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September 2009 

In This Issue
Historic Water Legislation
Rebate Programs Re-Launch
Updated Graywater Codes
Follow us on FaceBook!
Speakers Bureau
Gardening Resources Available
Conservation Summit Materials Available
Quick Links

San Diego County Water Authority
Join Our Mailing List

Legislature Ends Session Close to Historic Water Package

As urban water shortages and devastating cutbacks to agriculture spread across much of California in 2009 due largely to regulatory restrictions on water deliveries from the Bay-Delta in Northern California, water rose to the forefront of issues tackled by state lawmakers.
The San Diego County Water Authority, along with many other water agencies, business leaders, environmental groups, and others, urged legislators to pass a comprehensive package of bills this session.  The package included provisions for implementing and financing solutions to water supply and environmental challenges in the Bay-Delta, the heart of the state's water delivery system and the source of about 30 percent of our region's water supply.  The Water Authority and others also urged legislators to tackle a number of other important water management issues as well.
In the final weeks of its session, the Legislature made great progress in reconciling seemingly intractable positions to reach consensus on a number of complex and important issues.  Lawmakers ran out of time to finalize and pass a water package before their session ended September 11.  However, they remain close to passing landmark legislation that could improve water supply reliability for San Diego County and the rest of the state for generations.
Significant achievements include:
  • Agreement by all sides on Bay-Delta legislative language that makes environmental restoration and water supply reliability "co-equal" goals.
  • Widespread consensus that a canal around the Bay-Delta or a "dual conveyance" system that includes both a canal around the Bay-Delta and some through-Delta water deliveries is the most likely solution to the Bay-Delta's environmental problems.
  • Agreement on the importance for the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) process to move forward.  The BDCP is a collaborative planning and strategy process being developed in compliance with the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the California Natural Communities Conservation Planning Act (NCCPA). This process is designed to secure long-term environmental permits that will restore critical habitats and protect and restore water supply reliability through projects to improve water conveyance. To learn more, visit, www.baydeltaconservationplan.com.  
  • The Democratic leadership proposed a water bond with funds for surface storage projects - an item long sought by the governor and Republican leadership in the Legislature.
  • The governor and Legislative leadership agree they need to take action as soon as possible.
The Democratic leadership asked the governor to call a special session to conclude deliberations on the water bills and approve a comprehensive package.  It is the governor's discretion to call a special session, and we will monitor any next steps in this process.
The Water Authority would like to thank the San Diego delegation for its strong support during this process.  Senators Christine Kehoe, Denise Ducheny, Dennis Hollingsworth, and Mark Wyland, along with Assembly members Joel Anderson, Marty Block, Nathan Fletcher, Martin Garrick, Kevin Jeffries, Mary Salas, and Lori Saldaņa, stood together to ensure our region's interests were advanced in the Bay-Delta legislation. In addition, Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg should be recognized for his work in steering the legislative package to the brink of passage. 
The San Diego business community, including the Governors Council of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, worked arm-in-arm with the Water Authority to protect and advance our region's interests.
Rebate Programs Restart on September 21
Several popular rebate programs for residential and commercial water-saving devices will once again be available to ratepayers in the Water Authority's service area begininning at 9 a.m. on Monday, September 21.

Save-A-Buck LogoFor commercial customers, the Save A Buck program will offer rebates on a first-come, first-served basis, while funding is available.  Throughout Southern California, $4.6 million has been allocated for commercial rebates. An online rebate reservation is required for this program and must be obtained before a device is purchased.  Purchases made before September 21, 2009, or without a rebate reservation are ineligible. Only water agency customers who own or manage commercial, institutional and industrial facilities, or multi-family properties may request a reservation. There have been significant changes to the program, so visit  www.mwdsaveabuck.com for updated program information.
SoCal Water$mart LogoFor residential customers, the SoCal Water$mart program will offer rebates on a first-come, first-served basis, while funding is available. Throughout Southern California, $6 million has been allocated for residential rebates. Rebates are available for devices such as high-efficiency clothes washers, high-efficiency toilets, and rotating nozzles. Reservation are not needed. Only approved devices purchased on or after September 21, 2009, are eligible for a rebate. Rebate amounts may vary by water agency, so please call 888-376-3314, or visit www.socalwatersmart.com, for updated program information and a list of approved devices.

Updated Code Allows Easier Graywater Installation
The California Building Standards Commission recently adopted an updated code that eases residential graywater reuse permitting requirements. Homeowners can now retrofit their plumbing systems to use water from bathroom sinks, showers, and laundry for irrigation, provided certain criteria are met. Water from kitchen sinks, toilets, and dishwashers cannot be used due to bacterial content. The change was approved on August 4 and will remain in effect
while the Building Standards Commission takes comments.
For additional details on the new statewide codes and permitting requirements, visit the Housing and Community Development website:

Follow the Water Authority on FaceBook and YouTube
Facebook Logo  YouTube
The Water Authority has launched a Facebook Fan page and two YouTube channels. Our Facebook page is being updated frequently with water-related news, photos, videos, and announcements. Become a fan and encourage others to do so. 
Visit the Water Authority's YouTube channel for videos about water conservation, education, and construction projects.
Subscribe to the Water Authority's YouTube channels in English and/or Spanish by visiting the
following website addresses:
Water Authority Speakers Bureau Tours the County
Members of the Water Authority's speakers bureau toured the county over the past six months, giving presentations to a variety of business and community groups. More than 140 presentations on water supply, drought, and water rates were given during the first part of the year by board members and staff. If your group would like to request a presentation, please call 858-522-6708 or email Speakersbureau@sdcwa.org. 
Gardening Classes Available at the Conservation Garden
Online Gardening Software also Available  
As the heat of summer fades, fall is a great time in San Diego County to plant a new, lower water use landscape. The cooler temperatures and moist soil help new plants get off to a good start. If you need a little help determining where to start, the Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College has a variety of classes available on weekdays and weekends. Classes include "Bye Bye Grass," "Tune Up Your Irrigation," and "Firescaping with Native Plants." Classes are affordable and can be purchased as a series. Visit www.thegarden.org for a full calendar.
If you prefer to design your garden from the comfort of your home, the Water Authority website provides access to online software that can help you plan your garden and select colorful, low water use plants that thrive in San Diego's climate. Log on to: www.20gallonchallenge.com/gardensoft  to get design, color and firewise gardening suggestions.


Water Conservation Summit Materials Now Available Online 

The third Annual Water Conservation Summit, held at Cuyamaca College on June 2, was a venue to discuss the future of water conservation for public agencies, local companies, landscape architects, and residents countywide. All materials from the Summit, including the agenda, PowerPoint presentations, video clips, and images from the graphic facilitation, are all available on the Summit website.

The San Diego County Water Authority works through its 24 member agencies to provide a safe and reliable water supply to support the region's $171 billion economy and quality of life of 3 million residents.