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Group Says San Diego County Water Quality ‘Fair’

Aired 12/15/11 on KPBS News.

San Diego Coastkeeper has released a report showing most of San Diego County's water quality is ranked as "fair."

Coastkeeper's 2011 Water Quality Monitoring data show minimal improvements of the water conditions throughout San Diego County compared with 2010 data.

Sweetwater Reservoir, located in San Diego's East County.
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Above: Sweetwater Reservoir, located in San Diego's East County.

The data shows Sweetwater Watershed's water quality score improved by 20 percent and Tijuana and San Dieguito Watersheds' water conditions worsened.

The 20-percent improvement in Sweetwater watershed's score means the number of times contaminants exceeded healthy levels dropped by 50 percent this year, or Coastkeeper detected pollution less often.

In spite of the improvement, Sweetwater Watershed's water quality still remains in fair condition.

"The biggest source of pollution in county waterways is from urban runoff," said Travis Pritchard, San Diego Coastkeeper's Water Quality Monitoring Program Manager. "Contaminants coming from either pesticides or fertilizers used in the yard, or oil dripping from your car."

He said the best thing people can do to help is to minimize urban runoff.

"Keep the water that falls onto your property, on your property and try to minimize how much of that ends up in creeks and streams," said Pritchard. "One example of that in the summer would be not hosing off your driveway because everything that's picked up is going to go down in the ocean."

Coastkeeper's analysis shows other watersheds in the county, mainly Los Peñasquitos, Otay, San Luis Rey, San Diego, Pueblos and Carlsbad Watersheds, also showed minimal improvement in the water quality, but all remain in fair condition

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