WaterSource New Masthead


March 29, 2016    
In This Issue
Water Authority Unveils Resources to Advance Region's Outdoor Water-Use Efficiency
Judge Awards $8.9 Million in Attorneys' Fees to Water Authority in MWD Rate Case
Free Classes Teach Low-Water Landscaping
Region Beats Aggregate State Water-Use Targets Through February
Did you see?
The Chico Enterprise-Record reported Lake Oroville hit the flood control reservation limit.
"It's the first time the spillway has been opened in five years to maintain storage space in Lake Oroville for flood control. Over the past 10 years, the spillway has been open for flood control just twice."
Click here to read more.

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San Diego County Water Authority

Water Authority Unveils Resources to Advance Region's Outdoor Water-Use Efficiency
Online videos for homeowners, training for professionals promote water-efficient landscapes

The Water Authority has launched two new resources to help homeowners and landscape professionals increase water-use efficiency countywide and make WaterSmart living a permanent way of life.
The WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program's Videos On Demand expand the reach of the Water Authority's award-winning WaterSmart Landscape Makeover classes, which offer in-depth instruction for upgrading turf yards into water-efficient landscapes that will thrive in the San Diego region. Designed for access by computer or mobile device, the video series condenses the classes' main content into 17 short episodes, beginning with an introduction to water issues in the San Diego region and transitioning into the six steps toward implementing a successful landscape makeover.
To access the online videos or learn more about the WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program, go to LandscapeMakeover.WaterSmartSD.org. The videos are also available on the Water Authority's YouTube channel. Homeowners interested in taking the full class series in person can still do so; the next classes begin in mid-April, with registration open through April 1.
The Water Authority also is now a partner in the Qualified Water-Efficient Landscaper training program. Classes for landscape professionals began in February and now are being scheduled throughout the year. This program, which meets EPA WaterSense standards and was originally developed by the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership in Northern California,  provides landscape professionals with 20 hours of instruction, covering lessons about proper plant selection for local climates and irrigation system design, maintenance, programming and operation. Participants receive a certificate after demonstrating their ability to complete an irrigation system audit and passing a QWEL exam, and are listed on QWEL's national directory of trained professionals.
Go to QWEL.WaterSmartSD.org for more information about QWEL, including registration instructions for landscape professionals, a schedule of upcoming classes and information about hiring QWEL-trained landscapers.

Judge Awards $8.9 Million in
Attorneys' Fees to Water Authority in MWD Rate Case
MWD's damages, interest, costs and attorneys' fees top $243 million as agency prepares to adopt more illegal rates

After losing a landmark judgment in 2015, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California must pay $8.9 million in attorneys' fees to the Water Authority, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled. As the prevailing party, the Water Authority is entitled to its attorneys' fees, according to the court order; a previous decision awarded the Water Authority more than $320,000 in court costs.
MWD now owes the Water Authority more than $243 million, including damages, costs, interest and attorneys' fees. The bill, including the award of attorneys' fees, accrues simple interest of 7 percent annually. 
Records disclosed by MWD show that it has spent more than $20 million on its attorney's fees. 
Despite the court's ruling in two cases spanning four years of MWD's rates - 2011-2014 - MWD is poised to adopt two more years of illegal rates - for 2017 and 2018 - at its April 12, 2016, board meeting. The Water Authority filed suit challenging MWD's 2015 and 2016 rates, which also use the same illegal rate allocation. That case - which raises the same issues - has been stayed pending the outcome of appeals on the prior two cases.
Additional information about the case, including the November 2015 final judgment and peremptory writ of mandate, is at www.sdcwa.org/mwdrate-challenge.

Free Classes Teach
Low-Water Landscaping

The Water Authority and the San Diego Chater of the Surfrider Foundation are offering several classes this spring as part of the San Diego Sustainable Landscapes Program. That program is the result of a multi-party regional partnership to promote a watershed approach to landscaping. There is no cost to attend the classes. Funding is provided by the California Department of Water Resources.
Water Authority classes:
  • WaterSmart Design for Homeowners -- Each three-hour workshop introduces participants to the basics of landscape makeovers. Topics include healthy soils, design, turf removal, plant selection, planning, irrigation, rainwater catchment and implementation. Upcoming workshops are April 2 in Vista, April 5 in Encinitas, and April 9 in El Cajon. For details and the complete schedule, click here.  
  • WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series -- These four-class series offers a hands-on, personalized experience, including free professional coaching. The next series starts April 13 in Clairemont, with registration required by March 30. Another series starts April 16 in Oceanside, with registration due by April 2.
    For details and the complete schedule, click here
Surfrider Foundation classes:
  • Watershed Wise Design Seminars -- Each three-hour seminar covers landscape design aesthetics, plants' water needs and how to select the right plants for your landscape; and includes practice designing a real landscape. Upcoming seminars will be held April 16 in Balboa Park, April 23 in Coronado and April 30 in San Diego. For registration details and the complete schedule, click here.
  • Hands-On Turf Removal Workshops -- Learn how to remove turf without harmful chemicals, build healthy soil, capture stormwater and use stormwater in your landscape. Workshops are taught in real gardens and last about 3 hours. The next workshop is April 9 in Vista. For details and registration, click here.
Region Beats Aggregate State Water-Use Targets Through February
Conservation targets lowered starting in March to account for desalination plant supplies
Preliminary data released today by the Water Authority show that the region reduced potable water use by 21 percent from June through February, outperforming the state's aggregate regional target of 20 percent during the initial phase of unprecedented state water-use mandates.
Through the first phase of the State Board's regulation, ending February 29, San Diego regional water use decreased between 14 percent and 32 percent compared to 2013 during every month except February. Almost no rain fell in the region during the month and temperatures soared 9 degrees above average, compared to a cooler February in 2013 when high temperatures averaged a degree below normal. These factors combined with an additional day's demand -- February 2016 included 29 days -- forced up regional water use by 5 percent compared to February 2013. Despite that aberration, successful water-saving efforts last summer and fall allowed the region to beat the state's aggregate goal.
The region is also benefitting in March from efforts by the Water Authority, local civic and business leaders, the San Diego legislative delegation and others who helped convince state regulators to add local supply credits to the emergency water-use regulation.
The State Board certified potable water supplies from the Claude "Bud" Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant as drought-resilient, reducing the regional impacts of the state's emergency water-use mandates. The state also adjusted conservation targets for some agencies based on their climate. Draft conservation targets starting in March are between 8 percent and 29 percent for Water Authority member agencies, with a new aggregate regional conservation target of about 13 percent compared to 2013. The State Board's revised water-use regulation extends through October.
Lowered conservation targets across the San Diego region allow residents and businesses to continue conserving water while gaining flexibility to irrigate trees deeply, replace lawns with WaterSmart landscapes, and preserve fire-safe buffers around homes near open spaces. More information about the state regulation, including a comparison of local agencies' initial and revised conservation targets, is at www.sdcwa.org/state-board-regulations.
The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $218 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.2 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 24 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base.