Saturday, July 28, 2007


Concerns over water quality

Working to bridge troubles over water
By Michael Burge

June 29, 2007

ESCONDIDO– Memo to Lake Hodges: We don't want your water.

A long-term plan to exchange water between the inland North County lake and Olivenhain Reservoir remains in doubt, with the Olivenhain Municipal Water District standing firm that it will not mix the two sources until Hodges water is cleaned up.

“We have a button here that says, 'What happens in Hodges stays in Hodges,' ” Mark Muir, an Olivenhain board member, told a joint meeting of his and the Santa Fe Irrigation District boards Wednesday.

But Gary Eaton, director of operations and maintenance for the San Diego County Water Authority, said it is working with Olivenhain and other water agencies on a plan to ensure that Hodges water meets quality standards before it enters the county's water supply.

“It's not in anybody's benefit to put poor-quality water into the aqueduct or anybody's system,” Eaton said yesterday. He said a committee composed of engineers from Olivenhain, the authority and other concerned agencies expects to propose an operations plan to the authority's board in November.

One of the group's first chores, Eaton said, is to separate fact from fiction.

“There is a perception that the trees you currently see (in the lake) are a real issue for water quality,” Eaton said. “The reality is that is not case.

Water-quality issues stem from runoff from Hodges' 250-square-mile watershed, which extends east to Julian. Farms and city dwellers have dumped chemicals and bacteria into sewers that feed into the lake, polluting it. After years of drought, thousands of willow trees that sprouted in the lake's dry bed were submerged when Hodges filled again in 2005.

The issue of the lake's water quality drew attention in November when David McCollom, Olivenhain's general manager at the time, suggested draining the lake and refilling it with imported water to rid it of contaminants.

Read the rest of the story here


  1. Jim Bond has been on the water authoriy board since the ice age. Why didn't he scream and yell that the lake needed cleaning?

    Next time you open that spigot with the dirty stinky flowing water, think of Jim Bond.

  2. speaking of water.
    anyone in the san dieguito water district else paying a lot more for water the last few months, were up to 97 bucks? wtf?

  3. At one of the last board meetings agenda item about a study of the SDWD water rates. Expect another increase.

  4. My bill is way up, too. And big increases are in the works.

    San Dieguito Water District should not have been forced to sell its property near the new library for $1 million, with no money for comensation for the lost $10,000 per year rent from the public works yard.

    The SDWD Board of Directors should not be the exact same five who are Council Members. This is a conflict of interests of the ratepayers who are being charged $3.5 million, plus, for rights of use, only of the inflated cost of the Mossy Property.

    This is just devious shifting of the monies from the Water District to the General Fund. We know this.

    Council should do something about this. Teresa Barth said it was a conflict of interest at one of her forums, before we elected her.

    We could have bought Pacific View school for less than the money we are spending on the Mossy Property. First it was "turn key" at 8.5 million. Then Council alloted an extra 500,000 to the 9.5 million dollar purchase price. Then we were told that $602,000 had been spent preparing the property, and that much again is needed, still.

    We have been sold a "bill" of goods that is a pack of lies.

  5. Brace yourself for more increases in water rates and fees. Gary Lee of the Public Works department is hard at work figuring our how to sneak this through.

    In spite of the rosy announcements of budget surpluses, the city has a deep long-term financial crisis. I hear that the library is running into problems meeting completion deadlines and holding to its budget. We still have the pension and health care obligations, and there is is the unacknowledged problem of financing the Hall property park. Will the park generate any income to help pay the current lease revenue bonds, let alone the new bonds that will be needed to finance the park? Will there even be water to maintain 5-6 grassy fields to the standards that the sports leagues are demanding?

    There is a slick city newsletter in the center of the Recreation Guide that the city mailed out this week. Along with the recently approved $10,000 opinion survey, it sures looks like Jerome Stocks and James Bond have started their reelection campaign. They need to convince us that we live in wonderful city.

    The vaunted zero-based budgeting may be a good thing, but in reality the biggest benefit only comes the first time it is done. The headline screams, "Something to Shout About!" Please, Mayor Bond. This is hyperbole.

  6. Maggie told me that the city of San Diego owns the dam and won't let our water district in to clean it.

  7. Several years ago the San Dieguito Water District spent some money to clean the lake when it was at a lower level.

    If the city of San Diego didn't have to pay, someone else could probably clean the lake. The water authority is also involved in the ownership issue.

  8. San Dieguito Water District spent $10,000 to help clean up the lake.

  9. local water engineerJuly 30, 2007 2:13 PM

    Some clarifications....

    Gary Lee no longer works at SDWD.

    Water rates are going up primarily because the cost of imported water is going up. That's the cost for water that is pumped from Northern CA. Water from SDWD is a blend of imported and local water. Lake Hodges water is our only source of local water. It is a lot cheaper than the imported water, but there are still costs associated with treatment. Plus, there is only a finite supply, which varies according to the amount of runoff per year. Less rain => less runoff & higher water use => more imported water => higher costs. If we are headed for another multi-year dry weather cycle, rates will increase even faster.

    SDWD's treated water is just as clean as Olivenhain's (which, by the way, supplies the eastern portion of Encinitas). They just don't have the capabilities (equipment and/or expertise) to provide the additional treatment required for Lake Hodges water.

    The Hall property park will be irrigated with recycled water from the San Elijo WRF.

    Yes, we should have a separate water board.

    I know this is really boring...sorry.

  10. It is always possible to attend a City Council meeting and speak during the oral communications part of the agenda. Ask politely, simply and in public if they will agendize a discussion regarding separation of Water Board and Council. No one has put them on the spot like that. If Teresa did make the statement as suggested above, call her on it.

  11. My understanding of why Lake Hodges has "dirty" water is that in the dry years, the vegetation grew in the north end. When the water district wanted to clean up this area to prevent this very problem, the enviromentalists would not hear of it. Then it rained and filled up the lake with all the vegatation, and animals and their waste.

    This is a good example of those with the forsight to prepare for the future often get attacked.

  12. I have brought up this conflict of interest between the Water Board (The Board of Directors of SDWD) and the City Council, many times, at oral communications.

    Council does not respond to comments made during oral communications.

    I will continue to bring this up, and ask that the matter be agendized. There is an agenda item about the Mossy Public Works yard coming up on 8/15, I believe. This is relevant to the conflict of interest because of the $3.5 million the SDWD ratepayers had to pay to subsidize the General Fund of the City of Encinitas.


Thank you for posting on the Leucadia Blog.
There is nothing more powerful on this Earth than an anonymous opinion on the Internet.
Have at it!!!