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San Diego Food Bank-Virtual Food Drive-San Diego County Water Authority

Water Authority Partners with San Diego Food Bank to Fight Hunger

In addition to ensuring a safe and reliable water, the Board leadership of the San Diego County Water Authority is joining regional efforts to fight the economic impacts of the pandemic by setting up a virtual food drive in partnership with the San Diego Food Bank 

The San Diego Food Bank helps feed hundreds of thousands of hungry people each year – and the numbers are growing rapidly as economic impacts of coronavirus closures ripple across the region.

The Water Authority’s virtual food drive allows donors to select and purchase items such as canned meats, vegetables, fruits, peanut butter and oatmeal for distribution to needy residents.

Donate to San Diego Food Bank 

The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and its North County Food Bank chapter comprise the largest hunger-relief organization in San Diego County. The Food Bank distributes food to those in need at 200 distribution sites across the county as well as through 500 nonprofits with feeding programs.

Monetary donations received by the Food Bank will be used to purchase food items to be given to those in need.

Virtual food drive during coronavirus pandemic

The virtual food drive is part of an overall effort by the Water Authority during the coronavirus pandemic. The 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.

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.

COVID-19: Water Associations Reassure Public Tap Water Safe to Drink

As the global COVID-19 outbreak continues to develop and reports of bottled water shortages make headlines, the National Association of Water Companies, the American Water Works Association and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies recently issued a joint statement about the quality of tap water in North America.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, America’s drinking water supplies remain a safe and affordable way to access the water needed for drinking, cooking and maintaining personal hygiene during the COVID-19 outbreak.

COVID-19 is not present in drinking water supplies

Americans and Canadians can and should continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual as COVID-19 is not present in drinking water supplies. Disinfection processes like those practiced by water systems across the North America provide protection that includes filtration and disinfection of our surface water supplies and disinfection of our ground water sources. These treatments are effective in removing and/or inactivating viruses.

Efforts by some to profiteer off of bottled water shortages are inexcusable, but drinking water consumers can avoid being taken advantage of by simply using the water that is available in their homes from the tap.

“America’s water companies share a deep understanding of the importance of the reliability of quality water and wastewater services in our daily lives and during a public health crisis and are committed to taking steps to help ensure our water systems are functioning both reliably and safely,” says NAWC President and CEO Robert Powleson.

COVID-19 response efforts by water providers protect public health

The municipalities and private companies that make up the 51,000 community water systems across the U.S. are taking measures to help protect their workforce so they can continue to keep the water flowing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This means limiting home repair visits and directing customers to pay bills online instead of coming into their water providers’ offices. Because of the outbreak and the need for access to clean water in order to promote personal hygiene and overall public health, many systems across the United States are suspending shutoffs for nonpayments. If you are facing financial difficulty and cannot afford to pay your water bill at this time, please be in direct contact with your water provider.

“Water utilities throughout the United States and Canada are prepared to protect public health in normal conditions and in emergencies, and they are committed to keeping safe water flowing, 24/7,” says AWWA CEO David LaFrance. “During times like these, safe and reliable water service is essential for drinking and food preparation, hand-washing and carrying away waste.”

‘Challenging times’

As COVID-19 response efforts evolve to meet the needs of the American and Canadian people, the member organizations represented by NAWC, AWWA and AMWA will continue to support the water systems by offering all of the water profession’s expertise and resources at their disposal. The agencies added that they’re confident in their ability to serve communities across the country with the highest level of efficiency, empathy and professionalism.

“These are challenging times for our nation, but despite the many uncertainties regarding COVID-19, Americans should take comfort in the fact that the virus does not spread through drinking water supplies. The nation’s water systems remain committed to the uninterrupted delivery of clean and safe drinking water for the duration of this crisis,” says AMWA CEO Diane VanDe Hei.

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Imperial Valley Farmers Step Up Harvesting During Coronavirus Pandemic

With the world struggling through the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, vegetable growers in the Imperial Valley are continuing to harvest vegetables.

Agriculture remains an essential service to serve California, the nation and the world. The vegetable harvest is ongoing as the Imperial Valley heads toward the final weeks of the winter vegetable crops.

“We have not to this point been impacted,” said farmer Scott Howington, president of the Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association. Howington’s farm operation, Oasis Farming Inc., focuses on organic crops.

But Howington said for his own operation, food safety protocols already in place are even more critical in light of the coronavirus.

More precautions for Imperial Valley harvest

When it comes to agriculture, he said, the farming work that goes into the planting of crops typically does not bring workers physically close together; it is the harvesting where there could be potential issues because of the proximity of the crews. That is where additional precautions are necessary due to the coronavirus. Howington said farmers are tailoring these steps to their specific operations.

“What we are doing is making sure the equipment is sanitized several times a day, and we are making sure crews keep the recommended distance from each other,” he said. “We are trying to make sure crews stay healthy.”

However, if workers and staff are feeling sick, they’re told to stay home or are sent home if they come to work and present any signs of illness, Howington said.

Scott Howington-Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association-

Imperial Valley farmer Scott Howington, president of the Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Vegetable farmers navigate through coronavirus

Precautions to make sure staff are healthy are equally important in other aspects of agriculture, including at the coolers where crops are stored, he said.

“It’s an interlocked chain,” said Howington. “You break any part of it, and it will begin to be an issue.”

So far, there have been no noticeable impacts on the vegetable industry in the Imperial Valley.

With the harvesting season still underway, the need for workers — many of them from Mexico — remains high. Howington pointed out that while there are restrictions on border crossings, those restrictions have not involved people crossing to work in the agriculture industry. Under the new conditions, crews from Mexico have been able to cross with just their work permit. But in case his workers need additional proof, Howington said he’s having letters prepared from his company to provide to crews.

Imperial Valley agriculture harvest helps feed world

For now, harvesting will continue into its final weeks of the season, and all food safety protocols are continuing to be followed.

Howington reminds everyone to follow their own safety protocols as they normally should do, from washing their fruits and vegetables, to peeling away top layers of the vegetables they eat.

“Everyone has to use their best judgement,” he said of both farmers and consumers.

As the world navigates through these challenging times and faces a shortage in supplies of basic necessities, the importance of agriculture takes on even greater meaning as consumers look to grocery stores and restaurants for some certainty that food supplies will remain available.

Howington said there has been no reduction in the produce grown and harvested in the Imperial Valley in the wake of the coronavirus. He said the valley continues to provide food that feeds people around the world.

“As a community, something like this does brighten the light on the impact agriculture has to the fabric of the economy and our society,” Howington said. “We are just doing what we normally do.”

Olivenhain Municipal Water District Logo landscape design workshops

OMWD Welcomes Entries in 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest

Encinitas, CA—Olivenhain Municipal Water District invites residents with water-efficient gardens to enter the 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The winning landscape will receive $250. The deadline to apply is April 27, and applications are available at www.landscapecontest.com

Water Authority Board of Directors Meeting Will Be Streamed Online

To help protect public health, the monthly Board meeting will be a virtual meeting only – no Board members, member agency staff or members of the public will be able to attend the meeting in person at our Kearny Mesa headquarters. The meeting can be accessed electroncially by going to this web link: https://www.sdcwa.org/meetings-and-documents and then clicking the link below “Live Stream” on the right side of the page. 

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Carlsbad Desalination Plant Workers Self-Isolate

In an effort to ensure continuity of operations, ten volunteers are sheltering in place at the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant in San Diego County. Poseidon Water‘s Jessica Jones shares this inspiring story of selfless dedication to keeping the water flowing.

“They did volunteer to operate the plant on-site for 21 days,” said Jones. “There were ten recreational vehicles brought in, so each worker has their own RV and food is delivered for them without human contact.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Poseidon Water decided to take this step to ensure there is uninterrupted production and delivery of safe and reliable water for San Diego County.

Ten workers, 12-hour shifts, 21 days

The on-site team will sustain plant operations and maintenance for the duration of the 21-day period to ensure continued production of high-quality drinking water, in compliance with all state and federal drinking water standards.

The plant normally operates with 42 employees. She says the ten workers are able to operate the entire plant.

“They’re doing the job of quite a few people,” Jones told WaterWorld.

The three-week period started Thursday, March 19, the first day of spring. Jones said another group of employees are ready to relieve the ten workers during or after the 21 day period if needed.

Jones said the ten employees are working 12-hour shifts. The interview with Jones is part of WaterWorld Magazine’s on-going coverage of COVID-19.

Ten volunteers shelter in place at the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant

Watch the interview between Jessica Jones and WaterWorld Editorial Director Angela Godwin here: https://bit.ly/33K5HbU

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.

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Water Authority Begins Pipeline 5 Repairs in North San Diego County

Next week, San Diego County Water Authority staff and contractors will begin crucial repairs on Pipeline 5 in rural North County between Fallbrook and Escondido.

The work is part of the Water Authority’s proactive asset management program, which monitors and maintains the condition of regional water infrastructure that includes 310 miles of large-diameter pipelines. The Water Authority’s approach, coordinated closely with its member agencies, has served the region well by avoiding large-scale, unexpected water outages for more than a decade.

Asset management program responds quickly to pipeline needs

After a leak in nearby Pipeline 4 was discovered in Moosa Canyon last summer, Water Authority staff assessed the conditions of Pipelines 3 and 5, which run parallel to Pipeline 4 as part of the Second Aqueduct. The assessment showed that a section of Pipeline 5 in Moosa Canyon was also under significant stress.

“Due to the very high operating pressure and the major consequences of potential failure of Pipeline 5, our staff immediately began planning a shutdown and repairs to mitigate risks,” said Jim Fisher, director of operations and maintenance at the Water Authority. “Our asset management program is designed to identify potential problems and respond quickly.”

After a leak in nearby Pipeline 4 was discovered near Moosa Creek last summer, Water Authority staff assessed the conditions of Pipelines 3 and 5, which run parallel to Pipeline 4 as part of the Second Aqueduct. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

After a leak in nearby Pipeline 4 was discovered near Moosa Creek last summer, Water Authority staff assessed the conditions of Pipelines 3 and 5, which run parallel to Pipeline 4 as part of the Second Aqueduct. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Constructed in 1982, Pipeline 5 is a vital component of the Water Authority’s water system, delivering untreated supplies from Lake Skinner in southwest Riverside County to the Lower Otay Water Treatment Plant in southern San Diego County. The operating pressure exceeds 400 pounds per square inch in Moosa Canyon.

Carbon fiber technology extends pipeline life

Repairs will require that a section of Pipeline 5 in North County be shut down from March 30 until mid-May. Crews will start by installing bulkheads that isolate the Moosa Canyon section. Then, they will line the inside of the pipe with a carbon fiber liner, as was done to rehabilitate Pipeline 4. The carbon fiber liner will reinforce distressed areas and extend the life of the 96-inch, pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipeline.

The asset management program is a key element of the Water Authority’s commitment to providing a safe and reliable water supply to San Diego County. By making preventative repairs, the Water Authority ensures that water service will continue throughout the county.

Planning study seeks long-term solutions

Over the next 18 months, Water Authority staff will conduct a planning study to evaluate improvements required for all three pipelines in Moosa Canyon to ensure the long-term reliability of the Second Aqueduct. The results of the study will include recommendations about future projects as part of the Water Authority’s capital improvement program.

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Carlsbad Desalination Plant Staff Take Extraordinary Step to Shelter in Place to Ensure Operational Continuity at Critical Facility

“As manager of the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant in San Diego County, our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of the employees and compliance with stringent state and federal standards for the production of a safe and healthy drinking water supply.

Region’s Water Agencies Collaborate to Ensure Water Security

The 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.

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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.