California American Water External Affairs Manager, Brian Barreto, was the speaker at the July meeting of the Coronado Roundtable at the Coronado Public Library. The speaker presented an overview of California’s worsening drought conditions and the resulting new water conservation measures mandated by the state. “We are literally at the end of the pipeline,” said Mr. Barreto, referring to the region served by California American which includes Coronado, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and portions of San Diego.

About 80% of California is experiencing severe drought conditions causing the state to mandate a 20% reduction in water usage. The region is now in stage two of a five-stage water usage plan requiring that irrigation systems be used only three days per week. The watering schedule calls for those living at odd numbered street addresses to water on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays and those at even numbered addresses on Monday, Thursdays and Saturdays with no watering on Wednesdays. Watering should take place before 9 a.m. and after 8 p.m. and be limited to 10 minutes.

Water should be confined to the areas needing it and not permitted to run off or used to clean sidewalks. Leaks should be fixed within 72 hours and washing cars by hose requires a shut-off nozzle. No watering for 48 hours after significant rainfall.

The company chooses to focus on education rather than penalties. Only three fines were imposed during the last drought and customers seem to be well aware of the importance of water conservation. Customers in violation, however, can be subject to fines of up to $500 as well as flow restrictions and disconnection of service. Fines may be appealed and assistance in repairing and adjusting irrigation systems can be requested. Customers may also report violations anonymously.

California American is the fourth largest regulated water company in California with 190,000 service connections and more than 170 miles of pipeline serving 690,000 people. It has served this area for over 60 years. It now treats and distributes about 122 million gallons of water daily and currently has about 300 employees. In 2019 it invested an estimated $85 million in its operating systems and purchases all of its water.

Mr. Barreto entertained questions from the audience including questions concerning water sources, the future of desalinization, recycling and the use of water in construction cleanup and soil compaction. A board member of the Coronado Chamber of Commerce, Brian Barreto graduated from Whittier College with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and is studying for a master’s degree at Claremont Graduate School. He was introduced by Coronado Roundtable President Kirk Henry who presided over the meeting which was also live-streamed on Zoom.

The Coronado Roundtable presents knowledgeable speakers on a variety of topics at its monthly meetings on the fourth Friday of every month except November and December. The November meeting is held on the third Friday and there is no December meeting. Meetings are held in the Winn Room of the Coronado Public Library and begin at 10 a.m. The public is cordially invited. Come early and enjoy a cup of coffee with your neighbors.

VOL. 112, NO. 30 - July 27, 2022

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