As water restrictions shift to local water agencies, a few North County communities are moving to ease limitations after winter storms.

In Del Mar, city staff recommended downgrading the drought level, which would have allowed power-washing the sidewalks, and turning on the showers at the beach, The Coast News reports. Not all members of the City Council were on board, though.

“I think it’s a mistake to relax our drought restrictions — a big mistake — because the drought’s not over,” Councilman Don Mosier said.

Mosier also said the San Diego County Water Authority was “short-sighted” for saying there wasn’t a drought, and disagreed with relying on water from the Carlsbad desalination plant. (The head of San Diego Coastkeeper made the same argument in a Voice of San Diego op-ed Wednesday.)

Others were concerned about landscaping and creating a fire hazard, but the Council will seek a water conservation compromise.

Meanwhile, in the Santa Fe Irrigation District, which covers Rancho Santa Fe and Solana Beach, the board of directors has made water reductions voluntary, with the exception of a few state-mandated restrictions.

And in Oceanside, the city has kept up current restrictions but is looking to put water back in the fountain at the Civic Center plaza, which has sat empty and enclosed in a fence for a few years.

One councilman is concerned that a running fountain will send the wrong message to residents, but he’s OK with using recycled water. Another agreed, but would rather rip the thing out and extend the plaza.

In Other Aquatic Problems

Carlsbad released its sea-level rise assessment this week, which projects what changes could happen to the coast by the year 2100.

The report found that the biggest effects would be to the beaches, which are already down to cobblestone, the areas around the lagoons and the bluffs, the Union-Tribune reports.

Much of Carlsbad sits above areas that would be affected by flooding, and has armored the cliffs beneath homes, like in the Terramar neighborhood. (Disclaimer: I work in IT at the Surfrider Foundation, which opposes armoring and works with cities to deal with sea-level rise.)

One area to watch is south of Palomar Road, where king tides and high surf ate away part of Coast Highway. A long-term plan is being considered to move the road to the east, to higher ground, according to the Union-Tribune.

Different cities in the county all seem to be taking different approaches to sea-level rise. Some, like Del Mar and Carlsbad, are conducting surveys to get a sense of prospective problems. Imperial Beach is actively seeking out ways to plan for and mitigate damage; Coronado’s not doing much of anything.

Feeding Frenzy

The surge in homelessness in San Diego is reigniting a debate about offering food to people on the street, and whether that is the best way to get them a meal or ends up making the problem worse, Lisa Halverstadt reports. That debate is also happening in North County, especially places like Oceanside, which is seeing its own spike in homelessness.

Some homeless experts say the traditional idea is inaccurate that people are homeless by choice and feeding them makes the problem worse.

Still others, like Greg Anglea from Escondido-based Interfaith Community Services, say bringing food to people with no strings attached isn’t ideal, because it preempts the opportunity to connect them with longer term help.

Also in the News

 The North Coast Corridor Project was allocated $100 million for projects like double-tracking rail lines and adding HOV lanes from Lomas Santa Fe to SR-78. (Rancho Santa Fe Review)

• San Elijo, the San Marcos neighborhood, will get stores and townhomes in the vacant lots at the center of the community. (Union-Tribune)

 Oceanside is working on its quiet zone. (The Coast News)

 Carlsbad has approved its annual budget. (Seaside Courier)

 Escondido scrapped plans for a water treatment plant on a city-owned lot near a residential area. (Union-Tribune)

Ruarri Serpa

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at ruarris@gmail.com and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

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