MWD’s Tom Philp on California’s Water Management System
On February 22, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Executive Strategist Tom Philp penned a thought-provoking op-ed published on News Deeply. In it, Philp discusses the emerging phenomenon of atmospheric rivers, and the potential to affect quality change in California’s water management through better understanding their role in the state’s unpredictable climate.
“We in California have the most variable weather in the nation. Climatologically, we are as flaky as they come. Most of the variability in a year’s worth of weather is determined by only 5 percent of the days, and how wet they happen to be.”
To read the full article, click here.
First Quarterly Meeting & Luncheon
SCWC’s first Quarterly Luncheon of 2017, held at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency on January 27, was both an engaging and productive start to the year. With Wade Crowfoot, CEO of The Water Foundation, serving as keynote speaker, the event underscored the importance of solving California’s water supply challenges as a unified state. Drought, water quality, groundwater management, conservation and infrastructure investments affect all Californians, and Crowfoot emphasized the need to work together as we prepare for an unpredictable future. Balancing the needs of people, California’s farmland and the environment are key to sustainable and effective solutions.
Quarterly Luncheon attendees also had an opportunity to tour the Inland Empire Utilities Agency’s new advanced energy storage systems, launched in partnership with Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) in October 2016 to better integrate renewable power, reduce demand on the electric grid and lower costs.
A big thank you to the Inland Empire Utilities Agency for hosting the luncheon, and we look forward to seeing everyone on April 28 at next quarter’s luncheon, another chance to network with leaders from local government, business and water and to hear from expert speakers.
The first SCWC Quarterly Luncheon of 2017 was a great success thanks to our sponsors Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Cucamonga Valley Water District, Lewis Group Of Companies & BIA Baldy View Chapter!
BizFed January Board Meeting – Installation of New Officers
The Los Angeles County Business Federation’s January Board Meeting featured the installation of new officers who will lead BizFed’s agenda in 2017. SCWC’s Charley Wilson is a member of the organization’s Water Policy committee, along with Patty Cortez, director of community and government affairs at the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, an SCWC member agency. Thank you both for your continued commitment to our region!
Read more about BizFed and the installation here.
+++ Drought News +++
Drought Restrictions Reconsidered
On February 8, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced California’s emergency drought regulations will stay in place until at least May, the end of the traditional winter season, to better assess statewide conditions and the possibility of lifting current restrictions.
“For decades, Southern Californians have subscribed to water conscientious living and reliability investments due to the arid unpredictability of our region. Even with the wet winter season we’ve had so far, we can’t be sure what’s around the bend,” said Charley Wilson, executive director of Southern California Water Committee. “Continuing conservation and water use efficiency as a way of life is a judicious step at this point. However, it is important the State Water Resources Control Board take into account our state’s regional differences when revisiting statewide conditions following the rainy season – especially when it comes to water agencies meeting objectives via individualized plans.”
Wilson added, “This year is a good example of why the state needs to both employ additional long term efficiencies and conservation as a way of life along with fixing the state’s water delivery system so it can take advantage of wet years to plan for dry.”
Third Manual Snow Survey of the Year to Be Conducted March 1
This Wednesday, March 1, California’s Department of Water Resources will conduct its third manual snow survey of the year. On par to be one of the wettest years in California’s history, electronic readings throughout the state show significantly above-average snow-water equivalent levels for both today’s date and April 1, the annual benchmark date for measuring California’s snowpack. Statewide, snowpack average sits at 188% of normal for February 27, and 162% of average for April 1. Below are the figures by region, also available online here:
+++ California Infrastructure Updates +++
California WaterFix Project
With the release of the final EIR/EIS on California WaterFix moving the project one step closer to ultimate approval from state and federal agencies, decision-makers have begun deliberations over a likely timeline for design and construction of the project. On January 24, John Bednarski, engineering program manager of MWD briefed his board’s Special Committee on Bay Delta on the project schedule.
The project still requires a Record of Decision authorization and funding determinations from state and federal water agencies and other stakeholders in the project, after which California WaterFix will move into design, construction and commissioning phases, with an estimated overall timeframe of 16 years.
The California WaterFix project to modernize state’s water delivery system and secure water supply for 26 million Californians was included among a list of 51 priority infrastructure projects California officials submitted to the National Governors Association upon request.
To review the full list of California projects, click here.
Oroville Dam Update
Operators of the Oroville Dam have begun to shut off the main spillway and have dialed back water releases in order to clear debris that has piled up in the channel below. Additionally, the DWR has created an Independent Board of Consultants (BOC) to investigate the cause of the main spillway failure.
“First and foremost, it’s important to acknowledge the relief and gratitude in the fact that public health and human safety remained top priority during the situation at the Oroville Dam,” said Charley Wilson, executive director of Southern California Water Committee. “With that being said, it’s evident from this example alone that the bill has come due for California in the area of water infrastructure. From north to south, our state is sprawling and we can’t forget our long history of interconnectedness when it comes to water supply. To achieve ultimate reliability and safety for generations to come, we must voice support to our legislative and regulatory leaders for projects such as California WaterFix that will provide the vital updates California’s water infrastructure desperately needs.”
+++ Upcoming Events +++
Water-Energy Nexus Conference – Feb. 28 to March 1
The two-day Water-Energy Nexus Conference from February 28-March 1 will bring together some of the brightest minds in California to focus on the challenges facing water-energy efficiency programs, discuss technology advances that can drive conservation and cost-savings, and review case studies of successful joint water-energy optimization initiatives. In spite of the recent rains, California still has many rivers to cross to ensure it is optimizing its water and energy efficiency. There is a growing scarcity of water resources for energy generation, while the strains of climate change and population growth demand innovative solutions to ensure the reliability of both resources for years to come.
Speakers will include David Hochschild, commissioner of the California Energy Commission, Caroline Choi, senior vice president of Southern California Edison and Walter L. Schindler, CEO of Frost & Sullivan Investment Partners, among others.
Special 20% discount for SCWC members – enter code SCWC20 when registering: http://www.water-energy-nexus.com/register.htm
+++ Lawn Dude’s Conservation Corner +++
It’s been a rainy start to the new year and I must admit, I’ve given into some of my indulgences, wetting my whistle with all this fresh water around! With that said, after a short binge, I’ve snapped back onto the straight and narrow and am making sure I’m preparing myself for dry times to come.
As Californians, we know that the weather patterns can change as fast as they came, which is why it’s important we’re looking around corners and preparing ourselves for the next dry spell. Even though we’ve finally felt some relief, overconsuming can take its toll in the long run – trust me, I’m a recovering waterholic! So, keep those showers short, don’t hose off hardscapes and always remember my mantra, conserve, conserve, conserve!
To learn some more ways to conserve, check out my conservation pledge here! And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!