Ry Rivard

Ry Rivard is a reporter for Voice of San Diego. He writes about water and power. You can reach him at ry.rivard@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5665.

The hepatitis A outbreak has renewed interest in the bacteria-filled San Diego River. The county has called downtown a “fecally contaminated environment.” A congressman has sounded the alarm about local waterways. And an image problem has arisen again, like in the 1980s when there so much sewage running into Mission Bay its beaches were closed a quarter of the time.

The fight between the Metropolitan Water District and the San Diego County Water Authority has eaten up countless time and cost water customers across Southern California tens of millions of dollars. The latest twist has led some smaller local agencies that are part of the Water Authority to rebel against it.

Clear the Air is a group formed to question the city’s attempt to enter the energy market. Some of its members work for SDG&E or its parent company, Sempra. Groups on both sides of the debate are mobilizing supporters who are, to varying degrees, open about their economic interests.

For years, San Diego water officials argued the region’s major supplier of water, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, charges too much to deliver water to San Diego from the Colorado River. On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court declined to take up the case, leaving a lower court ruling siding with Metropolitan in place.

It’s fair to say that public power agencies are taking the state by storm. They are known as community choice aggregators, or CCAs – and San Diego is considering creating one. But expect a series of hurdles that could stall, undermine or kill its plans.

The ethics office within the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California was created to help temper the long feud between Met and the San Diego County Water Authority. Now it’s become another tool in the fight. Metropolitan’s board may vote to fire its ethics officer after she appeared to side with the Water Authority in two recent investigations.

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