In last week’s T-A Assemblymember Waldron wrote about the 55 gallons of water allocation that the State was mandating. This is just another instance of the overbearing and over-regulating California government. I will show you how out of touch the folks in the Sacramento Capitol are with the rest of the state. She did explain that the mandate was directed at the water agencies to control consumption but the mandate does however filter down to the end users—who are you and me.
Having served five years as a board member of the San Diego County Water Authority I am keenly aware of water issues in our county. When the mandate came down, it was for the entire state to follow orders. However, the State never considered what the SDCWA had done in preparation of the coming droughts. Yes, that is plural because in the 46 plus years I have lived in Escondido I have lived through about four droughts which occur roughly every 7 years with a duration of roughly 7 years.
The purpose of the Authority and its reason for being is to provide a reliable supply of water at the lowest possible cost. Twenty five years ago the Authority undertook a massive capital improvement program which included building storage, such as the Olivenhain Dam, and pipelines. In addition they began a long process of divesting itself from purchasing about 95% of our water from the Metropolitan Water District in L.A. Currently the Authority purchases 40% of our water from MWD.
During the last drought San Diego County would have had no shortage of water even if we did not get one drop of rain due to the previous efforts of the SDCWA. We had enough storage to provide for the County for a year. Should we do our best to conserve water? You bet. There are many small measures we can take to not waste water. I just wish the rest of the state, especially Northern California, would follow the SDCWA model. There is much more to tell but you can go to www.SDCWA.org for more information. By the way, the Sierras received over 10 feet of snow this season so far. Has there been any additional storage built up North to collect the spring runoff?
Did you see the housing report for the county? Escondido’s share of the supply is 9,607 additional housing units. At 3.2 persons per household, which is our current density, that means we need to plan for 30,742 more residents which is a 130% increase over the previous Regional Housing Needs Assessment. What is more troublesome is that the State of California is prepared to sue jurisdictions who do not comply with this edict. Go back to the first paragraph of this column. The state is getting closer and closer to ruling local communities, taking away local control.
With that said, why then will we need full-time council members as is being suggested by the current City Council at full-time wages AND an aide to help them deal with the burdensome duties associated with governing a mid-size town. The city in SD County with full-time council members, that I am aware of, is the City of San Diego with a population of about 1.2 million residents. You think we have budget issues now? Oh, I forgot about the proposed sales tax increase. Can it get any more crazy? I hope not but we shall see.
The other day I saw a photo of the USS Theodore Roosevelt leaving the Port of San Diego which reminded me of my visit to the USS John C. Stennis to attend an Eagle Scout Recognition event in 2001. That was my first visit to an aircraft carrier. What I noticed was that on the flight deck there were no rails. I did not get closer to the edge than about five feet. Kinda scary for a former Army guy I did get to the USS Midway a couple of years later which seemed a bit smaller but not by much.
As I drive around I take note of interesting personalized license plates. This week’s observation is SKTRWMN. I’m guessing ice skates.