San Diego County CA— Water: we need it to live, to work and to thrive. That’s why San Diego Coastkeeper, which protects fishable, swimmable and drinkable water, says that the Quality of Life Dashboard released on Tuesday shows a grave need for the region to invest in water quality and water conservation.
Published once a year by the Center for Sustainable Energy’s Equinox Project, the Quality of Life Dashboard assesses the top economic and environmental indicators to gauge the region’s progress toward sustainability. Among its 15 indicators, the beach water quality data show the number of beach advisories increased in 2015. Its 2015 water use category gave a thumbs up for a 14 percent decrease in the county’s per capita residential water use, though, says Coastkeeper, this mark was below the mandatory reduction limits set by the state.
“Our own scientific data show that the historic drought is causing low water levels and increased water quality problems across San Diego County,” said Matt O’Malley, San Diego Coastkeeper Waterkeeper. While the organization has not yet released its 2015 Water Quality Report, it says that an early analysis shows that the drought has again negatively affected water quality, making it worse than Coastkeeper’s 2014 water quality scores show. “We’re not surprised to see more beach advisories in 2015 as a result, and this means that many of our region’s inland waterways are suffering.”
“On the water quantity side, we continue to be alarmed that our water suppliers have pushed back so forcefully against meaningful conservation in the face of water scarcity,” O’Malley said in reference to lobbying efforts by the water agencies in 2016 that resulted in the State Water Resources Control Board weakening drought measures. The better, longer-term strategy, according to Coastkeeper, would have been for the agencies to put their large lobbying budgets into an aggressive campaign to further pursue long-term reductions in water demand.
“This year’s dashboard, a celebration of the quality of life we love here in San Diego, reminds us why we must continue to work in partnership with all stakeholders towards multi-benefit solutions that address both water quality and water supply,” said O’Malley. “Prioritizing solutions like stormwater capture and potable water recycling will provide our region with much-needed water resources while reducing or eliminating pollution in our waters.”
San Diego Coastkeeper says that it will continue to push for better conservation leadership in San Diego County and support more projects to help the region capture and reuse stormwater runoff and pursue wastewater recycling facilities. The organization is set to release its 2015 Water Quality Report in the next week.