Lake Morena water

GRANTS AWARDED TO RESTORE SAFE DRINKING WATER FOR LAKE MORENA RESIDENTS—BUT PROCESS MAY TAKE UNTIL 2024

Story and photos by Karen Pearlman 

January 8, 2021 (Lake Morena) – For more than two years, Lake Morena Village area water users have been drinking bottled water because of formidable nitrate levels in the region’s wells, the main source of water for drinking in the rural San Diego county burg. 

In September 2019, the county issued a do-not-drink order for about 125 customers of the Lake Morena Views Mutual Water Company, one of the two main water suppliers in the area.  The state recently approved grant funds to eliminate the contamination, but the process moves slowly – meaning frustrated residents may be without potable tap water for another two to three years.

“I am wondering what the effects will be on all of us in time to come. How can it take over two years to fix the issue?” asks Claudia Millerbragg, a Lake Morena Village residents in rural Campo. She says shareholders are not given enough information, adding,  “Because we are in an underserved community no one really seems to care. Can you imagine this happening in La Jolla?"


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WATER QUALITY PROBLEMS PERSIST IN LAKE MORENA, MONTHS AFTER DON’T DRINK ORDER ISSUED

By Miriam Raftery

April 9, 2020 (Lake Morena, CA ) – Last September, the County issued a do-not-drink order for 123 customers of the Lake Morena Views Mutual Water Co. due to high nitrate levels.  Nearly seven months later, high nitrate levels in the district's well water persist, forcing many rural residents to rely on bottled water for drinking and cooking.

Solving the problem will take more money than the small rural district can afford. As a result, the state is mandating that to receive funding help, the district must be combined with the neighboring Oak Shores Municipal Water District which serves Lake Morena Village – even though customers in that district previously voted against consolidation.

According to the State of California, infants under six months old and pregnant women should not drink water with high nitrate levels. Infants who drink nitrate-contaminated water or formula made with the water can develop blue baby syndrome, which causes blue skin and if left untreated, death.  High nitrates can also affect oxygen-carrying ability of the blood in pregnant women. Wellman Simmonds, president of Lake Morena Views Mutual Water Co., says that the warning also includes “elderly and those who are sick to not utilize the water for cooking or drinking.”

Boiling, freezing, filtering or letting tap water stand will not reduce nitrate levels—and boiling may actually increase nitrate concentrations.


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