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Faces of the Water Industry-Work For Water-jobs-water industry

Faces of the Water Industry: Work for Water

Water and wastewater professionals across San Diego County are highlighted in October during the San Diego County Water Authority’s “Faces of the Water Industry” campaign. Each year, the Water Authority collaborates with its member agencies to showcase regional water industry employees and career opportunities through a series of social media posts and videos.

Since 2017, the Water Authority’s annual campaigns have highlighted nearly 200 employees in San Diego County across multiple water agencies and job types. The 2022 campaign started October 1, coinciding with California’s Water Professionals Appreciation Week (October 1-9). 

Faces of the Water Industry

Nina Tarantino, Human Resources Specialist, Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Adrian Alarid, Plant Systems Technician at the City of Escondido

What advice would you give someone interested in a career in the water industry?  

“Get in now! This industry provides a lifelong career path. There are so many different jobs and certifications to learn about and explore. All education and skill sets can find a great job in water.” 

Adrian Alarid is a Plant Systems Technician at the City of Escondido

Jenny Diaz, Confidential Executive Assistant at Otay Water District 

Who inspired you to work in the water industry?

“One of my undergraduate professors advised that if I wanted an excellent job for the rest of my life, to consider a career in public utilities because those services will always be in demand. I seized the opportunity as soon as I saw it!”

Jenny Diaz is a Confidential Executive Assistant at Otay Water District

Leo Mendez, Accounting Supervisor at Olivenhain Municipal Water District

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

“I enjoy leading a team of bright people and working across different departments to ensure Olivenhain Municipal Water District maintains its strong financial position. The finance and accounting work is challenging, but it keeps my job interesting. It is rewarding to know that my work supports a public agency in providing water, an essential service, to our community in a sustainable and fiscally responsible manner.”

Leo Mendez is an Accounting Supervisor at Olivenhain Municipal Water District

The 2022 Faces of the Water Industry campaign features stories from 18 San Diego County water industry professionals in a series of social media posts and videos. Follow the Water Authority on Instagram (@sdcwa) to read more inspiring stories from the region’s water and wastewater pros – the Faces of the Water Industry.

California Virtual Water Career Fairs

The water and wastewater industry offers vast opportunities in engineering, operations, finance, public affairs, human resources, administration and information technology. New and current water professionals can learn more about the industry in an upcoming series of free virtual career fairs hosted by various agencies in October

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

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

Chula Vista Elementary School students participate in learning activities at the Hydro Station. Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School District

Hydro Station Lets Students Explore WaterSmart Landscape Design

As its fourth year begins, the Chula Vista Hydro Station offers new activities in 2022, helping Chula Vista Elementary School District students learn about using water wisely through hands-on activities.

A unique joint educational partnership between the Sweetwater Authority, the Otay Water District, and the Chula Vista Elementary School District, the Hydro Station, opened in 2019 at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility.

More than 4,000 students visit the Hydro Station annually and learn more about careers and opportunities in the water and wastewater industry through various learning experiences.

“Sweetwater Authority’s Board is proud to continue to support the Hydro Station for another school year,” said Board Chair Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. “We’re excited that more students will have the opportunity to visit our Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility to learn about how water agencies deliver safe, reliable water to our communities and discover the vast career opportunities in the water industry.”

Landscape design and engineering projects 

Students get the opportunity to practice landscape design with a watersmart focus. Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School Districtv Hydro Station

Students get the opportunity to practice landscape design with a watersmart focus. Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School District

This year, students can step into the role of a civil engineer and learn about the ways water is transported across long distances. They take what they learn and try their hand at designing a model of an aqueduct.

Students are also invited to explore the artistic aspects of water management by taking on the role of a landscape architect. They work in teams to design beautiful, WaterSmart landscapes using various design elements.

“The Otay Water District believes this Hydro Station effort is critical to educating the younger generation about water industry jobs as they prepare for their futures,” said Otay Board President Tim Smith. “We continue to promote and recruit for water industry jobs, and this program is another resource to help us to increase the talent pool in the industry as our youth learn about what is available to them early on.”

Hands-on experience in an interactive space

Projects in progress by Halecrest Elementary School students at the Hydro Station. Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School District

Projects in progress by Halecrest Elementary School students at the Hydro Station. Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School District

The Hydro Station is an interactive educational space with learning exhibits and hands-on activities dedicated to introducing fifth-grade students to the ecological cycle of water, water conservation, water quality, and careers in the water industry.

Educating the next-generation water industry workforce

Locally, more than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sector at the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. One-third of these industry professionals will be eligible for retirement in the next few years. The Hydro Station helps develop interest among a new generation of potential water professionals to participate in the mission to deliver safe and reliable water to hundreds and thousands of people in communities who rely on this essential workforce.

Students participate in activities focused on career opportunities, learning how their strengths, interests, and values may align with career options through hands-on activities connecting to specific careers. It also educates children, their families, and the community on the thoughtful use of water resources.

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

Helix Water District Board of Directors in the district’s new all-electric, zero-emission, Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck. Driver’s seat: Board President Kathleen Coates Hedberg. Backseat: Director Dan McMillan. Back of the truck: Directors Joel Scalzitti, De Ana Verbeke and Mark Gracyk. Photo: Helix Water District sustainability

Helix Water District Adds Zero-Emission Truck to Sustainability Efforts

The Helix Water District has expanded its ongoing sustainability efforts with the addition of its first all-electric, zero-emission, Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck.

“Converting public and private fleets to zero-emission trucks is a big part of the governor’s plan to have five million zero-emission vehicles in California by 2030,” said Helix Water District Director of Operations Kevin D. Miller. “This is a small step, but Helix is heading in the right direction.”

Left to right: Board President Kathleen Coates Hedberg, Director Dan McMillan, Director Mark Gracyk, Board Vice President De Ana Verbeke and Director Joel Scalzitti. Photo: Helix Water District

The district dispatches 80 light- and heavy-duty trucks throughout its 50-square-mile service area daily to maintain the district’s pipelines, pump stations, and reservoir tanks, and also in response to customer calls. Field operations crews drive up to 100 miles per day.

Electric truck fuels savings

The Ford F-150 Lightning has over a 200-mile range. Ordering the vehicle prior to recent manufacturer price increases and taking advantage of rebates offset the price difference between the electric and gas-powered models. Electric trucks are also anticipated to save maintenance costs due to fewer moving parts to replace than comparable internal combustion engine models.

Avoiding fuel costs generates more savings. The district’s light-duty gasoline trucks have a fuel efficiency of about 20 miles to the gallon and cost 25 cents per mile to drive. Thanks to the district’s power purchase agreements and other investments, the electric trucks will cost less than 10 cents per mile.

New vehicle latest milestone in Helix sustainability efforts

The Helix Water District partnered with SDG&E and received grant funding to install on-site charging stations at two of its facilities. Photo: Helix Water District sustainability

The Helix Water District partnered with SDG&E and received grant funding to install on-site charging stations at two of its facilities. Photo: Helix Water District

Helix began transitioning to a sustainable fleet in 2017 when it replaced inefficient light-duty work trucks with seven Toyota Prius plug-in hybrids. The hybrids are 400% more fuel efficient than the trucks they replaced. The district also partnered with SDG&E and received grant funding to install on-site charging stations at two of its facilities.

“We welcome our first fully electric work vehicle,” said Helix Water District Board President Kathleen Coates Hedberg. “The technology has come a very long way, and zero-emission trucks benefit the cities and communities we serve by reducing operational costs, improving air quality, and reducing our environmental footprint. Whether developing new water sources or advancing toward a cleaner fleet, I am proud of the district’s sustainability efforts.”

In 2020, the district switched from diesel to renewable diesel, resulting in decreased emissions, particulates, and a noticeable increase in vehicle performance.

Additional sustainability efforts include:

  • Solar panel arrays at the Helix Operations Center in El Cajon
  • Purchasing electricity through California’s Direct Access Program
  • Pumping and moving water at night when electricity rates are lowest
  • Retrofitting facilities to reduce HVAC costs
  • Partnering with SDG&E to install charging stations for Helix and employee vehicles
  • Purchasing Toyota Prius vehicles with state and federal rebates

Each of these programs reduces energy use and reduces costs, which helps reduce operational costs for Helix Water District customers.

(Editor’s note: The Helix Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Third generation Oceanside strawberry grower Neil Nagata of Nagata Brothers Farms is the 2021 San Diego County Farm Bureau Farmer of the Year. Photo: California Strawberry Commission

Neil Nagata is 2021 San Diego County Farmer of the Year

The San Diego County Farm Bureau named third-generation Oceanside farmer Neil Nagata its 2021 Farmer of the Year. The Farmer of the Year award is presented to an active or retired farmer who has had a positive impact on the agriculture industry, is active in the community beyond agriculture, and has represented the agricultural industry publicly on behalf of farming interests.

Nagata is the President of Nagata Brothers Farms. In 1902, Nagata’s grandfather immigrated to California from Japan and began farming strawberries in 1920. Nagata’s father George and his brothers formed Nagata Brothers Farms, and his son Neil took on the business 34 years ago. “From that point on, I’ve been farming strawberries ­– so three generations of California strawberry growers.”

Nagata joined the California Strawberry Commission in 1991 and served as a board member and past chairman of their organization. In a video produced by the California Strawberry Commission, Nagata talked about his life as a farmer alongside his 98-year-old father George, who retired just a few years ago and who still lives on the farm in Oceanside.

Facing the challenges of farming in a drought

Throughout his three decades in farming, Nagata says water management has always been a significant challenge.

“We’ve had to become very efficient and very conservative with our water. When I first started, (irrigation) technology was more rudimentary,” said Nagata.

Now, advances are helping California’s family farms survive.

“Electronic controls and electronic monitoring offer efficiency,” he said. “There is greater ease of application for field use. Costs have come down. The quality of materials has improved with advances in technology and materials. Things have become more efficient. We’re still here.”

In addition to his growing experience, Nagata is an expert in many aspects of agriculture and biological science, including field and commercial research and production. He says it takes a scientific mind and a lot of passion to be a good strawberry grower. Nagata says his father made a strong impression with his care of the land.

Neil Nagata says he still loves strawberries, especially when they are fresh from the fields. Photo: California Strawberry Commission

Neil Nagata says he still loves strawberries, especially when they are fresh from the fields. Photo: California Strawberry Commission

“All the strawberry farmers that I know including myself, really care about the land, the fruit that we produce, and the people that work for us,” said Nagata. “It’s really all-encompassing. We try to do what’s right for everybody.

“At the end of the day, we want to present something that is beneficial to our consumers and healthy and good for you, and tastes good. I still eat strawberries, and my favorite way is right out of the field,” he said. “My favorite thing about strawberry growing is being able to have people enjoy what I produce. It’s really rewarding when people just say, “You have the best strawberries.”’

Advocate, mentor, and philanthropist supporting farming

Neil Nagata served as San Diego County Farm Bureau President from 2017 – 2019, and has been a board member since 2008. He works with regulators and legislators to support fruit and vegetable production in the U.S. and Internationally. Nagata has also been involved with many other agricultural associations.

Nagata is the founding president of the non-profit California Strawberry Growers Scholarship Fund, providing scholarships for children of California strawberry farmworkers. During the past 26 years, over $2 million has been raised and gifted to farmworkers’ children.

Nagata will be the guest of honor at the County Farm Bureau’s annual Farmer of the Year event in October and celebrate his recognition among the agriculture community with family and friends.

(Editor’s note: The San Diego County Farm Bureau is a non-profit organization supporting the more than 5,700 farms within the county. The mission of the Farm Bureau is to foster San Diego agriculture through education, public relations, and public policy advocacy in order to promote the economic viability, sustainability, and community building of agriculture. For more information: www.sdfarmbureau.org.)

Fall tips-water saving-drought

Fall Water-Saving Tips

Water-saving actions by everyone in San Diego County during the current drought can help conserve more of our most precious resource.

While San Diego County continues to have enough water due to long-term investments in water sources and conservation, the region’s long-term supply reliability depends on a continued commitment to water-use efficiency indoors and outdoors by homes and businesses both large and small.

Here are some timely tips to save water this fall.

Simple Water-Saving Tips For Fall

Find a discount. Take advantage of rebates on products that help reduce indoor and outdoor water use.

Shorten the shower. Keep showers to five minutes or fewer and save 2.5 gallons per minute.

Go low. Install aerators on faucets and low-flow showerheads to instantly save water every time you turn the tap.

Deploy the drip. Irrigate gardens with drip systems that minimize water waste by delivering water right at the roots.

Get smart. Install weather-based irrigation controllers in your landscape to take advantage of the latest smart technology that maximizes water-use efficiency.

Monitor the moisture. Use moisture meters to determine when and how much water plants need.

Embrace the broom. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks, and patios.

Check your water footprint. Use an online water-use calculator to assess how much water your home uses compared to a WaterSmart home.

Turn to a pro. When it’s time to hire a landscaping professional, start with the list of Qualified Water-Efficient Landscapers who can make sure you are making the most of every drop.

Plant with perfection. Check out all the beautiful WaterSmart plant options that pair perfectly with San Diego County’s Mediterranean climate.

Tap technology

Residents can take advantage of savings on a variety of water-saving technologies such as high-efficiency clothes washers and toilets, rain barrels and irrigation nozzles. Residents can schedule free WaterSmart Checkups to make their properties more water-efficient.

Check out the WaterSmart Living series of articles for helpful landscape makeover information

For more tips, resources and rebates, go to watersmartsd.org.

The Vallecitos Water District's series of videos on using water wisely are being distributed nationwide through the EPA WaterSense program. Photo: Vallecitos Water District/YouTube

Vallecitos Videos Shared Nationwide by EPA WaterSense

Videos produced by the Vallecitos Water District public affairs team are now being distributed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program to help educate the public about water conservation nationwide. The videos can be downloaded for free on the EPA WaterSense partner platform.

The district created a series of twelve videos. A new one will be released each month and posted on the Vallecitos Water District’s social media, and shared through the EPA’s social media.

Video for October: “Shower with Power”

“We’ve found video to be a powerful communication tool at the Vallecitos Water District, and we invest a great deal of time and effort in producing high-quality information for our ratepayers,” said Chris Robbins, Vallecitos Water District Public Information/Conservation Supervisor. “We received the EPA request to partner with them to share our videos with other organizations across the U.S. We considered it a compliment and validation of our investment. We’re glad to share the information with a larger audience.”

Creativity and fun

VWD Public Information Representative Alicia Yerman collaborated with Beth Livingston and Veronica Blette of the EPA on the productions including scripting, storyboards, and visual elements.

“Beth and Veronica were the stars, as they provided a lot of the graphics and the data for us to use and make our own for the video,” said Yerman. “They made sure the graphics were up to date with the statistics and allowed us to be free and open for creativity and fun for creating the videos for other agencies to share and download. They helped review the videos to make sure the language fit their goals and criteria.”

November 2022 video has the cheeky title “Ode to the Commode”

WaterSense is a program sponsored by the EPA, designed to encourage water efficiency in the U.S. through the use of a special label on consumer products. The goal of the program is to protect the future of the nation’s water supply by encouraging a nationwide ethic of water efficiency to conserve water resources for future generations and reduce infrastructure costs.

The WaterSense label makes it simple to find water-efficient products, new homes, and programs meeting the EPA’s criteria for efficiency and performance. WaterSense-labeled products and services are certified to use at least 20% less water, save energy, and perform as well as or better than regular models.

Starting in 2019, VWD began using video to document the district’s workforce and infrastructure improvements on its social media platforms and has also engaged the public with discussions of critically important water management issues. It has won multiple awards for its work. VWD also offers live video of its board meetings and other public discussions on its YouTube channel.

(Editors Note: The Vallecitos Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Most native Southern California plants do well in hotter temperatures, so summer plant care is easy with a little planning. Photo: Annie Spratt/Pixabay

Find the Right Plant for Your Landscape Plans Online

If you’re looking to upgrade your landscape or just love gardens, it can be challenging to choose the right plant that will thrive within your WaterSmart Living landscape plans for your specific conditions.

The online plant finder WaterSmart Landscaping in San Diego County can assist you through a comprehensive database of choices well suited to this region’s Mediterranean climate.

Pollinators and birds are attracted to native plants like this Stonecrop (Crassulae). Photo: City of Escondido

Pollinators and birds are attracted to native plants like this Stonecrop (Crassulae). Photo: City of Escondido

This interactive gardening tool has thousands of pictures of plants and garden designs. Take visual tours of beautiful, water-efficient landscapes through photographs that include hotlinks to plant information screens.

Photos are organized by landscape category to make them easy to find. Explore galleries of ideas for back yards, front yards, hillsides, patios, planters, and other outdoor living areas.

If you’re simply looking at plants, the online guide offers more than 1,000 plants and search tools that make plants easy to find.

Online guide features specialty plant sections

right plant

Beach strawberry makes an attractive lawn substitute. Photo: Flickr

Specialty sections include:

  • Lawn alternatives: Create non-traditional lawn space without thirsty turf.
  • Pollinator attracting plants: Pollinator gardens with flowers that provide pollen and nectar for pollinating insects provide vital nutrients to support the pollinator population, and preserve agriculture, ecosystems, and biodiversity.
  • Plants for fire safety: trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines, and perennials that can help reduce fire intensity and do not contribute significantly to fuel the fire due to moisture or chemical content, or total volume.
  • California natives: Because native plants are adapted to local environmental conditions, they require far less water. They also provide vital habitat for birds and other wildlife and preserve biodiversity.you’re exploring, save plant and garden images you like to your plant list, then print reports about them before you shop.
Most native Southern California plants do well in hotter temperatures, so summer plant care is easy with a little planning. Photo: Annie Spratt/Pixabay

Most native Southern California plants do well in hotter temperatures, so summer plant care is easy with a little planning. Photo: Annie Spratt/Pixabay

Go to the website to get started

Click through the navigation bar to see the lists and available resources.

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WaterSmart Living-Logo-San Diego County Water Authority

(Editor’s Note: The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies offer programs, resources, and incentives to improve water-use efficiency for residential, commercial, and agricultural users. WaterSmart choices are a way of life in the region. Stay WaterSmart San Diego! For more water-use efficiency resources, go to WaterSmart.SD.org.)

The Delaplanes received first place due to the addition of a working bioswale. Photo: Vallecitos Water District landscape makeover

Vallecitos Water District Landscape Makeover Winners Lead By Example

Three San Marcos families invested their time and effort into transforming their front yards into beautiful water-efficient designs. Their hard work has paid off in lower water bills and being named the winners of the 2022 Vallecitos Water District Landscape Makeover Contest.

See a video featuring all three winning families

Father and Son Win First Place

The winning project created by John and Jay Delaplane started as a way for John to reconnect after his father Jay retired. John saw the landscaping display in front of the Vallecitos Water District building, inspiring him to get started. Another catalyst was the opportunity to earn a turf removal rebate. “You can almost cover the costs if you do the work yourself,” said John.

The Delaplane home before its transformation. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Vallecitos Water District public information representative and UCCE Master Gardener Lisa Urabe said the Delaplanes received first place among many excellent entries due to the addition of a working bioswale.

“Some people will just put rocks down and make it a pretty dry riverbed, but this is a working bioswale,” said Urabe. Bioswales redirect and absorb rainwater running off roofs, preventing stormwater pollutants from reaching local waterways and the Pacific Ocean. “By installing a bioswale, it’s collecting all that water. It’s also helping to water those plants naturally. We highly recommend them,” said Urabe.

UCCE Master Gardener Lisa Urabe views the bioswale installed by the Delaplanes. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

UCCE Master Gardener Lisa Urabe views the bioswale installed by the Delaplanes. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

“Growing up, my dad taught me about being environmentally conscious when we can,” said John Delaplane. “If everyone does their little part, it really does add up. A big reason we did it is to teach these lessons to my daughter, so she grows up with that same mindset.”

Family Pride Shines for Chen Family

The Chens transformed their love for succulents into an award-winning landscape makeover. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

The Chens transformed their love for succulents into an award-winning landscape makeover. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Davis and Stephanie Chen and their two children all pitched in on their landscape makeover project. Their new design won second place.

After 18 years of living in their San Marcos home, Stephanie Chen said she decided to change their landscaping, inspired by her love for succulents. “I wanted to create something I like and enjoy. One day a crazy idea came to me – lucky my family supported me,” said Chen.

San Diego based landscape designer Laura Eubanks paid a visit to the Chens new landscape inspired by her videos. Photo: Vallecitos Water District landscape makeover

Stephanie Chen visited the home of San Diego-based landscape designer Laura Eubanks. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Daughter Brittany Chen said the family watched videos by San Diego based landscape designer Laura Eubanks to get inspiration.

“We would watch and brainstorm about it,” said Brittany. “The videos were super helpful. They not only taught us how to design a garden but also properly care for our garden, so they grow beautifully.”

David Chen said the Socal Turf Replacement program and the landscape makeover content gave them a lot of incentive to complete this project. “I encourage everybody to give it a try,” he said.

DIY Landscape Project Wins Third Place

Tania and Tony Lopez tackled their landscape makeover on their own. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Tania and Tony Lopez tackled their landscape makeover on their own. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Married couple Tania and Tony Lopez tackled their landscape makeover on their own after receiving a district brochure and decided to change their landscape to save water. Their landscaping only needs minimal hand watering.

“It’s been in since March, and it’s doing pretty well,” said Tania Lopez, whose favorite features are the agaves and golden barrel. “Water conservation is very important. In California, we’re in a drought all the time. Being able to save water is a good thing.”

Five-year-old daughter Ava Lopez has gotten the message. “It’s important to save water for the earth,” said Ava.

Rebates, tips, classes, and other water-saving information: sdcwa.org/your-water/conservation/.

(Editor’s note: The Vallecitos Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

WateReuse Award-Olivenhain Municipal Water District-Primary

Olivenhain Municipal Water District Receives Recycled Water Award

The Olivenhain Municipal Water District received the WateReuse Association of California’s 2022 award for Recycled Water Community Outreach. The award was presented at WateReuse’s annual conference in San Francisco.

OMWD’s community outreach campaigns are intended to educate customers on the importance of water use efficiency, new supply development, and water reuse as a means to address future water supply challenges. To this end, recycled water is a focal point for OMWD’s public outreach campaigns. The recycled water award is another recognition of Olivenhain’s collaborative efforts to increase local, sustainable water supply sources in the region.

Reducing imported water

“Every drop of recycled water used on our landscapes replaces a drop of imported drinking water,” said OMWD Board Secretary Bob Topolavac. “With the state now in its third consecutive dry year, it is more critical than ever to be promoting the benefits of recycled water to new potential users to expand the use of this sustainable water supply.”

WateReuse previously recognized OMWD as California’s Agency of the Year in 2005 and again in 2019. Since that time, OMWD has expanded its recycled water distribution system such that it now meets 14 percent of its demands with recycled water.

Water Reuse Coalition

Beyond its borders, OMWD encourages a regional approach to recycled water infrastructure. It is the lead agency of the North San Diego Water Reuse Coalition, a group of nine North County agencies that coordinate across jurisdictional boundaries to connect recycled water sources with demands. By working together on the North County Regional Recycled Water Project, these agencies expect to reduce potable water use by nearly 11 billion gallons per year by 2035.

Formed in 1990, the WateReuse Association is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the beneficial and efficient uses of high quality, locally produced, sustainable water sources for the betterment of society and the environment through advocacy, education and outreach, research, and membership.

(Editor’s note: The Olivenhain Municipal Water District  is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

First place, high school: Michael Armenion, eleventh grade, Otay Ranch High School. Photo: Otay Water District Otay Poster Contest

Otay Poster Contest Winners Demonstrate the Value of Water Conservation

Five students from Chula Vista and El Cajon schools have been selected from 123 submissions as the winners of Otay Water District’s 2022 Water is Life Student Poster Contest. The annual contest helps to promote water-use efficiency through student art programs. The winners were selected based on their creativity and awareness of the importance of using water wisely every day and in times of drought.

The Otay Water District’s educational program invites K-12 grade students in its service area each year to enter the contest by illustrating the theme “Water is Life.”  Entrants are encouraged to reflect on the importance of water conservation and stewardship and learn about this in the classroom prior to creating their posters.

“We are proud to see a young generation of students share their awareness about water conservation and stewardship when it matters most,” said contest coordinator Eileen Salmeron. “As California faces a drought, we hope students and their families understand that making small changes at home or school to conserve can make a big difference in building resiliency against drought.”

First- and second-place winners were selected from elementary and middle school categories. One winner was chosen in the high school category. The District’s board of directors recognized the winners at its September 7 meeting. Winners received prizes including a gift card, a certificate of recognition, an art kit, and a goody bag.

Otay Poster Contest Winners for 2022

 

First place, high school: Michael Armenion, eleventh grade, Otay Ranch High School. Photo: Otay Water District Otay Poster Contest

First place, high school: Michael Armenion, eleventh grade, Otay Ranch High School. Photo: Otay Water District

 

First place, middle school: Khilee Haull, seventh grade, Hillsdale Middle School. Otay poster contest

First place, middle school: Khilee Haull, seventh grade, Hillsdale Middle School. Photo: Otay Water District

 

Second place, middle school: Fatima Altai, seventh grade, Hillsdale Middle School. Photo: Otay Water District

Second place, middle school: Fatima Altai, seventh grade, Hillsdale Middle School. Photo: Otay Water District

 

First place, elementary school: Angie Zhong, sixth grade, Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. Photo: Otay Water District

First place, elementary school: Angie Zhong, sixth grade, Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. Photo: Otay Water District

 

Second place, elementary school: Christian-Kealoha Rogacion, fifth grade, Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. Photo: Otay Water District

Second place, elementary school: Christian-Kealoha Rogacion, fifth grade, Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. Photo: Otay Water District

The Otay Poster Contest winners compete for regional awards in the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s annual student poster contest. Thirty-six posters are chosen from participating Southern California water agencies for inclusion in the 2023 MWD Water is Life calendar. This year, MWD selected Khilee Haull and Christian-Kealoha Rogacion to represent Otay Water District in MWD’s 2023 calendar.

(Editor’s note: The Otay Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)