Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Rainbow looks at whether it could tap groundwater

These sound to be a very encouraging news. If it is implemented. It is going to be beneficial to the people in Rainbow Valley. As well as the people in Temecula area in Southern California.

However, the question is that the study on the ground water quality as well as the transportation water; then back from Southern California after filtration , the pipeline quality issues need to be look at thoroughly.

As my research found that the Pipeline with over 50 years of deposit; it can bring back the contaminations & pollutions after the filtration from Temecula.

Therfore, I hope that these issues would be addressed for the Great Health of the people.

Rainbow looks at whether it could tap groundwater
By: LORELL FLEMING - Staff Writer

FALLBROOK ---- It started out as something of a pipe dream: the idea of tapping into water collected in the Rainbow Valley Basin as a safe, reliable and locally controlled source of water.

Now, the Rainbow Municipal Water District may be inching closer to making that dream a reality and reducing the district's dependency on imported water, which makes up 100 percent of the current supply.

Armed with a $200,000 state grant and $100,000 of its own money, the district has studied rainfall totals and other data in the basin and is starting to develop a groundwater-management plan.

The initial study showed the district could extract between 1,000 and 3,000 acre-feet of water from the basin each year ---- enough to address the needs of the nearly 2,000 Rainbow district customers, said engineer Chris Trees.

Trees works for Encinitas-based Dudek & Associates, an engineering firm that contracts regularly with the district and was hired to complete the basin study. About $90,000 of the grant money has been spent so far, Trees said.

Dudek staffers are expected to finish the first draft of the groundwater plan in early April, according to Derek Reed, the Dudek engineer overseeing the project. Once the draft is complete, there will be a 30-day period for public review, as well as public workshops to discuss the plan. The district held a workshop Thursday to discuss initial findings of the study.

The Rainbow district uses about 30,000 acre-feet of water to meet the needs of its 7,100 customers in the rural pockets of North San Diego County: Fallbrook, Bonsall, Rainbow and parts of Vista.

An acre-foot is a measurement of water that is equivalent to about 326,000 gallons, about the amount of water that two families with four members would use in a year.

The next step would be to apply for another grant to do a field study, an analysis of samples from the basin's soil and groundwater, according to Reed.

Even if it is feasible to draw water from the basin, the project could take years, officials said. Public hearings must be held, environmental impacts must be studied and reports must be compiled.

Reed said it could be five to 10 years before the district draws water from the basin, which is east of Interstate 15 and west of Rainbow Mountain. The basin's southern border is Rainbow Valley Boulevard. Its northern border is where Rainbow Valley Boulevard curves to meet Old Highway 395.

Idea takes root

One of the people who pushed the Rainbow district three years ago to pursue a grant for a groundwater study was the district's former Division 5 director, Paul Christensen, Trees said.

Efforts to reach Christensen about the groundwater study that is under way were unsuccessful Thursday.

But the grant paved the way for what could be the district's first step in cutting some of its dependency on outside water agencies.

And officials such as the district's general manager, Greg Ensminger, said that finding a local source that could provide up to 10 percent of the district's water would be a coup.

"Anytime we can move away from being solely dependent on one source, that's a good thing," Ensminger said.

Water views

Division 4 Director Russ Hatfield said he is reserving judgment on the idea until he sees whether getting water from the aquifer beneath the basin, treating it, and providing it to customers would be a financial asset or liability for the district.

"What do you do after you get the water out of there?" Hatfield said. "Do you build a treatment facility to treat the water? Where is the money coming from? It could be a huge capital venture. We're using a lot of our money on infrastructure (improvements, repairs and maintenance)."

Rainbow water board President Bill Bopf, Division 3 director, said he would like to move forward with the groundwater study to get those questions answered.

"We should go through with the next phase. Get a grant, do the field study and see if this is possible," Bopf said in an interview last week. "It would be good to reduce our dependency on imported water."

Rua Petty, a Rainbow resident and vice president of his community's planning group, said that using the basin to serve Rainbow customers is an idea that might be worth exploring further.

"It might be worthwhile if it's economically viable and the science works out," Petty said during a public workshop Thursday about the groundwater study. He also said he would like to see it determined who legally has rights to the groundwater.

"It's a huge, kind of unknown, variable," Petty added.

Division 2 Director Jack Griffiths said he agrees that water rights need to be determined.

"That reinforces my fear of putting more money into this without having the legalities settled," Griffiths said during the workshop.

Water flows

All of the water that comes to the Rainbow district is imported. Rainbow gets its supply from the San Diego County Water District, which gets its supply from the Metropolitan Water District. The Colorado River and the state water project in Northern California are the sources of the Metropolitan district, which gets about 4.4 million acre-feet of water annually to distribute to local water districts and agencies, according to Metropolitan spokesman Bob Muir.

Once coming from Metropolitan's sources, the water for Rainbow goes to Lake Skinner near Temecula for treatment, then to the county water authority.

Muir said Metropolitan's board supports local districts' efforts to diversify water sources.

"That increases the pool of water available for Southern California," Muir added.

Contact staff writer Lorell Fleming at (760) 731-5798 or

North County Times - North San Diego and Southwest Riverside County columnists

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