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Press offices across San Diego have been busy firing off news releases about water today. I’ve received five, and the day’s not over yet. So let’s recap what’s what in the world of water.
- Mayor Jerry Sanders is seeking the City Council’s approval of a $150 million private financing package to fund improvements to the Water Department’s pipelines, treatment plants and pump stations. Most money will be spent on upgrades that will help the city meet the terms of a state Department of Public Health order. It’s one of three privately financed loans Sanders anticipates seeking this year; he aims to refinance the loan when the city returns to public bond markets.
- Steve Francis, the Republican businessman challenging Sanders in the June mayoral election, believes the mayor’s financing plan “is merely a short-term solution to a long-term problem.”
- As I wrote about earlier, the scientists at Scripps have dire predictions for Lake Mead.
- Sanders tomorrow is convening, along with the mayor of San Jose, a meeting with mayors of the state’s largest cities to discuss what they want to see included in a statewide water bond ballot measure. Among those giving presentations to the mayors at their Sacramento meeting: Tim Barnett, the marine physicist who co-authored the Lake Mead report.
The summit was a talking point in the mayor’s State of the City address.
- City Attorney Mike Aguirre released a 14-year-old letter from the state Department of Health Services that gave the city approval to pursue a program to recycle sewage into drinking water. He used the letter, which stated that the program wouldn’t harm water quality, to note that if the City Council project had approved the project originally in 1999 it would be up and running by now. That, he said, would have helped further insulate the city from any potential water shortages.