Aug 28 2014
The old adage, “We don’t miss the water ’till the well goes dry” is
happening in California.
“Hundreds of rural San Joaquin River Valley residents no longer can get
drinking water from their home faucets because California’s extreme drought
has dried up their individual wells..” Buried on page A24 of the UT San
Diego dated August 24, 2014, this article will escape being read by many.
The headline says “Drought Dries Up Hundreds of San Joaquin Valley Wells”.
“It’s hard,” she told the Sacramento Bee. “I can’t shower the children like
I used to.” Farmworker Oiiva Sanchez said she still gets a trickle from her
tap, but dirt started coming out with the water about a week ago.”
Before the advent of high tech gas monitoring equipment, coal miners used to
carry a caged canary down into the lower reaches of the mines. If the canary
keeled over, it was time to get out. It’s easy to dismiss the plight of a
few farmworkers who live in homes connected to shallow wells for potable
water. But not so fast. Aren’t they at least a little like the canary in
the coal mines? Just how far away are we from the experience that Oliva
Sanchez had when she tried to get water out of her faucet?
With unregulated over-pumping of our aquifers, we are seeing vast changes in
the geology of the Central Valley. Land is sinking as the water is
withdrawn. There are plans to recharge the aquifers, but hold on. It’s not
that simple. Hydrologists report when water is withdrawn the space the water
once occupied is gone also. And this was water placed there hundreds, maybe
even millions of years ago. It’s not like draining and refilling a water
Posted May 5, 2014, ALPINE, Calif. – Thousands of rural San Diego County
residents are on the verge of losing their primary source of water.
Interestingly, water pumped from the aquifers around the Alpine area is used in
homes and businesses and then carried by sewage transmission lines nearly 40
miles to the Pt. Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant. They are partially treated and
then dumped into the ocean. Think about it. We suck the water out of the
ground on the eastern edge of San Diego County and then dump it into the
ocean. Is there something wrong with this picture?
Alpine also gets its water from Padre Dam. Like all San Diego Region water,
it originates in the State Water Project and the Colorado River. On the
plus side, Padre Dam produces two million gallons of recycled water a day at
our Water Recycling Facility. Our recycled water provides irrigation water
throughout Santee and provides the water that fills Santee lakes.
But the Pt Loma WWTP dumps over two hundred million gallons per day into the
ocean. If that water was treated and recirculated back into the San Vicente
Dam, the San Diego Region would come closer to water independence. And some
of that water could be routed to recharge the aquifer under Alpine.
Unfortunately until there is an Oliva Sanchez in the City of San Diego who
can’t get water out of the faucet, little is likely to happen, and by that
time it may be too late.
By Milt Burgess • Blog • 0 • Tags: augmentation, California Aqueduct, Colorado River, conservation, El Nino, La Nina, potable, precipitation, purification, purple pipe, SDCWA, State Water Project, water rate hike, water Storage