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Opinion: Your Tap is the Safest Source of Water During this Pandemic

As we Americans face these unprecedented times, many are rushing to the store to stock up on bottled water and other supplies. At Helix Water District, we want to remind you that your tap water is still safe and reliable.

While it’s always advisable to have a reasonable amount of emergency water on hand, the coronavirus outbreak is not a situation that will require a stockpile of bottled water. You will still have access to safe, clean water from your tap, as always.

There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through tap water. The illness primarily transfers from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Tap water is safe, reliable

At Helix Water District, we work diligently 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure your tap water is safe to drink, meeting all state and federal quality regulations. We collect and analyze 200 water samples a day to ensure our treatment process is effective. Our water treatment process includes disinfecting the water with ozone to chemically deactivate and physically remove viruses, bacteria and other organisms.

We also work around the clock to ensure water reaches your home. Such an operation requires an immense system and continuous upkeep. That is why the district prioritizes preventive maintenance and scheduled improvements. It is also the reason that when you turn on a faucet — day or night — you don’t have to worry about whether the water will be there.

Some customers don’t realize that because Helix Water District is a public agency, it cannot make a profit. Beyond that, all Helix staff undergo thorough emergency preparedness training. We’re ready to support our community through any crisis, whether it’s a global pandemic or wildfire. We are here for you.

Even now Helix Water District employees are treating, monitoring and delivering your tap water, making sure you have water when and how you need it. We will do so throughout the duration of this emergency and beyond when things return to normal.

Helix will continue to monitor the evolving public health emergency, just as we’re sure you are, and we will update our website and social media with important information about your water delivery. In an abundance of caution, we are closed to the public and we recommend paying online or over the phone at 855-276-8053. We may have closed our lobbies, but not our operations.

At Helix Water District, we have always been committed to operational excellence and maximum efficiency. We want to make sure our customers have the safe, reliable water they need, whenever they need it, and we will do whatever we can to make that happen.

The Nieves family's landscape makeover project won the Sweetwater Authority's contest in 2019. Photo: Sweetwater Authority 2020 landscape makeover

2020 Landscape Makeover Competition Opens Call For Entries

Fourteen water agencies in San Diego County seek the best in landscaping makeover projects for the regional WaterSmart 2020 Landscape Makeover competition. The annual contest offers the opportunity to showcase residential waterwise landscaping as a way to inspire other homeowners to consider replacing water-guzzling turf based designs.

The contest deadline for all participating agencies is April 27. Homeowners may submit their entry online. You must be a resident within agency boundaries to participate. Each agency winner receives a $250 gift certificate and recognition on the agency website and social media channels.

Deborah Brandt's winning landscape includes contrasting elements, such a cactus, river rock and wood chips, against a backdrop of dramatic magenta, purple and striking orange. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

Deborah Brandt’s 2019 winning landscape for the Vista Irrigation District includes contrasting elements, such as cactus, river rock and wood chips, against a backdrop of dramatic magenta, purple and striking orange. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

Participating agencies include California American Water, the cities of Escondido, Oceanside, and San Diego, Fallbrook Public Utility District, Helix Water District, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Otay Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Rincon Del Diablo Water District, San Dieguito Water District, Sweetwater Authority, Vallecitos Water District, and Vista Irrigation District.

“With rebates available for turf removal, now is a great time to replace your lawn with a beautiful WaterSmart landscape,” said Brent Reyes, water conservation specialist for the Vista Irrigation District.

Turf removal saves estimated 36 million gallons annually

La Mesa residents Bob and Shan Cissell transformed 2,500 square feet of turf into their own Conservation Garden in La Mesa, winning the 2019 Oty Water District Landscaping Contest. Photo: Otay Water District

La Mesa residents Bob and Shan Cissell transformed 2,500 square feet of turf into their own conservation garden in La Mesa, winning the 2019 Otay Water District Landscaping Contest. Photo: Otay Water District

With a majority of residential water use in San Diego County attributed to watering landscapes, regional water efficiency efforts focus on outdoor water use.  By showcasing their beautiful landscape in the WaterSmart Landscape Contest, homeowners can offer ideas and demonstrate how waterwise landscaping can be attractive as well.

Thanks to ongoing education and incentives, San Diego County residents have targeted more than one million square feet of turf grass for replacement with WaterSmart landscaping through free landscape makeover classes sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority between 2013 and 2018. The Water Authority has documented an estimated savings of 33 million gallons annually,

Online landscape makeover tips available

If you need some inspiration or guidance, WaterSmartSD offers landscape makeover videos you can view on demand. This series of videos mirrors the content of the in-person workshops and four-class series. Each video takes you step-by-step through the process of creating your own beautiful, water-efficient landscape.

From measuring your property to getting to know your soil to picking the right plants for the right place, these entertaining and informative videos will guide you along the path to a WaterSmart landscape.

In addition, WaterSmartSD provides a list of online resources and guides to planning your landscape design project, soil analysis, compost and mulch, plant choices, and irrigation.

For additional information on 2020 Landscape Makeover Contest entry rules, go to WaterSmartLandscapes.

Click on the gallery below for more 2020 landscape makeover inspiration from past winners.

 

 

Carlsbad Desalination Plant-Building-WNN-primary-March 2020

COVID-19: Carlsbad Desal Plant Workers Shelter-in-Place to Keep the Water On

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused companies and organizations around San Diego County to take measures to continue serving the public.

As of Friday, 10 workers are quarantined inside the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plan for the next three weeks, monitoring and adjusting gauges and switches, watching for leaks, and doing whatever is needed to safeguard San Diego County’s only significant local source of drinking water.

COVID-19 pandemic prompts ‘extraordinary steps’

“We asked some employees to be locked down at the plant for 21 days to isolate the risk of infection,” said Gilad Cohen, CEO of IDE Americas, the global company that operates the Carlsbad plant and others around the world.

The request for volunteers was a precaution against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “mission critical” employees will work 12-hour shifts, sleep in rented recreational vehicles in the parking lot, and be resupplied with fresh food left for them at the plant’s gate. They will be furnished with washers and dryers to do their own laundry, and the desalination plant’s kitchen and cafeteria are available to them.

Read the rest of the story from The San Diego Union-Tribune here: https://bit.ly/2wz5pZd

The San Diego County Water Authority purchases up to 56,000 acre-feet of water from the Carlsbad plant per year – enough to serve approximately 400,000 people annually.

The plant is a major component of the Water Authority’s multi-decade strategy to diversify the county’s water supply portfolio and minimize vulnerability to drought or other water supply emergencies.

“While the on-site team shelters in place, a second team is remaining in isolation at home and fully prepared to take over plant operations should any situation arise that would necessitate a change in staffing or if the COVID-19 threat extends beyond 21 days,” according to a statement from Poseidon Water.

“Poseidon Water is working in close coordination with the San Diego County Water Authority, IDE Americas Inc. and the California State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water and will continue to evaluate the situation and take any necessary steps to ensure uninterrupted production and delivery of safe drinking water from the Carlsbad Desalination Plant.”

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San Diego Region’s Water Supplies Safe to Drink

The San Diego region’s water supplies remain safe to drink.

The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have increased regional coordination and communication to ensure the coronavirus pandemic does not impact safe and secure water service for San Diego County.

Public water supplies in the San Diego region remain safe to drink due to numerous robust treatment processes used by local and regional water providers.

Despite widespread fears about coronavirus, there’s no evidence that the virus is transmitted through treated water. The U.S. EPA recommends that Americans continue to use and drink tap water as usual.

Robust water treatment processes used by water providers

Drinking water provided by the Water Authority and its member agencies is treated by a combination of technologies – including sedimentation, filtration and disinfection – that chemically deactivate and physically remove bacteria, viruses and other contaminants.

To ensure continued water supply safety, the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies continuously monitor and test supplies throughout the treatment process, while maintaining uninterrupted operation in compliance with state and federal water quality standards.

Emergency Operations Center activated

To support continued operation of critical infrastructure, the Water Authority has activated its Emergency Operations Center, increasing the region’s ability to respond to any challenges that emerge.

The EOC supports the need for enhanced communication between the Water Authority and its member agencies as the public health crisis evolves. In addition, the agencies have back-up plans to assist each other should key personnel be unable to work.

“In these unprecedented times, the region’s water agencies are collaborating in complete solidarity to perform our vital mission of providing safe and reliable water supplies,” said Sandra L. Kerl, general manager of the Water Authority. “We are taking strategic, precautionary steps to ensure the region’s water security.”

‘Critical’ water agency staff continue work

Water agency employees identified as critical to operation and maintenance of key infrastructure will continue to report to work and conduct normal job functions while complying with enhanced safety precautions such as social distancing measures.

Non-critical staff at many agencies, including the Water Authority, are telecommuting or will begin remote work shortly to minimize the potential for virus transmission.

Until further notice, the Water Authority will hold its Board meetings remotely. A schedule of meetings, Board documents and live streaming of meetings will continue to be at www.sdcwa.org/meetings-and-documents.

Many water agencies across the region, including the Water Authority, have temporarily closed their offices to the public. Residents should consult their water provider’s website for additional information. Residents who don’t know what agency provides their water can find out by entering their address at www.sdcwa.org/find-your-water-district/.

How to stay healthy – Coronavirus

According to the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, coronavirus is spread from person to person contact, breathing or contacting respiratory droplets from an infected person, and contacting surfaces contaminated with the virus.

Here’s what you can do to stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For more information about virus prevention and treatment, go to the CDC’s website or the County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency.

If your cat is using the kitchen faucet as a water fountain, you might need to fix a leak during Fix-A-Leak Week 2020. Photo: Stratman2/Pixabay

Take Ten Minutes to Track Down Leaks During Fix-A-Leak Week 2020

Easily fixed water leaks in American households account for nearly one trillion gallons of water wasted annually. The average household leaks nearly 10,000 gallons of water every year. This would wash 300 loads of laundry and could cost you an additional 10% on your water bill.

Fix-A-Leak Week 2020 is March 16-22. It was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is supported by WaterSense partners across the U.S. and Canada, including the San Diego County Water Authority and many of its 24 member agencies.

The Sweetwater Authority will join other water agencies in California, Texas, and Oregon for a Fix-A-Leak Week 2020 “Twitter Party” to help consumers virtually with tips on tracking down leaks and other ways to save water.

In 2019, “leak detectives” across the U.S. put their tools, checklists, and dye tablets to work in bathrooms, kitchens, at faucets and spigots around their homes and joined EPA in the annual Fix a Leak Week by donning their leak detective hats and grabbing their sleuthing gear to find and fix common household leaks. Leaks were detected and fixed in bathrooms – toilets, showerheads and faucets, outside at spigots and in many other locations.

It takes just 10 minutes to perform a quick search of your home for leaks. Many of the most common leaks are easy for anyone to fix such as worn-out toilet flappers, leaky showerheads, and dripping faucets. They require basic tools and hardware.

Here are a few handy tips for finding leaks:

  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak.
  • Identify toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, you have a leak. Flush immediately after this to avoid staining the tank.
  • Turn on your shower and look for drips or stray sprays you can stop with tape.
  • Under sinks, check for pooling water under pipes. Look for rust around joints and edges caused by leaking water.
  • Check under your water heater tank for pooling water, rust, or other signs of leaks.
  • Check all spigots outside. Fixing a leak might be as simple as securing the hose connection, or replacing a worn-out washer.

Find more guides and videos you might find helpful in finding and fixing leaks on the EPA’s “Fix-A-Leak Week” website.

1st Place, “Blessed Stream,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10 winning photos

Sweetwater Authority Displays Winning Photos at Board Reception

Ten South Bay area high school students were honored for their winning photos at the March 11 Sweetwater Authority Governing Board meeting.

Nearly 100 students from Sweetwater’s service area entered its annual water photo contest, which challenges students to showcase the importance of water in everyday life through photography. Students submitted photos in two categories.

The following students took the top honors:

Color Photo Category:

1st Place, “Blessed Stream,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

1st Place, “Blessed Stream,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10 winning photos

1st Place, “Blessed Stream,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

2nd Place, “Pouring Out,” Stephanie Mauricio, Sweetwater High School, Grade 12

2nd Place, “Pouring Out,” Stephanie Mauricio, Sweetwater High School, Grade 12 winning photos

2nd Place, “Pouring Out,” Stephanie Mauricio, Sweetwater High School, Grade 12

3rd Place, “Running River Water,” Erick Gallardo II, Sweetwater High School, Grade 11

3rd Place, “Running River Water,” Erick Gallardo II, Sweetwater High School, Grade 11

3rd Place, “Running River Water,” Erick Gallardo II, Sweetwater High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “An Apple a Day,” Jaliyah Journigan, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “An Apple a Day,” Jaliyah Journigan, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “An Apple a Day,” Jaliyah Journigan, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “Aqueous Perspective,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “Aqueous Perspective,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “Aqueous Perspective,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “Sun + Splash,” Kaitlyn Vu, Hilltop High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “Sun + Splash,” Kaitlyn Vu, Hilltop High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “Sun + Splash,” Kaitlyn Vu, Hilltop High School, Grade 11

Black & White Category:

1st Place, “Last Glass,” Tiffany Mayoral, Hilltop High School, Grade 11

1st Place, “Last Glass,” Tiffany Mayoral, Hilltop High School, Grade 11 winning photos

1st Place, “Last Glass,” Tiffany Mayoral, Hilltop High School, Grade 11

2nd Place, “Daily Utilities,” Carlos Guerrero, Sweetwater High School, Grade 9

2nd Place, “Daily Utilities,” Carlos Guerrero, Sweetwater High School, Grade 9 winning photos

2nd Place, “Daily Utilities,” Carlos Guerrero, Sweetwater High School, Grade 9

3rd Place, “Thirsty Tom,” Valeria Cano, Chula Vista High School, Grade 12

3rd Place, “Thirsty Tom,” Valeria Cano, Chula Vista High School, Grade 12

3rd Place, “Thirsty Tom,” Valeria Cano, Chula Vista High School, Grade 12

Honorable Mention, “My Memories,” and “Less Developed Countries,” Rosa Marquez, Chula Vista High School, Grade 10

“My Memories,” Rosa Marquez, Chula Vista High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “My Memories,” Rosa Marquez, Chula Vista High School, Grade 10

“Less Developed Countries,” Rosa Marquez, Chula Vista High School, Grade 10

“Less Developed Countries,” Rosa Marquez, Chula Vista High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “Drying Off,” Katherine Ochoa, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “Drying Off,” Katherine Ochoa, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “Drying Off,” Katherine Ochoa, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “Floating,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “Floating,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “Floating,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

All winning photos will be on display at the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center beginning in April.

READ MORE: Ten High School Photographers Honored by Helix Water District

 

Inspired by the San Diego County Water Authority's free landscape makeover classes, Vallecitos Water District employee Eileen Koonce transformed her own landscaping. Photo: Vallecitos Water District example watersmart landscaping

Vallecitos Water District Employee Leads By Example With WaterSmart Landscaping Makeover

Vallecitos Water District Development Services Coordinator Eileen Koonce transformed the front yard at her new home into a beautiful water-efficient design with help from the San Diego County Water Authority’s Landscape Makeover Program.

As a new homeowner, when Koonce received her first water bill, she decided to figure out a way to reduce her water bill and her water usage. She realized the thirsty lawn covering the front yard had to go.

“As an employee of the District, we are always talking to customers about how they can reduce water use in their landscape, and what better time to put that theme to use than in my own yard,” said Koonce.

The Vallecitos Water District was hosting the Water Authority’s WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program at the time. After Koonce saw the great turnout, she decided she wanted to participate in the program.

Knowledgeable instructors guide participants

Homeowner Eileen Koonce discovered watersmart landscaping can be colorful and attractive. Photo: Vallecitos Water District example watersmart landscaping

Homeowner Eileen Koonce discovered watersmart landscaping can be colorful and attractive. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Koonce said she enjoyed working with the instructors.

“They bring the language down to the do-it-yourselfers,” she said. “They walk you through every part of it and if you have questions, they can help you out. You feel empowered because you can understand the process.”

Koonce tackled most of the design work herself with the help of instructors, who are licensed landscape architects. They also helped Koonce pick out the plants and choose an irrigation system.

She also applied for a turf rebate through the Metropolitan Water District’s Turf Rebate Program. Koonce said the application process was easy for her to follow, and she met all the criteria for acceptance into the program.

Video tour of Eileen Koonce’s new landscaping

New landscape a pollinators’ paradise

Koonce wanted a garden that would attract butterflies and birds, especially hummingbirds. She says her top takeaway from the WaterSmart course is how many attractive landscape options exist. Many beautiful, flowering plants do not require a lot of water.

“The WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series is a great way to gather the skills needed to make your front yard transformation happen,” said Michelle Landis, course instructor and Registered Landscape Architect. “The WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series also teaches the skills needed to tap into the new, local turf removal rebates. We invite you to join us for one of the sessions above to transform your front yard into money-saving, WaterSmart design.”

Koonce said she realizes a $70 per month savings on her water bill since her landscape makeover. And no longer spends time mowing a lawn.

Register now for workshops and class series

Eileen Koonce says she was able to install her own landscaping with the help she received from instructors. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Eileen Koonce says she was able to install her own landscaping with the help she received from instructors. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

The WaterSmart education program offers free three-hour workshops and a four-class landscaping makeover series. Three-hour workshops are scheduled on weeknights and Saturdays from March through October.

The four-class series is currently enrolling participants for March in Encinitas and in El Cajon. The series is also open in Oceanside and San Diego in April. Find participation requirements and register for the free series online at WaterSmartSD.org.

Water Authority Board Honors Retiring Otay Water District GM Mark Watton

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors on Thursday honored Otay Water District General Manager Mark Watton for 37 years of public service in the water industry.

The Board issued a proclamation congratulating Watton on “his long and distinguished service to San Diego County upon his upcoming retirement from the Otay Water District” and commended him “for a lifetime of service that has improved the quality of life in our region.”

After 15 years leading the water agency that serves Southeastern San Diego County, and nearly four decades representing the water interests of the county and state, Watton plans to retire in late March. He first served on the Water Authority’s Board of Directors in 1985 and was Board Chair from 1995 through 1996.

“A wonderful career” — Mark Watton

Watton’s water industry career began in 1983, when he was elected to Otay’s Board of Directors. He served in that role for 18 years. Watton was then hired as Otay general manager in 2004.He currently manages the district’s $106 million annual operating budget and 138 employees.

“I’m completely satisfied. It’s been a wonderful career,” said soon-to-retire General Manager Mark Watton. “It’s so gratifying to retire in this industry, knowing there is a new generation coming in, like our new general manager, to continue doing a great job.”

Watton was referring to Otay’s Assistant Chief of Water Operations, Jose Martinez, a U.S. Navy veteran, who was recently hired to be Otay’s new general manager.

Watton also was instrumental in securing high-priority Colorado River water for San Diego County through the Quantification Settlement Agreement.

“Mark was a key player in diversifying the region’s water supply by securing highly reliable supplies from the Colorado River that will continue to benefit our region for decades,” said Water Authority Board Chair Jim Madaffer. “If we had a hall of fame for water pioneers in the San Diego region, Mark Watton would definitely be a member.”

Innovative leadership

The Otay Water District provides water, recycled water, and sewer service to approximately 224,000 customers within roughly 125 square miles of southeastern San Diego County, including the communities of Chula Vista, Jamul, Spring Valley, Rancho San Diego, and unincorporated areas of El Cajon and La Mesa, as well as Otay Mesa along the international border with Mexico.

Under Watton’s leadership, Otay has enlisted the use of drones to modernize preliminary inspections of the district’s 40 potable water reservoirs, four recycled water reservoirs, 20 pump stations, and a recycled water treatment plant. Drone technology saves employee time, improves the safety of workers performing inspections, and ultimately delivers greater value to Otay’s customers.

Watton has also presided over Otay’s deployment of its state-of-the-art leak detection and repair program that has reduced water loss 43% over seven years. In 2018, a 3.3% reduction in water loss saved Otay customers $1.3 million, helping to keep rates low.

“Not only has Mark made a significant impact locally for Otay’s service area, but also regionally and statewide,” said Otay Board President Gary Croucher. “He is an influential thought leader in the water industry and his commitment to our region is unmatched.”

Prudent financial manager

Watton’s leadership has maintained Otay’s AA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s for more than a decade. While many public agencies struggle to keep up with their pension obligations, Watton’s prudent management of Otay’s finances made it possible to fully fund the District’s Other Post-Employment Benefit plan and substantially fund its pension plan in upcoming years.

An innovator throughout his career, he identified an opportunity for a binational solution to Otay’s continued need to diversify its water supplies. On May 16, 2017, the U.S. Department of State granted Otay a presidential permit to build a nearly four-mile potable water cross-border pipeline and associated facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border for the importation of desalinated seawater produced in Mexico. Although obtaining the presidential permit was a milestone accomplishment, Otay’s part of the project is no longer moving forward.

Native plants can add beautiful color to your sustainable landscape, while attracting pollinators like hummingbirds and butterflies. Image: Water Authority

Design a Native Garden

If you haven’t finished planting your sustainable garden yet this year, you still have some time. Choose native plants that will thrive in the arid San Diego County climate.

Native plants are naturally drought-tolerant. They also support local ecosystems by providing food and habitat for pollinators, such as butterflies and hummingbirds. Native plants can fall into one of many categories: trees, succulents, perennials, shrubs, grasses, groundcovers and more.

Create your sustainable garden

Each type of plant serves a different purpose in a sustainable garden.

Trees are a great way to provide natural shade. They also catch water that runs off your roof when it rains.

Perennials often have colorful flowers that bring beautiful colors for your garden.

Groundcovers and shrubs are great for covering dry slopes and catching rainwater.

Succulents look great next to rocks or other features in your garden and are usually low-maintenance.

Need ideas for your new sustainable garden this spring?

The California Native Plant Society-San Diego Chapter will conduct its eighth annual Garden Tour, The Artful California Native Garden: Native Gardens and Art Tour of East County on Saturday, April 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Demonstrations will include how to add dry stream-bed bioswales, adjacent natural areas, water catchment devices, slope gardens, charming water features, bridges, sculptures and more in your garden.

Local artists will be meeting and greeting guests in many of the gardens and selling their California native garden themed artwork and crafts.

Tours of private residential gardens

Twelve private residential gardens will be visited on the tour, and their owners will be on-site to answer questions. At the Water Conservation Garden there will be guided demonstrations for planting and tours of the native plant garden.

When: Saturday, April 4, 2020, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Water Conservation Garden
12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West, El Cajon, 92019

Cost: $30 – $40

(L to R) Kristy MacDougall representing Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, Aaron Andrews representing State Senator Brian Jones, Rincon Del Diablo Municipal Water District Board Member Diana Towne, VWD Director Mike Sannella, VWD Director Jim Hernandez, Rainbow Municipal Water District General Manager Tom Kennedy, Jordan Chan, CSDA Senior Public Affairs Field Coordinator Chris Palmer, San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones, VWD Director Hal Martin, VWD Director Craig Elitharp.

San Marcos Student Jordan Chan Wins Statewide Video Contest

Mission Hills High School student Jordan Chan of San Marcos won third-place in the statewide 2020 California Special Districts Association video scholarship competition. The “Districts Make The Difference” contest is designed to promote public awareness and understanding of the special districts providing communities with essential services like water, sanitation, healthcare, fire protection, and parks.

Chan received his $500 scholarship prize at the February Vallecitos Water District board meeting. He received recognition from state legislators and CSDA representatives. Chan was honored with a proclamation from San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones, and certificates of recognition from the offices of State Senator Brian Jones and State Assemblywoman Marie Waldron.

San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones presents winner Jordan Chan with a certificate of appreciation at the Vallecitos Water District's February board meeting. Photo: VWD

San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones presents winner Jordan Chan with a certificate of appreciation at the Vallecitos Water District’s February board meeting. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

“Jordan is clearly a talented young Californian whose academic career the California Special Districts Association is proud to support,” said Kyle Packham, CSDA advocacy and public affairs director. “Jordan’s video will raise awareness and understanding of the special districts serving our community and encourage other students like him to become more civically engaged.”

Chan’s video showcased his skill and creativity by using a Wild West time travel theme to illustrate the importance and variety of special districts serving San Marcos and other communities throughout California, which includes the Vallecitos Water District.

Watch Jordan Chan’s CSDA winning video here.

CSDA’s statewide “Districts Make the Difference” video contest encourages high school and college students to learn about the local governments serving their classmates and families. Students were challenged to create a 60 to 90-second video highlighting how special districts have enhanced the lives of Californians through the delivery of local services and infrastructure to their community.

Students throughout California participated in the 2020 contest. Entries were scored by CSDA officials based on four criteria: accuracy and effectiveness, creativity and originality, production quality, and entertainment value. The five videos with the highest overall scores competed for public votes at the Districts Make The Difference website, where all the winning videos are posted.

In addition to Chan’s third-place win, Erubiel Monterosa of Bakersfield won first place, and Maryam Aslam of Sacramento placed second.

“Districts Make the Difference” is a public outreach campaign sponsored by CSDA to increase public awareness and understanding of special districts and promote civic engagement.