February 10, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - “The City of San Diego has begun drawing water out of Lake Morena …Shouldn’t a reservoir that is at just 5.4% of its capacity point strongly to a need for immediate and drastic action?” --Coastkeepers
Coastkeepers, a San Diego based group addressing water issues, is speaking out on the draining of Lake Morena.
Shortly before the Governor declared an emergency state of drought in California, a question of supply arose. As we’ve reported, the City of San Diego has begun drawing water out of Lake Morena for water supply, while the County, which runs the public park surrounding Morena, is opposed to the drawdown because it claims less water in the reservoir means harm to the environment and fewer recreational opportunities.
So who is right? The City? The County?
Trick question, because there is no right or wrong answer, Coastkeeper says. Lake Morena is a reservoir. This is one of the safeguards our region has against drought. And yet, as of January 27, 2014, Lake Morena is only 5.4% full, at a depth of 91 feet, out of 157 possible, so the limit to which this reservoir should be drawn seems pretty close. The Lake Morena situation shows just how complex water issues are in San Diego County.
For starters, California just had its driest year ever on record and the Governor declared a drought emergency. So water providers look to our storage reservoirs to supply our needs.
Shouldn't a reservoir that is at just 5.4% its capacity point strongly to a need for immediate and drastic action, Coastkeepers asks?
The group issued criticism of San Diego’s water agencies and called for immediate conservation.
The governor called for voluntary 20% reductions and is considering mandatory restrictions, Coastkeepers notes. The Metropolitan Water District doubled its conservation budget to $40 million. But our County Water Authority has done nothing. “It may be true that we have enough water to last the year, but what of the future?” Coastkeepers asks. “And what about the fact that most of our water comes from Northern California and the Colorado River, both of which are under dire strain? We must all voluntarily conserve now, even if the Water Authority won't help us, Coastkeepers concudes.
Second, Coastkeepers calls for a long-range plan. The San Diego County Water Authority is working on developing a long-range water supply plan for our area, though in Coastkeepers’ view, that plan falls far short of being a usable document to lead us into a more sustainable water future. The Plan fails to promote recycling and conservation as its top priority.
If we want to help alleviate situations like Lake Morena in the future, we should encourage the County to work with the cities of our area and stakeholders (such as San Diego Coastkeeper!) in the implementation of far greater conservation and potable water recycling on a large scale..
What can you do? Here’s what Coastkeepers suggests.
1. Contact your County Water Representative and ask them to fund and support greater conservation and recycling measures than their Master Plan does.