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Just days after a state energy commission halted helicopter use on SDG&E's Sunrise Powerlink, complaints about the project continue to flood in. Now, some residents are accusing the utility company of "assaulting" the city's water reservoirs.

During a meeting of the Natural Resources and Culture Committee, longtime resident and member of the Navajo Community Planners, John Pilch, claimed that SDG&E water trucks can be seen at fire hydrants along Lake Murray Boulevard daily. The trucks, said Pilch, damage roads and create an overall nuisance for residents.

"I'm here to bring attention to the assault on our community by the water trucks hired by SDG&E. The trucks are hauling 300,000 [gallons of] drinking water to the Sunrise Powerlink in East County," Pilch told committee members.

Pilch said the number of trucks in the San Carlos neighborhood have doubled since last March.

"We have anywhere from five to twelve big tankers parked on Lake Murray Boulevard waiting to fill up."

In an email, SDG&E spokesperson April Bolduc confirms that the utility company gets water from both the city and from the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, but she says the water usage has been approved by the state energy commission.

"SDG&E uses that amount of water daily for dust mitigation, soil compaction, and other construction-related activities that are required for the project," said Bolduc. "The majority of customer complaints we saw were from local residents not wanting us to use nearby well water, which is why we do not use well water."

After hearing the complaints from Pilch, committee members asked the Mayor's office to look into SDG&E's water use.


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GrokSurf Sept. 29, 2011 @ 2:44 a.m.

It's hard to believe that only now are councilmembers going to ask the mayor to look into this.

Mr. Pilch has been trying to get everybody's attention for months via letters and phone calls to the mayor and city councilmembers.

The U-T's Mike Lee first published a story about the situation last May: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/may/25/sdge-project-soaks-up-scarce-tap-water/

More recently I published a followup report when SDG&E expanded water withdrawal operations significantly: http://groksurf.com/2011/09/22/san-diegos-water-supply-vs-the-mayor-and-sdges-sunrise-powerlink-project/

The mayor and councilmembers should be embarrassed for having ignored or shelved Mr. Pilch's alerts to them over these last months.


GrokSurf Sept. 29, 2011 @ 2:48 a.m.

[please disregard this extra comment box, created by mistake]


Visduh Sept. 29, 2011 @ 9:41 a.m.

This piece made no mention of SDGE paying for the water. The reservoirs at this time can be replenished from the outside sources. But SDGE should have to pay for the water, and a fair rate would be just as much as a homeowner pays the city water department, not some bulk, discounted rate. I'm sure I'd agree with Mr. Pilch about the nuisance and the wear and tear on streets. SDGE should also be required to pay for that, and pay at a fully-costed rate.

Who cares if the state energy commission approved it? That doesn't constitute any sort of order to the city to give them the water. It is more likely that the state REQUIRED the generous use of water for dust control and other similar mitigating activities. It is up to SDGE to find a willing seller. Or is this just another case of the city rolling over and playing dead when the utility company whistled?


GrokSurf Sept. 29, 2011 @ 1 p.m.

According to Eric Symons, Supervising Public Information Officer at the Public Utilities Dept., SDG&E is paying $4.014 per HCF (748.05 gallons) plus a monthly meter charge (the temporary construction and irrigation meters rate).

As for the use of recycled water, SDG&E initially began the permitting process for that in January but to date there are unfinished steps in the process vis-a-vis the Department of Public Health and the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

It appears SDG&E chose to use potable water to avoid dealing with the recycled process or as a temporary measure until the recycled permit is obtained. It's not clear if the utility intends to complete the recycled permitting process.

There also remains the question whether SDG&E has or needs a permit for the potable water filling station it constructed behind the shopping center.


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