May 23 2014
Politics and Water Do Not Mix – The Dark Side
Following is an excerpt from the San Diego County Grand Jurys Report filed May 10, 2014. The entire text of the report, with the same title, can be found at http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/grandjury/reports/2013-2014/PoliticsWaterDontMix. pdf
Where is the UT Watchdog? The San Diego UT has not published any of this, and yet the San Diego City Council has reacted by approving one million dollars to fund a public relations campaign to promote recycled water, when recent polls say seventy percent of the water users already approve of potable recycling.
FACTS AND FINDINGS
Fact: Desalination will make a substantial difference to San Diegos local water supply.
Finding 01: Part of the future of San Diegos local supply of water depends on desalination of ocean water.
Fact: The purified water from the NCWRP drinking water passed quality standards set forth bythe California Department of Public Health.
Fact: The complete findings and results of the project were documented in a report and adopted by the City Council.
Fact: The Advanced Water Purification Facility has been funded for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 and is estimated to cost $720,000.
Finding 02: Millions were spent to build a small-scale demonstration plant to purify water; it proved the efficacy and safety of potable water reuse.
Fact: Conservation is a necessity for all San Diego County water districts.
Finding 03: The practice of conservation reduces the amount of water used, but also always increases rates because infrastructure to deliver the water will have to cost more in order to make up for revenue lost due to lower amounts of water being used.
Fact: The rainfall in San Diego amounts to just over the desert threshold.
Fact: San Diego is the third driest large city in the United States.
Finding 04: Using water reserves during years when rainfall is below normal instead of purchasing water from MWD only delays price hikes.
Fact: Approximately 30,000 acre feet of recycled water are beneficially reused within the Water Authority’s service area annually.
Fact: There are a few local firms that have dual-plumbed their buildings to allow the use of recycled water.
Finding 05: Every gallon of recycled water used saves a gallon of drinking water
Fact: Today imported water comprises 85percent of our water supply; 53 percent of that amount is purchased from MWD. Fact: Water rates were kept artificially low in 2012 and 2013 as a political decision to gain favor from ratepayers.
Finding 06: San Diegans are now facing a nearly 15 percent increase in water rates to cover losses incurred during 2012 and 2013.
The 2013-2014 San Diego Grand Jury recommends that the San Diego Mayor and San Diego City Council:
14-73: Stop funding NCWRP and move on to build full-size plants. 14-74: Establish realistic timelines based on likely funds available to move forward with water projects.
14-75: Support the need for Capital Improvement Projects designated for water management.
14-76: All new construction should include dual plumbing so recycled water can be used as it becomes available in their area.
14-77: Establish policy that requires water rates go up to cover the new rate when the cost of water purchased from MWD goes up. The 2013-2014 San Diego Grand Jury recommends that the San Diego County Water Authority:
14-78: Consider an economic reward for conservation measures taken by ratepayers. 14-79: Be more transparent in their explanations of how and why projects are prioritized and funded.
REQUIREMENTS AND INSTRUCTIONS
The California Penal Code §933(c) requires any public agency which the Grand Jury has reviewed, and about which it has issued a final report, to comment to the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court on the findings and recommendations pertaining to matters under the control of the agency. Such comment shall be made no later than 90 days after the Grand Jury publishes its report (filed with the Clerk of the Court); except that in the case of a report containing findings and recommendations pertaining to a department or agency headed by an elected County official (e.g. District Attorney, Sheriff, etc.), such comment shall be made within 60 days to the Presiding Judge with an information copy sent to the Board of Supervisors. [See the report for the balance of the Requirements and Instructions]
About Alumni at the University of Montana