without unanimous agreement among Western states over the future of the Colorado River, so the federal government is one step closer to stepping in on the dwindling river that provides water for 1-in-8 Americans. The path forward has become murkier for the drought-stricken region now in its 19th year of low water levels after a January 31 deadline failed to garner signed agreements from Arizona and California.
San Diego is in the midst of spending roughly $3 billion on a massive new water treatment system, but city officials can’t or won’t tell customers how that will affect their water bills. New water recycling plants will eventually purify enough sewage to provide a third of the city’s drinking water. In December, Voice of San Diego asked the city to estimate how much customers’ bills will increase because of the Pure Water project. The city, after weeks of delay, finally declined last week to offer any estimate because “there is no simple calculation” they could perform.
[Lars] Mitchell, 52, a contractor, has succinctly hit upon twin facts that have driven San Diego County water policy for 70 years: the region does not own most of its water supply, and water is often a zero-sum business — for every winner there must be a loser.
When the San Vicente Dam opened in 1943, engineers were already thinking about how to make it higher — a vision celebrated Wednesday by many who came to dedicate a new version of the venerable structure that’s 117 feet taller than the original.
The Rainbow Municipal Water District, which is the focus of a takeover bid by the larger Fallbrook Public Utilities District (FPUD), has filed a claim against FPUD saying its attempt to absorb Rainbow constitutes a breach of contract.
When the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted a new Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems Permit last year, there was great alarm on the part of local governments, real estate developers and others affected by it.
“The crews are building what boosters say represents California’s best hope for a drought-proof water supply: the largest ocean desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. The $1 billion project will provide 50 million gallons of drinking water a day for San Diego County when it opens in 2016.”
“San Diego will spend $1 million during the next two years educating the public about the city’s plan to recycle treated sewage into drinking water. The money, which the City Council approved on Tuesday, will help San Diego move forward with plans to create a drought-proof water supply that would decrease reliance on expensive imported water.”
“The weekend before nine wildfires erupted in the San Diego area, scores of state firefighters were sent along with engines and aircraft to the region – knowing that the forecast of a heat wave and gusty winds was setting the stage for a tinderbox.”
“Brush fires broke out Wednesday in more than half a dozen spots in northern San Diego County and spread at a dangerous pace as hot, dry, erratic winds, backed by record temperatures, raked Southern California for a second day.”