Understanding San Diego Water – A Rise San Diego Chat

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August 19, 2016 by Omar Passons

Water Authority

On August 19, 2016, Rise San Diego held one of its breakfast chats to focus on one issue everyone agrees is extremely important…water! Over the next few days I will add questions, answers, and presentation clips from the breakfast panel so that anyone who missed out but wants more information can find it in one easy place.  Until then, here are some important pieces of information, ranging from what happened in Flint, Michigan to how to save in San Diego.  Here goes…The panel included three professionals with a ton of expertise on the subject of water. Maureen Stapleton of the San Diego County Water Authority is able to provide a tremendous and straight forward view of the facts about the San Diego region’s water. Vincent Mudd, a local businessman and long-time civic leader, has served on the Water Authority’s board and is intimately familiar both with how San Diegans are affected by state laws and water rate impacts.  Alejandra Gavaldon is a water policy expert for Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Her understanding of the city’s recycled water “Pure Water Program” and efforts to help San Diegans conserve presents a valuable vantage point for anyone trying to understand what our local government is doing to keep our drinking water safe.

A few background items

Because Rise San Diego focuses on urban and working class communities and their involvement in civic affairs and key issues, an important question the panel will address is why San Diego’s water supply and our investments mean we have essentially zero chance of being like Flint or Fresno.

What happened in Flint? An NPR story breaks it down here

More recently, what happened in Northeast Fresno? A bit of information here

Found this slide on SD Coastkeeper Site - here

Found this slide on SD Coastkeeper Site – here

Conservation Tips

There is no question that the most cost effective and environmentally friendly way to address water supply needs is to conserve water.  This doesn’t mean that conservation is the only option, but it is a great first start. I stumbled on a few quality sources to help regular people save money while saving water

You can learn quick tips to save water (and money) from several places. My favorite was:

Water Smart

Two others with good information are:

Get Involved – Citizens Water Academy

As it turns out, the Water Authority has taken the step of creating a program specifically designed to help people understand how our water works.

If you’d like to take part in a Citizens Water Academy to learn more firsthand about our region’s water, visit the site for details.


Pure Water Program – City of San Diego

San Diego is recycling water to increase supply. This option is drought-proof and cleaner than what we get from the Colorado River. Everything you could want to know is on the Pure Water Program site.


Career Opportunities

One of the key things about the world of water is that the physical construction needs – infrastructure to hold, clean and transport water – are increasing dramatically.  This means that there are many great-paying career options – even for those who do not have 4-year college degrees – in the water industry.  I’ll be posting tips received from the panelists and links to resources for businesses who want to win contracts in the coming days.


Presentation Slides

–This is a placeholder for the presentation slides that will be added after the Rise Breakfast–

Next Steps for Water

There’s no avoiding that southern California has to be thoughtful about our water use.  As with most things, water shortages, rate increases, and pollutants often hit poor and communities of color harder than those that are more affluent.  For this reason, it is critically important that voters and residents in these communities ask tough questions, get involved in the civic process, and understand the realities so that all votes in all communities matter.

The Rise breakfast may not focus as much on the huge infrastructure challenges – and career opportunities

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