During the August monthly program meeting, the Blue Water Task Force hosted Water Resource Control Engineers, Melissa Corona and Helen Yu of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Their presentation offered a general overview of our region’s Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment program. The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board implements and enforces the state’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act (1969) and the federal Clean Water Act in San Diego County and parts of Riverside and Orange Counties.

According to their website, the mission of the San Diego Water Board is “to preserve, enhance, and restore the quality of California’s water resources and drinking water for the protection of the environment, public health, and all beneficial uses, and to ensure proper water resource allocation and efficient use, for the benefit of present and future generations.”

In a general sense, the San Diego Water Board establishes water quality objectives (via the Basin Plan), develops permits, requires and participates in Monitoring and Assessment, ensures compliance, conducts enforcement, and participates in education and outreach.

More specifically, our discussion explored the topic of what an “assessment” actually means and what that process entails. The San Diego Water Board’s approach to monitoring and assessment has traditionally focused on individual discharges; but with a discharge-oriented approach, important basic information is not revealed (e.g., conditions in water bodies, causes of unsatisfactory conditions, and effectiveness of management actions). To manage these issues, they have developed a framework for monitoring and assessment (the M&A framework) in the San Diego region that includes identifying unsatisfactory conditions, stressors, source identification monitoring, and performance monitoring. The key emphasis of the M&A framework includes using information obtained from each assessment process to effectively prioritize management activities and make informed management decisions.

To learn more about their role in monitoring and assessment, read the San Diego Water Board Practical Vision document.

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