Dec 30 2013
It is the year 2024. The weather pattern has not changed since 2014 over Southern California with a dome of high pressure over the Southland steering moisture-laden fronts north and east. Rainfall in San Diego again recorded less than six inches in 2023. Average precipitation over the last ten years is 6.5 inches.
The San Diego “River” is now a wetland that stretches for more than 15 miles up through San Diego County. It long ago ceased to flow. Longtime residents, who can recall water lapping at the shoreline around “Lake” Hodges are battling dust control issues.
In December 2013, the San Diego UT reported 2013 was the driest in decades. But sadly the same failed public water policies continued. Recycling wastewater was given the same lip service year after year. Less than courageous pols currying the favor of voters withered at the thought of raising water rates to pay for the necessary infrastructure for IPR or DPR recycling.
And now the hand-wringing begins with fingers pointed at each other. The Colorado River, stressed beyond its limits, failed to deliver enough for the seven states relying on it.
The courts have curtailed delivery of water from the State Water Project due to land subsidence along that major arterial water way. Every day new lawsuits are filed by MWD’s water district customers. And Los Angeles is exercising the terms of its contract with SDCWA to reduce flows to San Diego.
With the Carlsbad desal plant running at full capacity, water rates from that plant have quadrupled despite mounting public resistance. And yet that plant is supplying less than five percent of the water needed. With few water restrictions the population has continued to expand.
Due to the lack of a reliable water source, the Department of Defense has moved Navy facilities to San Francisco and Seattle. Their limited desal plants are not sufficient to supply the demand for fresh water.
Industry started moving out five years ago when it became apparent political leaders were sitting on their hands. Even at this critical time, the Point Loma Sewage Treatment Plant is still dumping 240 million gallons a day into the ocean. Recycling is still being studied.
What was an anomaly just ten years ago when Lake Morena was at 13%, all of the area reservoirs are below their critical capacities.
A dismal unavoidable future? Not if we take the steps now to get water-smart and water-independent. Think about it.