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WNN-San Diego Press Club Awards-Best Website

Water News Network is Best Public Website for 4th Consecutive Year

The Water News Network was awarded first place as the Best Public Service or Consumer Advocacy Website in the 48th annual San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards. It’s the fourth consecutive year the WNN website has won first place in that category. The award was announced during a virtual ceremony on October 25. Last year the California Public Information Officers Organization, or CAPIO, named the WNN the “Best Website” among California public agencies.

Water News Network website features original content

San Diego County Water Authority public affairs staffers Ed Joyce and Kimberlyn Velasquez also were recognized with awards for their work on the Water News Network. Velasquez was awarded second place for Photography/Video in the Feature-Light Subject category for her video, “Hydroelectric and Pressure Control Facility Upgrades.” Joyce received a second place in the Series-Light Subject category for the WNN series, “Water Utility Hero of the Week” and a third place in the Environment category for his WNN original story, “La Niña and California’s New Water Year.”

In only its fourth year of operation, the Water News Network is viewed as a reliable source of factual information upholding the standards of journalism to benefit the Water Authority, its 24 member agencies, its stakeholders, and the residents of San Diego County.

The San Diego Press Club honors the region’s best communicators in media each year at the Excellence in Journalism Awards. The presentation of awards was held virtually at the San Diego Automotive Museum on October 25. More than 500 awards in 130 categories and 10 divisions were awarded to San Diego’s reporters, writers, artists, photographers, videographers and public relations professionals. College media were also honored.

The award entries were judged by members of 15 journalism professional organizations from around the country, including press clubs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Rochester, Florida, Cleveland, Orange County, Milwaukee, Tulsa and Alaska, according to the San Diego Press Club.

Photography/Video, Feature-Light Subject, 2nd Place, Kimberlyn Velasquez

Gary Croucher-Board Chair-San Diego County Water Authority-Primary

A Model for Dealing with Climate Change

I’m so gratified to report that due to your efforts, today’s New York Times features a lengthy story recognizing the benefits of the San Diego County water reliability strategy – an approach that aligns with Gov. Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio.

The article addresses our region’s role in the nation’s largest ag-to-urban water conservation project, along with the conservation ethic embraced by homes and businesses across the region, and current investments in potable water reuse, which is the next major source of supply for the region.

The Times cited the Public Policy Institute of California – a leading think tank – commending the San Diego region’s efforts. And the story said our collective “try-everything approach to getting water has emerged as a model for cities — including Denver and Albuquerque — where leaders are dealing with one of climate change’s most dire effects.” Also today, the Southern California News Group published an editorial that showcased local investments as a model.

While we celebrate these recognitions, we remain acutely aware of the severe and worsening drought conditions across the West – and how important it is for the San Diego County to continue being a leader in statewide drought defenses. That’s why our Board next week will consider activating our drought response plan. This action supports the governor’s request that local water suppliers implement plans responsive to local conditions, and his extension of the drought emergency declaration to San Diego County.

Vista Irrigation District-Water Shortage Contingency Plan-drought-WaterSmart

Water Authority Prepares to Activate Water Shortage Contingency Plan

The San Diego County Water Authority is preparing to activate Level 1 – Voluntary Conservation of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan in support of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s efforts to sustain California after two record-dry years. The agency’s 36-member Board of Directors will decide at its formal monthly meeting on Oct. 28 whether to activate the drought response plan, following today’s recommendation by staff.

While the San Diego region continues to have long-term water resilience and reliable water supplies due to decades of conservation efforts and ratepayer investments, Water Authority General Manager Sandra L. Kerl said it’s critical to advance statewide efforts to combat drought.

“This is an all-hands moment,” said Kerl. “We are fully supportive of the governor’s efforts and fully engaged in helping residents and businesses do their part each and every day.”

Activate Water Shortage Contingency Plan

On Tuesday Oct. 19, Gov. Newsom extended his drought emergency declaration to cover the entire state and asked the State Water Board to ban wasteful water practices such as using potable water for washing driveways and sidewalks. In addition, the governor directed water suppliers to implement Water Shortage Contingency Plans, which are responsive to local supply-demand conditions.

The Water Authority’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan is designed for situations in which the agency’s supplies have been reduced. Previous versions of the plan have been activated twice before – once in 2007 and again in 2014. While the region isn’t currently facing supply reductions, Kerl said the recommendation to go to Level 1 sends a signal that voluntary conservation efforts are necessary, and it gives local retail water agencies flexibility to address local conditions.

In line with Gov. Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio, San Diego County’s diversified water resources reduce pressure on the State Water Project and make more water available to other areas of the state hit hardest by drought. The Water Authority helped enact the nation’s largest ag-to-urban conservation project to sustain the region’s $253 billion economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million people. In addition, the region’s per capita water use is down nearly 50% since 1990.

Take actions to prevent water waste

“While we are hopeful that a wet winter will take the edge off this current drought, we need to recognize that may not be the case,” Kerl said. “The entire American West is facing hot and dry conditions not seen in our lifetimes, and the realities of climate change mean we need to prepare for this as the new normal.

“We have resources to help as every resident and business owner takes this call seriously and looks for ways they can take meaningful actions to prevent water waste.”

At Level 1 of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan, the Water Authority will enhance regional outreach and education to promote conservation. The agency offers numerous tools to make the most of every drop at www.watersmartsd.org. Resources include:

  • Water-use efficient landscape classes for residential and professional landscapers
  • Rebates for indoor and outdoor water saving devices
  • Rebates for turf replacement
  • Water-use checkups for homes and businesses that include water-saving recommendations

The Water Authority is also developing a program to increase installation of low-flow toilets in low-income communities, and it’s looking for opportunities to help the parts of the state that are suffering from extreme water shortages. The Water Authority has groundwater stored in the Central Valley that could be exchanged or sold, and the Water Authority is seeking partners who could benefit from increasing water production at the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant.

The 2021 water year was the driest in California in more than a century, but San Diego County continues to have reliable water supplies due to long-term investments in water sources and infrastructure, coupled with extensive water conservation efforts.

Every drop of water is precious. Maximizing irrigation efficiency goes a long way toward conserving our water resources. Photo: Ju Irun / Pixabay

Boost Your Irrigation IQ

To support and protect your investment in waterwise landscaping, you need to have a strong irrigation IQ and understand the basics. You’ll be able to best maintain and maximize your system’s efficiency, which is vitally important during times of drought in the San Diego region.

Conventional irrigation systems can be inefficient

Letting sprinklers run to excess is an example of a poorly performing irrigation system due to bad design, inadequate maintenance, and improper management and it's unacceptable. Photo: Wolfgang Bantz irrigation IQ

Letting sprinklers run to excess is an example of a poorly performing irrigation system due to bad design, inadequate maintenance, and improper management and it’s unacceptable. Photo: Wolfgang Bantz

Well-designed and operated systems can reliably deliver the necessary water to sustain your landscaping without waste or excess. Poorly performing systems can suffer due to bad design, inadequate maintenance, and improper management.

A shutoff valve (ball valve) can be manually operated to cut off the water supply in the event of a leak, a malfunction, or a major repair.

The anti-siphon valve, when activated by an irrigation controller, delivers water through a PVC pipe lateral irrigation line, ultimately reaching the sprinkler head, which applies the water to your landscaping.

Intelligent irrigation systems operate efficiently

Efficient irrigation components are designed to operate at lower pressure levels, as specified by each product manufacturer. Devices are more likely to fail under excess pressure, and damage can occur.

A pressure regulator will eliminate excess pressure.

A submeter can be installed where the irrigation system tees off the mainline to the house. It is a recommended option for large properties to keep track of the actual volume of water being applied to the landscape. Single-family homes typically have a single mixed-use meter which doesn’t distinguish between indoor and outdoor water use. An alternative is to install a flow sensor working in tandem with a smart controller.

Low-volume irrigation devices like rotary nozzles and micro or drip irrigation are designed to deliver water to the landscape at a slower rate. This better approximates the infiltration rate of the soil and reduces runoff.

Smart controllers will automatically adjust irrigation schedules in response to changing weather conditions. They come in two varieties. ET controllers monitor weather conditions. Soil moisture-based controllers directly sample the moisture in the ground. These devices also have features like “cycle and soak functions that can help eliminate runoff. When selecting a controller, look for brands with the EPA WaterSense ® label.

This article is part of a year-long series inspired by the 71-page Sustainable Landscapes Program guidebook. The Water Authority and its partners also offer other great resources for landscaping upgrades, including free WaterSmart classes at WaterSmartSD.org.

EPA WaterSense-QWEL-Primary-Water Conservation

Water Authority Wins National 2021 EPA WaterSense Excellence Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the San Diego County Water Authority with a 2021 WaterSense Excellence Award for advancing water efficiency through its Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper, or QWEL, program. The Water Authority received one of 34 WaterSense awards last week at the national WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Water Authority pivoted its QWEL courses to a virtual format. The Water Authority partnered with San Diego Gas & Electric to install nearly 4,000 WaterSense-labeled showerheads for county residents and helped reduce outdoor water waste by using its WaterSmart Contractor Incentive Program to install more than 1,000 WaterSense-labeled irrigation controller stations, saving more than 6 million gallons of water.

“Working collaboratively with the EPA to increase water efficiency by training hundreds of landscape professionals each year makes a significant contribution to saving water, especially during dry times,” said Gary Croucher, Board chair of the San Diego County Water Authority. “The QWEL program is an effective education program for landscape professionals that provides the knowledge and skills needed to help our communities save water and keep landscapes healthy and beautiful.”

EPA WaterSense-QWEL-Excellence Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the San Diego County Water Authority with a 2021 WaterSense Excellence Award for advancing water efficiency through its Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper, or QWEL, program.

As one of the first QWEL providers in Southern California, the Water Authority has helped to expand the program’s branded outreach and educational outcomes. Since the January 2016 launch of QWEL, more than 1,400 San Diego landscape professionals have participated, making the region’s program one of the largest in the nation. More than 800 landscape professionals have earned QWEL certificates in the San Diego region over the past six years by passing a rigorous national test.

Landscape water efficiency

The Water Authority promotes English and Spanish QWEL training in collaboration with trade associations, faith-based organizations, English-as-a-Second-Language programs, community colleges and Master Gardeners associations. Nearly all (99%) program participants surveyed said the class would help them better manage landscape water efficiency, and 98% rated the class good or excellent.

This is the third time the Water Authority has achieved the Excellence Award for the QWEL program, which is certified by EPA to significantly increase water management skills and knowledge among landscape professionals.

WaterSense works

WaterSense, a voluntary partnership program sponsored by EPA, is both a label for water-efficient products and homes and a resource for helping consumers learn ways to save water. Since the program started in 2006, WaterSense labeled products have helped consumers and businesses save 5.3 trillion gallons of water – enough water to supply all households in the United States with water for 200 days! In addition to water savings, WaterSense has helped reduce the amount of energy needed to heat, pump, and treat water by 603 billion kilowatt hours and save $108 billion in water and energy bills.

“In 2020, our WaterSense partners continued to make saving water possible by educating consumers and businesses about WaterSense and water-efficient behaviors,” said Veronica Blette, the WaterSense program manager. “Our award winners’ creative and committed approaches to water conservation helped consumers save water, energy, and money on their utility bills at a time when they needed it most.”

The San Diego regional QWEL program is made possible in part by grant funds from voter-approved Proposition 1 administered by the California Department of Water Resources.

For more information about WaterSense go to: :www.epa.gov/watersense.

For more about the Water Authority’s QWEL program, go to: https://qwel.watersmartsd.org/.

Irrigation-Conservation Corner-drought-Water Conservation

Choosing Your Best Irrigation Method: Spray or Drip

Your choices in irrigation methods come down to spray or drip systems. Spray irrigation emits water in an overlapping pattern. Drip irrigation delivers water directly to the roots of plants. This question is more important than ever during a drought cycle. How do you decide which meets the needs of your landscaping?

The case for spray irrigation

Ensuring that spray heads are properly tuned and far enough away from buildings or impermeable surfaces helps maximize your water efficiency. Photo: California Department of Water Resources

Ensuring that spray heads are properly tuned and far enough away from buildings or impermeable surfaces helps maximize your water efficiency. Photo: California Department of Water Resources

Spray irrigation can be an efficient way to irrigate large landscapes with groundcover or uniform plant materials like lawns or meadows.

Spray systems apply water in gallons per minute, so if you know the application rate of each spray head, the distance between the heads, and the pressure of your system, it is relatively easy to figure out how much water is applied every time you run your irrigation.

Low volume spray heads apply water at about one-third the rate of conventional spray heads. Newer spray irrigation heads have improved spray with heavier droplets more resistant to wind. Landscaping with grade changes using spray heads should have check valves installed to prevent water flowing out of the lower point heads.

Challenges of spray irrigation include narrow areas surrounded by hardscape or irregular patterns. Irregular patterns are particularly challenging because spray irrigation requires head-to-head coverage to be efficient. Odd-shaped areas may be under or overwatered. High-volume spray heads that emit water at a much higher rate than the soil can absorb should be replaced.

The case for drip irrigation

Drip systems apply water in gallons per hour, so they often need to run for longer periods of time than spray systems. But the actual run time must always account for precipitation rate and runoff.

Installation of subsurface systems (under at least two inches of mulch) is the most efficient way to irrigate nearly every type of garden area. Since the tubing is flexible, it can accommodate a variety of irregularly shaped areas or rectangular areas when laid in a grid pattern, and in rings you can easily expand as trees or shrubs grow.

Challenges of drip irrigation include the application of water too quickly for your soil to absorb. This needs to be considered when dripline grids are installed. Drip irrigation operates the most efficiently at low pressure (between 15 and 30 PSI). To achieve optimal performance, pressure regulation either at the valve or at the point of connection of the dripline to the buried lateral lines must be used. It is also essential to install some type of filtering system to keep the emitters from getting clogged.

This article is part of a year-long series inspired by the 71-page Sustainable Landscapes Program guidebook. The Water Authority and its partners also offer other great resources for landscaping upgrades, including free WaterSmart classes at WaterSmartSD.org.

Gary Croucher-Board Chair-San Diego County Water Authority-Primary

Water Authority’s Ratepayer Protection Case Secures Additional $36 Million Recovery

I am pleased to announce a decision by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Board of Directors to pay the San Diego County Water Authority damages and statutory interest for illegal water charges from 2015-2017, totaling about $36 million. MWD’s vote followed a California Court of Appeal decision upholding earlier rulings in favor of San Diego.

This payment will bring the Water Authority’s cash recovery on behalf of San Diego County water agencies and ratepayers to more than $80 million. An additional award of attorneys’ fees to the Water Authority, still on appeal, is expected to bring the cash recovery to almost $94 million for rates and charges set by the Los Angeles-based wholesaler over an 8-year period from 2010-2017. Adding in avoided rate increases when MWD stopped imposing the illegal rate, brings the total savings for San Diego County ratepayers to almost $140 million over the 10-year period at issue in the cases.

Collaboration with MWD

I want to thank General Manager Adel Hagekhalil, Chairwoman Gloria Gray and the entire MWD Board for taking this important step toward a more collaborative future. This provides exactly the kind of catalyst we need to resolve the remaining issues between our two agencies.

I also want to acknowledge the collaboration with our peers at MWD over the past several months, working together on the challenges we face including the severe drought conditions across California and how to maintain an affordable and reliable water supply for all of our collective member agencies and ratepayers.

The recovery aligns with the Water Authority’s focus on taking all actions necessary to protect our ratepayers and ensure affordable water rates for future generations. Litigation is never welcome or easy and it wasn’t in this case. But our Board felt there was too much at stake and that an independent tribunal was needed to address and resolve our respective concerns.

Ratepayer protection litigation

Announcement of these ratepayer benefits follows the Water Authority’s distribution seven months ago of a $44 million recovery from MWD for damages and interest in earlier 2011-2014 cases. The money – refunded to the Water Authority’s member agencies in proportion to their overpayments – also resulted from the Water Authority’s ratepayer protection litigation in state Superior Court and positioned its member agencies to reduce future regional water rate increases.

Importantly, the court rulings and guidance are also expected to help avoid future potential taxation of San Diego County ratepayers and minimize future disputes over MWD’s rates.

In February 2020, after the Court of Appeal ruled MWD’s “rate structure integrity” clause unconstitutional, MWD changed its rules to allow Water Authority member agencies to apply for benefits. As a result, the Water Authority’s Board of Directors voted to dismiss these issues from the litigation. Since then, the Water Authority has assisted its member agencies in obtaining nearly $500 million in MWD funding agreements including the City of San Diego’s Pure Water project, which is funded by rates paid by all MWD member agencies including the Water Authority.

The Water Authority is currently working collaboratively with MWD and its member agencies across Southern California to update MWD’s long-term water resource and financial plans. MWD’s Integrated Resources Plan, known as the IRP, will be supplemented by a new “One Water” plan intended to represent the agency’s roadmap for the future and focusing on enhanced collaboration with its member agencies.

Members of the Rasmusssen family (L to R) Ed, Eric, and Howard Rasmussen. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Dinner Table Lessons Launch Water Industry Careers

Jobs in the water and wastewater industry provide stable employment in meaningful careers, delivering a vital resource families and businesses depend on. With half of all current employees expected to retire in the next 15 years, recruitment efforts hope to fill many of these essential positions.

Family ties provide a positive influence in filling these roles with the next generation of water professionals in several water agencies in San Diego County.

In many professions, exposure to career choices at the dinner table has a statistically significant influence. For more than four decades, the University of Chicago has tracked family and career trends in its General Social Survey. The survey found that younger generations often pursue careers due to early exposure to career paths, how they value certain skills, and even inherited aptitudes for building things or language.

Rasmussens share sense of pride

The Rasmussen family represents a collective 35 years of employment at the Sweetwater Authority. Photo: San Diego County Water AuthorityThe Rasmussen family represents a collective 35 years of employment at the Sweetwater Authority. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

The Rasmussen family – (L to R) Eric, Craig, and Howard – represents a collective 35 years of employment at the Sweetwater Authority. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Three members of the Rasmussen family are currently employed at the Sweetwater Authority.

Howard Rasmussen started 24 years ago after several attempts to land an entry-level job. He was working in construction and looking for a change.

“They’re really great jobs,” said Rasmussen, who is now a Maintenance Lead Worker helping maintain multiple facilities. “It’s quite amazing and pretty gratifying knowing I’m contributing to my community.”

Seven years ago, son Eric Rasmussen followed his father into the profession after working for a decade at a home improvement retailer and pursuing an electrical apprenticeship. His water career started as a Utility Worker, and four years ago he was promoted to Equipment Operator.

“I really do love operating,” said Eric Rasmussen. “To tag along with what my dad said, it’s so awesome. You have a sense of pride. You want to make everything so perfect when it’s in your district. You don’t want to take any shortcuts.”

Eric’s brother Craig became the third Rasmussen to work at Sweetwater Authority after earning a college degree at San Diego State University. He works as a Watershed Caretaker.

Craig Rasmussen said he applied multiple times over five years before he was hired.

“It’s not like I was a shoe-in,” said Craig. “It gave me time to do some schooling. You just don’t want to let the family name down.”

Craig and Eric’s father is proud of his sons and co-workers.

“To have two boys work for the same company, for me it’s been a blessing,” said Howard Rasmussen. “Being here with my kids I hear how they work; I hear about their attitudes. I get complimented all the time what a great job I’ve done with my kids. Not many people experience that firsthand.”

All three Rasmussens encourage others to consider water industry careers.

“My dad taught me, this is your opportunity, you have to take it,” said Eric Rasmussen.

North County legacy spans three generations

Ed Pedrazzi (far right) in 1996 with brother Jon Sherwood (second from right) and Vallecitos Water District employees Joe Lomeli and Rocky Eltzroth. Photo: Courtesy Ed Pedrazzi family ties

Ed Pedrazzi (far right) in 1996 with brother-in-law Jon Sherwood (second from right) and Vallecitos Water District employees Joe Lomeli and Rocky Eltzroth. Photo: Courtesy Ed Pedrazzi

Family ties span three generations at four different water agencies in North San Diego County.

Ed Pedrazzi works at the Vallecitos Water District as Operations and Maintenance Manager. His niece, Jessica Sherwood, is a Water Resources Assistant at the Vista Irrigation District. Jessica’s father Jon Sherwood was a Water Operation Supervisor for the Vallecitos Water District. Grandfather Amos Sherwood worked at the San Dieguito Water District from 1960 to 1990, and her uncle Terry worked at the Olivenhain Municipal Water District.

Ed Pedrazzi was hired to work in the Construction Department at Vallecitos in 1989. After completing courses at Palomar College, he became certified in Water Distribution and Treatment. Until his recent retirement from teaching, Pedrazzi taught modern water technology courses at Palomar to a new generation of professionals.

Vista Irrigation District Water Resources Office Assistant Jessica Sherwood is a third-generation water industry professional. Photo: Courtesy Jessica Sherwood family ties

Vista Irrigation District Water Resources Office Assistant Jessica Sherwood is a third-generation water industry professional. Photo: Courtesy Jessica Sherwood

Jessica Sherwood saw an opening at the Vista Irrigation District in 2012 for a meter reader and jumped at the chance, working her way up to her current position. She said her entire family has been a positive influence on her water industry career.

“My dad is a very open and honest person and sometimes it’s hard to follow in his footsteps, but I know he’s proud of me,” said Sherwood. “My Uncle Terry is a quiet and modest man but had the same outlook as my dad.

“I think my dad and uncle’s strong work ethics stem from my grandpa. Everything they taught me comes from him. He had both working for him at San Dieguito Water District during the summers when they were still in high school. I just have to say, that I’m very proud of these guys and it’s a pretty cool legacy to be a part of.”

Because they are at different agencies, Pedrazzi and Sherwood don’t cross paths during their work hours, but they sometimes see each other at training meetings.

“He’s only a city away or a phone call,” said Sherwood.

Study shows families influence career choices

Amos Sherwood worked for the San Dieguito Water District from 1960 – 1990 and rose to become superintendent there. Photo: Courtesy Jessica Sherwood

Amos Sherwood worked for the San Dieguito Water District from 1960 – 1990 and rose to become superintendent there. Photo: Courtesy Jessica Sherwood

Eric Rasmussen said family ties help, but family lessons learned and applied make the difference.

“With my dad leading the way, you can do nothing but give thanks to him and my mom for what we’ve been blessed with, and the ethics we possess,” said Eric.

Father Howard adds, “You may not think your kids are listening, but they do.”

(Editor’s note: The Sweetwater Authority, Vista Irrigation District, San Dieguito Water District, Vallecitos Water District and the Olivenhain Municipal Water District are five of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Career-Otay Water District-Faces of the Water Industry

Learn About Water Industry Career Opportunities From the Pros

Looking for a challenging and satisfying career? Current and aspiring professionals can learn about water industry career opportunities through the San Diego County Water Authority’s “Faces of the Water Industry” social media outreach campaign in October. 

The campaign, inspired by ACWA’s California Water Professionals Appreciation Week, highlights the San Diego region’s water and wastewater professionals and the essential work that they do to provide safe and reliable water supplies for 3.3 million people and a $253 billion economy. 

Water Industry Pros Share Their Stories

The Faces of the Water Industry campaign features the stories of 21 water industry professionals through a series of social media posts and videos. Beginning October 1, follow the Water Authority on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to read inspiring stories from the region’s water and wastewater pros.

Eric Amavisca, Water Distribution Technician 

Eric Amavisca, Water Distribution Technician, City of Escondido

“Growing up near the ocean, water always played an influential part in my life,” said Eric Amavisca, Water Distribution Technician at the City of Escondido. “I always knew I wanted to work with water but wasn’t sure how until I was surfing with a close friend one day. He mentioned a nearby community college offered classes focused on water distribution. I decided to take a leap and try it out. The classes were appealing to me. Therefore I began a career in water distribution. Water is one of our most valuable resources, and I’m happy to protect it for the future. I find gratification in protecting the City’s water infrastructure.”

Laura York, Laboratory Analyst 

Laura York, Laboratory Analyst, Otay Water District

“The most rewarding aspect of my job is that it contributes to society. Water is a vital resource that all life depends on for survival,” said Laura York, Laboratory Analyst at Otay Water District. “As a lab analyst, I monitor water quality and protect public health by ensuring the water meets regulatory requirements and is safe for drinking. Working in the industry also provides lifelong learning opportunities as there are continuous challenges and the accompanying need for innovation and improvement.”

Jorge Pena Veloz, Customer Service Representative I (Field) 

Jorge Pena Veloz, Customer Service Representative I (Field), Sweetwater Authority

“I was inspired to work for a water agency because I knew that the work I would be performing on a daily basis would have an immediate impact on our customers and that the service that we provide is vital to everyday life,” said Jorge Pena Veloz, Customer Service Representative I (Field) at Sweetwater Authority. “In addition, I knew that working for the Authority would not only bring me satisfaction but also help me and my family have a bright future.”

Karla Sanchez, Engineering Technician II 

Karla Sanchez, Engineering Technician II, San Diego County Water Authority

“Working in the water industry is very rewarding,” said Karla Sanchez, Engineering Technician II at the San Diego County Water Authority. “In the water industry I have had the opportunity to see and grow so much of San Diego. The people and the innovation that goes into providing water is fulfilling. Building infrastructure to ensure that the people around me can live, work and play is a passion of mine. I take pride knowing that I help provide water to the country. I look forward to continuingly growing in my career in the water industry.”

Upcoming Water Industry Career Webinars

The water and wastewater industry offers vast opportunities for essential careers in engineering, operations, finance, public affairs, human resources, administration and information technology. 

The Water Authority and California Water Environmental Association (CWEA) is hosting free career webinars for new and current water professionals. 

For job openings, internships and education opportunities across the San Diego region’s water and wastewater industry, go to sandiegowaterworks.org.

(Editor’s note: The Otay Water District, Sweetwater Authority, and the City of Escondido, are three of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Inspect your sprinkler heads regularly to make sure they are not obstructed or watering onto pavement or other hardscapes. Photo: Irrigation Association

Give Your Irrigation System a Fall Checkup

Staying on top of your irrigation system – especially in the midst of a drought – can mean the difference between maximizing your water efficiency and unknowingly wasting water running down sidewalks unused into the storm drain. Follow these tips for a thorough checkup.

Turn on each valve of your irrigation system and observe how quickly water begins to run off your landscaping. Note the time when each runoff occurs. For some systems, this could be immediate. For others, it may take as long as five minutes.

Make sure spray irrigation is never running for longer than eight minutes at any one time.

Take notes on your irrigation plan, and turn off your irrigation until you can fix the following issues:

  • Do you have broken sprinkler heads?
  • Are there heads that are blocked by plants or objects such as planters or lights?
  • When the system turns off, does water come out of the lowest heads in the landscape?
  • Are any heads in need of adjustment, so they don’t directly spay onto the hardscape, such as sidewalks or patios?

Adjust your sprinklers to eliminate runoff

Don't allow your spriinklers to overspray your landscaping and waste water. Photo: Wikimedia irrigation tips

Don’t allow your sprinklers to overspray your landscaping and waste water. Photo: Wikimedia

Several things can be done to minimize runoff due to irrigation. This is among the most important factors in using irrigation efficiently.

  • Tune up spray irrigation systems, so there is no overspray on hard surfaces
  • Do not install spray irrigation in areas that are too narrow (generally eight feet wide or narrower)
  • Move spray heads 24 inches away from buildings or impermeable surfaces
  • Convent spray systems to micro or drip irrigation with pressure regulation and a filter
  • In lawn areas, be sure to follow the organic maintenance practices to keep your soil ‘spongy’ (link to soil post)
  • Replace standard overhead sprayers with high-efficiency rotator nozzles, or other types of low precipitation rate nozzles

This article is part of a year-long series inspired by the 71-page Sustainable Landscapes Program guidebook. The Water Authority and its partners also offer other great resources for landscaping upgrades, including free WaterSmart classes at WaterSmartSD.org.