The Carlsbad desalination plant / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

Another drought is upon us and San Diego is weathering it just fine. 

MacKenzie Elmer reports that officials here spent a lot of money on deals to secure more supplies and build water infrastructure. It’s also why we pay some of the highest water rates in the country, but we’ve been using less in recent years. 

While other California cities are building emergency drought infrastructure, San Diego’s governing water agency has declared triumphantly that the region is “drought-safe” this summer. Still, it’s possible that San Diegans might get hit with state-wide mandatory water conservation orders this year, as we have in the past.

Long term, the San Diego County Water Authority has been looking for ways to diversify its water supply and gain more control of its water sources. The agency, for instance, struck a deal to buy Colorado River water from Imperial County, but the river is stressed as it is, supporting 40 million people in seven states and Mexico. 

There’s also a desalination plant in Carlsbad and a massive wastewater-to-drinking water recycling project, but that one is going to cost billions to build. 

Pols and Businesses Want the Border Back Open

In March 2020, the Trump administration closed the border to non-essential travel with the stated goal of slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Fifteen months later, it’s still closed, even though California has reopened. And there’s no timeline for when the border might follow suit.

Megan Wood explains which types of travel are and aren’t allowed, and highlights the personal and financial toll that the closure has taken on residents and businesses. Consider this: a brief shutdown of the border in 2018 cost San Ysidro and Tijuana businesses an estimated $11.8 million.

Politics Roundup

  • We talked on the podcast about the severity of homelessness in San Diego, the ongoing debate over police oversight and another local defection from the GOP.
  • San Diego lawmakers are pushing a pair of bills in the California Legislature to help cities deal with sea-level rise. (Turns out much of the actual planning for climate change has fallen on the backs of local governments.) A new report from the state also shows that more companies are complying with a law to include at least one woman on their boards of directors. 

City Employees Get Pay Bump 

Mayor Todd Gloria announced Friday that according to the terms of new labor deals, San Diego police officers are getting a 3.2 percent increase starting July 1 and firefighters are getting a combined 3.5 percent increase over the next year. As the U-T reported, “Deputy city attorneys got 12 percent raises over the next two years, blue-collar workers got 8 percent raises over two years and white-collar workers got 9 percent over two years.”

Considering police retention rates last year, Jesse Marx noted that a city audit placed new deputy city attorneys among the lowest paid employees when compared to their counterparts elsewhere. 

The San Diego Education Association, the teachers union that represents San Diego Unified, also announced Friday that it had struck a tentative agreement on wages, staffing and special education. All staff salary schedules are expected to go up 4 percent starting July 1. 

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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