The above chart shows the City’s predicted water supply from its various sources vs. demand during varying drought conditions. Chart courtesy City of Morro Bay
The Morro Bay City Council approved an update to the “Urban Water Management Plan,” concluding that the various sources of water available to the City will be able to meet demand into the future.
Public Works Director, Greg Kwolek said in a news release, “The UWMP conducts long-term resource planning and establishes water management measures to ensure adequate water supplies are available to meet existing and future demands.
“The UWMP includes an analysis of a five consecutive dry years event based on supply/demand modeling and references anticipated recycled water (IPR) from the Water Reclamation Facility, still under construction, as a source of supply. The results indicate the City can meet future water demands in such a scenario.”
But good news doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods just yet. “Despite this positive projection,” Kwolek said, “the City reminds residents and businesses of the importance of water conservation, as the State enters its third consecutive drought year. Continued water conservation efforts will help to ensure adequate water supply is available should the current drought continue to reduce the State’s collective water supply.”
And with a State Government in Sacramento, seemingly unable to fix the water supply issues in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where Morro Bay gets its allotment of State Water Project water, local citizens are going to have to take steps to protect themselves and make sure the tap doesn’t run dry.
The City remains under “Severely Restricted Water Supply Conditions,” Kwolek said, “its third tier of water conservation restrictions since July 8.” The water prohibitions include:
• No use of water to clean driveways, patios, parking lots, sidewalks, and streets;
• No outdoor irrigation between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.;
• No watering landscaping, turf areas, and gardens except on Wednesdays and Sundays for even-numbered addresses and Tuesdays and Saturdays at odd-numbered addresses;
• No use of potable water for compaction or dust control purposes in construction activities; and,
• No use of fresh water without spring-loaded shutoff nozzles or similar controlling devices to wash down boats, docks, or other incidental activities.
As for the $145 million WRF project, which the City pitched to rate payers for a 2018 Prop. 218 vote as being able to provide 80% of water demand, Kwolek said it “is planned to supplement the City’s main water supplies through Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) as needed. These supplies include State Water and water from the Morro Valley extraction wells [at Lila Keiser Park]. IPR is a water source developed from injecting purified water into the Morro Creek groundwater for extraction during drought periods in accordance with State regulations to protect public health and safety. The City plans to have operability of the WRF and IPR infrastructure by late 2023.”
WRF plans at this point are to put in an injection well field in the northeast corner of the power plant property, adjacent to Morro Creek. The injected water is intended to protect the normal groundwater aquifer from intruding seawater, which could result from over-pumping the Morro wells.
Any resident or business with questions about these water conservation restrictions can email Kwolek at: email@example.com. “We appreciate our water customers’ assistance and support of water conservation efforts,” he said.
Readers can access the UWMP from the City’s website, see: www.morrobayca.gov/2020UWMP.