Morning Report: San Diego Is Ignoring an Untapped Water Source - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: San Diego Is Ignoring an Untapped Water Source

A utility vault near the Mission Valley stadium site / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

For years, San Diego’s biggest priority when it comes to water has been securing its own drought-proof source of it. Regional leaders have gone to unbelievable lengths and spent billions of dollars to gain more independence over our water sourcing, whether it’s by exploring building a gigantic pipeline parallel to an existing pipeline to bring in water, removing salt from ocean water or a new project to make sewage drinkable.

That’s why it’s so curious, VOSD’s MacKenzie Elmer writes in a new story, that there’s an untapped source of groundwater that the city isn’t only ignoring, it’s going to build the Pure Water recycling plant right on top of.

The Mission Valley aquifer doesn’t produce a ton of water, but what is there is safe from potential earthquakes and sea water seeping in as a result of climate change.

“I’d put a well down there, pump it once a month and let it sit there as an insurance policy,” one hydrologist said.

But not everyone is convinced the water is safe after a gas spill years ago. And for now, the city appears to prefer building the second phase of the Pure Water project right over where the aquifer sits.

State Throws Cold Water on Pricing Scheme

Many San Diego County residents pay some of the highest water rates in the country, but thanks to a state watchdog agency, Imperial Beach and Coronado residents won’t be subject to a suspect water pricing scheme.

In the latest Environment Report, MacKenzie Elmer dives into the state’s water market and one plan in particular by a utility that serves Imperial Beach and Coronado, among others, that a state watchdog recently said hinged on faulty forecasting.

Also in the Environment Report: The big outstanding question surrounding the Trump EPA’s sudden devotion to the Tijuana sewage crisis, how SDG&E predicts which way the wind will blow and more.

7 Is an Unlucky Number for San Diego County

The county will learn Tuesday whether the latest coronavirus case rate has slid to at least seven per 100,000 residents, which would put the county back into the state’s most restrictive tier and potentially trigger business closures or other measures. 

SDSU is still the source of an ongoing outbreak – the school recorded 29 new cases, bringing its total to at least 617, the Union-Tribune reports.

Contrast that information with a missive sent out by County Supervisor Jim Desmond on Monday. 

“Enough is Enough!” Desmond wrote to supporters in an email. “This Tuesday, I will be asking my fellow Board members to allow businesses to open up, if they can operate safely and NOT to enforce the State rules.”

Side note: The U-T story also mentions that the county recorded five new community outbreaks: “Of the five, three were in restaurants, one was in a restaurant/bar and one was in a business.” Wouldn’t it be helpful to know whether these outbreaks occurred in restaurants that recently reopened indoor dining, or whether they happened in outdoor spaces, which we’ve been told is far more safe? That’s precisely why we’re suing the county for such data.

Speaking of which: “San Diego traced nearly one-third of community outbreaks to restaurants and bars, more than any other setting,” the Washington Post reported Monday.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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