California Drought Good for Beach Water Quality

Heal the Bay says lack of rain is a main driver of why we’re enjoying great water quality

The California drought isn’t all bad news. In fact, the lack of rain has led to near-perfect conditions for swimmers and surfers enjoying the beaches in San Diego.

In a typical year, San Diego gets 7 or more inches of rain. In 2013, we received 4.25 inches and the environmental watchdog group Heal the Bay says that lack of rain is a main driver of why we’re enjoying great water quality.

However, James Alamillo, Heal the Bay’s Urban Programs Manager, warns that now is not the time for San Diego city and county officials to sit back and relax. Rather, the drought may be the perfect time to act when it comes to cleaning up storm runoff.

“It should be a call to action to those cities and the county to do a better job while we have the time now to start implementing programs and projects that capture this water,” Alamillo said in Ocean Beach Thursday.

He was presenting the group’s beach report card for the year.

“Not only treating the captured runoff but also reusing that runoff,” he said. “As the city and the county look to develop more locally-sourced water, the perfect place may not be the ocean and desalination but it may be urban runoff, may be storm water runoff and designing systems to capture that resource much more efficiently and effectively.”

The organization released its report card for all beaches in California. Click here to see the report.

Among the beaches named on the "honor roll" for excellent beaches year-round were seven San Diego County beaches. Click here for that list.

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