Earth Week sometimes . Which, I suppose, is the whole reason behind .
So, I thought about it. What do we really need to conserve? What do we really NOT have enough of?
Not a hard question to answer:
We’ve made the case before on this site- that , and that it’s a problem that’s only going to get worse.
We’re going to be paying more for water, all the while actually getting less of it.
I won’t make you go through the County Water Authority/Metropolitan Water District diatribe again- at least, not NOW. Though, I reserve the right to revisit that in the future, like the very next time they jack up their rates.
Let’s bring it right home, here to Santee.
How are we doing at saving water? How is our water district, (PDMWD), doing?
It appears we’re doing well, quite well, maybe TOO well.
Over the past three years, our demand for water from Padre Dam has dropped 23 percent- that’s a lot.
In 2010, we used 12,458 acre feet of water, down from 16,151 in 2008.
That may not sound like much, but remember-ONE acre foot of water is 326,000 gallons.
The experts say that’s enough to provide the needs of TWO families of four for ONE year. An acre foot is just what it sounds like- the amount of water needed to cover one acre of ground one foot deep.
That’s good for us- but bad for Padre Dam.
PDMWD is very much in the recycling of water business. That, after all, is why even exist. That’s ALL recycled, or reclaimed, water.
Right now, the plant there produces two million gallons of reclaimed, recycled water daily. Half of that disappears due to simple evaporation, while the other half goes to 185 customers who’ve signed up to use recycled water for their gardens, and for pretty much all uses short of drinking and bathing.
It’s worth noting that, of those 185 customers, two are the , and the Santee School District- two pretty heavy users. The others are commercial and residential users, and good for them.
Padre Dam would like to more than double the recycling process, through partnership with Helix Water District on the El Monte Valley Reclamation and Groundwater Recharge Project.
BUT, We, in our zeal to conserve, have .
As General Manager Allen Carlisle told me: “The 23 percent drop in customer water use has impacted Padre Dam’s ability to fund infrastructure replacement and improvement projects, and we can’t afford for that to go on too long.”
Th El Monte Valley Project would be in the nature of "improvement projects."
By and large, I think the El Monte Valley Project would be a good idea- I’ll explain more about that next time- but there MAY be one problem with it.
You see, the preferred route for digging for a pipeline to connect Santee Lakes up with El Monte Valley would run right along .
I can hear the screams already!
Good thing the is finished and open, huh?