Sep 13 2014
Jim Madaffer’s op-ed in the 9/13/2014 UT San Diego is a step in the right direction, but fails to point out that the $7 billion dollar water bond has only a miniscule (comparatively) amount for wastewater recycling. The lion’s share of the bond issue to be voted on in November is for additional water storage. This bond issue has absolutely nothing in it to relieve the current drought. It is all future work. What is even more deceptive is the fact that even if the San Diego area successfully competes for the limited funds and wins a grant, the actual construction completion is more than fifteen years into the future, in 2030.
Mr. Madaffer writes that when that happens, indirect potable recycling (IPR) will provide a third of San Diego’s water needs. Wrong! Currently the San Diego County Water Authority imports over 500,000 acre-feet of water from the Sacramento-Joaquin Delta and the Colorado River through the Metropolitan Water District. A third would be 165,000 acre-feet. All of the available planning so far is to treat only 88,000 acre-feet of the Pt Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant effluent.
At current San Diego population growth rates, by 2030 the area will be home to a population that will be consuming 700,000 acre-feet, so the IPR plans will not even keep up with current demands. Rather than lauding the fact that San Diego is going after another waiver because of noncompliance with the 1972 Clean Water Act, Mr. Madaffer should use his considerable ability to get many column inches into the press to push for faster and more comprehensive solutions to the critical needs San Diego has for approaching water independence.
The fact that prior City Councils have made serious blunders about San Diego’s sustainable water resources makes it even more imperative that current leaders expedite and accelerate the design and construction of IPR facilities. While San Diego was playing fast and loose with pension funds, Orange County was moving ahead with IPR and now holds a lead in the reliability of their water systems.
No question the Carlsbad desal plant is helpful, but it will only account for less than eight percent of the area’s water needs. A literal drop in the bucket.
As the current drought deepens, the reservoirs continue to drop below historic lows, and landscaping withers and turns brown, it’s not going to be possible to run next door to Orange County and “borrow” water from a neighbor who did the hard work of preparing for their water needs. Mr. Madaffer, screw up you courage and go after those who can provide sustainable water systems for the San Diego area!
By Milt Burgess • Blog • 0 • Tags: augmentation, California Aqueduct, Colorado River, conservation, dry centuries, El Nino, La Nina, MWD, potable, precipitation, purple pipe, SDCWA, State Water Project, water rate hike