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The youngest top winner of the Sweetwater Authority "Water Is Life" poster contest is Christian Chavez, grade 2, El Toyon Elementary School.

Poster Contest Winners Illustrate ‘Water Is Life’

The Sweetwater Authority 2019 “Water is Life” poster contest is one of many educational opportunities the Authority offers. The annual contest gives kindergarten through sixth grade students the chance to demonstrate how water is a precious and essential resource. By creating water-related art, students enhance their understanding of the importance of water.

The Authority invests in the education of students in its service area to foster knowledge and appreciation for the value of water, and to bring awareness to the vital service the Authority provides to its customers and community.

More than 130 students from 11 different elementary schools participated in this year’s poster contest. Submissions were judged in two categories, grades K-3 and grades 4-6. There were 19 winning posters this year. Students with a winning submission were awarded a gift certificate, an art kit and a congratulatory letter.

Of the 19 winning posters, five were deemed top winners:

Christian Chavez, grade 2, El Toyon Elementary School

Christian Chavez, grade 2, El Toyon Elementary School, National City; National School District

Adrian Haro, grade 4, El Toyon Elementary School

Adrian Haro, grade 4, El Toyon Elementary School, National City; National School District

Analynn Pascual Bermundez, grade 3, Allen Elementary School

Analynn Pascual Bermudez, grade 3, Ella B. Allen Elementary School, Bonita; Chula Vista Elementary School District

Mason Rogers, grade 3, Allen Elementary School

Mason Rogers, grade 3, Ella B. Allen Elementary School, Bonita; Chula Vista Elementary School District

Rencel Chiara Charifa, grade 5, Central Elementary School

Rencel Chiaara Charifa, grade 5, Central Elementary School, National City; National School District

See all of the winning entries in our Poster Gallery below.

Top five winners heading to regional poster contest

The five winning posters have also been entered in the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s regional poster contest. If selected, those posters will be published in MWD’s 2020 art calendar. Regional winners will also be invited to an art exhibit and recognition luncheon at MWD’s office in downtown Los Angeles, with travel sponsored by the Sweetwater Authority.

San Diegans attending the Pure Water Day Open House could sample the purified water produced at the North City Water Reclamation Plant's demonstration facility. Photo: City of San Diego

Pure Water Day Delivers Pure Family Fun

The City of San Diego held its third ‘Pure Water Day’ Open House at the North City Water Reclamation Plant in the Miramar area, inviting residents to enjoy family-friendly activities and learn about the upcoming project construction.

More than 300 community members took tours of the five-step water purification process at the Demonstration Facilities. Photo: City of San Diego

More than 300 people took tours of the five-step water purification process at the demonstration facilities. Photo: City of San Diego

More than 300 people took tours of the five-step water purification process at the Pure Water Demonstration Facility and tasted the purified water produced at the facility following their tour. Residents of University City, Clairemont, and Scripps Ranch learned about Phase 1 of construction scheduled in their neighborhoods.

“We are excited to once again open our doors to the community, and share how we will deliver a new, safe, local source of drinking water for San Diego,” said John Helminski, assistant director of the San Diego Public Utilities Department.

Attendees enjoyed a variety of family-friendly activities at the third annual Pure Water Day. Photo: City of San Diego

Attendees enjoyed a variety of family-friendly activities at the third annual Pure Water Day. Photo: City of San Diego

Pure Water first phase starts construction later this year

Pure Water San Diego is a multi-year phased program using proven technology to clean recycled water to produce safe, high-quality potable water. After construction is completed, the Pure Water Program is expected to provide one-third of the City of San Diego’s water supply by 2035.

The first phase of construction includes the North City Pure Water Facility, new pump stations and pipelines, and upgrades to existing facilities. The North City Pure Water Facility will be constructed on City of San Diego owned property east of Interstate 805 and north of Eastgate Mall, across from the existing North City Water Reclamation Plant.

Purified water produced at the completed plant will be delivered to the Miramar Reservoir, blended with the City of San Diego’s imported and local water sources, and treated again at the existing Miramar Drinking Water Treatment Plant. After this process, the water will be distributed to customers. Construction of Phase 1 is expected to begin later this year and is scheduled for completion in 2023.

Water Authority board chairman Jim Madaffer addresses the National Albondigas Political Society of San Diego about water's importance to the region's economy. Photo: Water Authority Water supply reliability

Madaffer: Collaboration Propels San Diego Water Supply Reliability

As the San Diego County Water Authority celebrates its 75th anniversary this month, Board Chair Jim Madaffer offered a fresh vision of the region’s water future and outlined new efforts to ensure water supply reliability for generations to come at the National Albondigas Political Society of San Diego meeting in Chula Vista.

Madaffer pointed to the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement with the Imperial Irrigation District as an example of the creative thinking and political leadership needed to secure reliable water supplies not only for San Diego County, but across the southwestern U.S by working cooperatively.

“We were able to work out a deal with the Imperial Irrigation District for 200,000 acre-feet of water,” said Madaffer, noting that IID has priority rights to Colorado River water supplies. “How smart to have this insurance policy for the region.”

Madaffer said one of the key efforts ahead is securing storage rights for the San Diego region’s water at Lake Mead, a strategy that could offer benefits to the San Diego region and more broadly across the Southwest by minimizing the chances that Lake Mead will slip in formal shortage status.

Water Authority board chairman Jim Madaffer (right) with John Dadian of the National Albondigas Political Society of San Diego. Photo: Water Authority water supply reliability

Water Authority Board Chair Jim Madaffer (right) with John Dadian of the National Albondigas Political Society of San Diego. Photo: Water Authority

Creative concepts explored to improve water supply reliability

Madaffer also outlined some of the concepts being explored by the Water Authority and its member agencies to improve water supply reliability with more diverse water supply sources, along with engineering and political creative thinking.

Madaffer said the Water Authority’s Board of Directors is considering a study about constructing a regional pipeline system to move the San Diego region’s independent water supplies from the Imperial Valley directly to San Diego. He said the options offer additional advantages to farmers in Imperial County and the Salton Sea.

“I’m a regionalist,” said Madaffer. “I’m interested in what we can do to make sure all of our member agencies are supported, and make sure water delivery works for the entire region.”

Graphic: Water Authority

San Diego is Brought to You by Water

Displaying a chart showing the change in water supply sourcing from 1990 to today, Madaffer asked, “Do we think we can insulate our region from the ravages of drought, so we aren’t depending on pipeline relining and several pipelines delivering imported water?”

He said the region’s approach includes a mix of investments, backed by efforts to use water wisely.

“We’re using less water today with 900,000 more people than we did back in 1990,” said Madaffer, calling it a conservation success story. “All our member agencies, plus each of you in this room, are responsible for helping make it happen.”

Madaffer also touted the region’s innovation culture.  “From Qualcomm to BIOCOM to all of the technology we produce, we are a hotbed of innovation in the region,” he said. “If you remember our drought back in the 1990s, there were states trying to grab our people, saying ‘Hey, work in our state instead, because California is out of water.’ We’ve changed that narrative 100 percent … San Diego is Brought to You by Water.”

Switchfoot Guitarist Jon Foreman Sings Praises of San Diego Water Reliability

Switchfoot Guitarist Jon Foreman Sings Praises of San Diego Water Supply Reliability

The San Diego County Water Authority has partnered with San Diego singer and guitarist Jon Foreman of Switchfoot to create a series of videos highlighting the value of water to the region’s economy and quality of life.

From sustaining world-famous tourist destinations to making world-class guitars, the San Diego lifestyle wouldn’t be possible without clean and reliable water supplies delivered by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies.

“It takes a huge investment from the San Diego County Water Authority and its member agencies to maintain the pipes that deliver water across our region,” Foreman says in one of the videos.

Reliable water supply fuels San Diego economy

The video series includes virtual tours of the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir, and the Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon.

Foreman talks with Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., about the importance of water to some of the region’s biggest industries.

He also tours the Water Conservation Garden, where residents and businesses can learn how to use water efficiently and “make the most out of every drop.”

BRO-AM brought to you by water

The Water Authority is sponsoring Switchfoot’s annual BRO-AM beach festival, which is set for June 29 at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas.

The Water Authority’s Brought to You by Water outreach and education program is designed to convey the importance of safe and reliable water supplies for sustaining the region’s 3.3 million people and its $231 billion economy.

Starting in 2018, the Water Authority has highlighted some of the region’s core industries – tourism, manufacturing, brewing and agriculture – that would not exist without substantial investments in water supply reliability by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies.

Sweetwater Authority Board approves $77M budget for fiscal year 2019-20

Chula Vista, Calif. – The Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Governing Board approved the budget for fiscal year 2019-20 at its June 2, 2019 meeting. The Board worked closely with Authority staff to produce a balanced budget that minimizes the financial impact to customers. Most notably, the budget reflects a considerable decrease in the purchase of expensive imported water as a result of above average rainfaall and a successful stored water transfer from Loveland Reservoir to Sweetwater Reservoir in February 2019.

Report credits San Diego County Water Authority for providing regional water solutions which include storing water in Lake Mead. Photo: National Park Service

San Diego County Quality of Life Indicators Mostly Positive in 2018

A report released today showed improvement in 2018 for the majority of 15 indicators used to measure San Diego County’s quality of life. The Equinox Project Quality of Life Dashboard measures and benchmarks several environmental and economic trends throughout the region.

The analysis highlighted the San Diego County Water Authority for developing water solutions for San Diego and the Southwest using a “portfolio approach.” One of the initiatives under that approach includes efforts to store water in Lake Mead on the Colorado River, which would benefit both San Diego County residents and many other river users.

San Diego County's water supply has diversified significantly over the last couple of decades.. Source: San Diego County Water Authority

San Diego County’s water supply has diversified significantly over the last couple of decades. Source: San Diego County Water Authority

The nonpartisan Equinox Project report is a source of public policy research and analysis to guide policymakers, planners and other officials, said Emily Young, executive director of The Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego, where the project is based.

Water use increased in 2018

“There’s no one indicator when you’re talking our quality of life in the San Diego region,” Young said. “And in fact, the whole point is all of these things are connected. If you’re talking about air quality, you really can’t talk about that if you’re not also talking about our transportation systems and the pollution generated from them.

“Whether we’re looking at an issue like water, which is very precious to the San Diego region, or other issues around transportation or housing, all of these are things that we’re measuring our progress on,” said Young.

Per capita water use in San Diego County

*This data includes agricultural water use served by local water agencies.
In 2018, National City had the lowest municipal and industrial (M&I) water use at 78 gallons per capita daily. Yuima’s high per capita M&I potable water use occurs because a large amount of water used for horticultural irrigation is classified as M&I, and the district services a small population (less than 2,000 people). Data Source: San Diego County Water Authority

Measuring quality of life

Six of the 15 indicators received a “thumbs-up” in the report, including air quality, electricity use and renewable energy. Four indicators, including water use, received a “thumbs-down.”

“Daily residential water consumption in San Diego County increased by 8.3% from 84 gallons per capita in 2017 to 91 gallons in 2018,” according to the report. “Water use has increased since the statewide water restrictions were lifted in 2017, though below pre-drought levels.”

*Sweetwater Authority is comprised of the South Bay Irrigation District and National City. The dataset excludes the City of Del Mar, the City of Oceanside, Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base and the Yuima Municipal Water District.
In Q4 of 2018, residents in the Sweetwater Authority area (National City and South Bay) had the lowest residential water use in San Diego County. Santa Fe Irrigation District used 363 gallons per capita/day, the most water per capita in San Diego County. Data Source: State Water Resources Control Board, Urban Water Supplier Report, 2019

Water use lower in 2019

Despite the slight increase in water use during 2018, residents continue to conserve compared to previous years.

“While extreme dry conditions contributed to increased residential water use in 2018, per capita water use was still lower than historical, pre-drought levels,” said Alexi Schnell, water resources specialist with the Water Authority. “Water use to date in 2019, a much wetter year, has been consistently lower than in 2018.

“There will always be fluctuations based on weather and other factors, but the San Diego region continues to embrace water-use efficiency, and per capita water use in the region is not forecasted to return to pre-drought levels for the foreseeable future,” Schnell added.

The report noted that “the San Diego region is making significant commitments to water efficiency and recycling” and has diversified local supply with the Claude “Bud” Lewis Desalination Plant in Carlsbad, the nation’s largest seawater desalination plant.

San Diego County Water Authority logo SDCWA

Search Begins for the Next General Manager of the San Diego County Water Authority

The San Diego County Water Authority has hired the executive search firm William Avery & Associates to manage the recruitment and selection of the agency’s next general manager.

The Los Gatos-based Avery & Associates has decades of experience recruiting candidates for public and private sector positions. After a competitive selection process, a work group of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors chose the firm to fill the position vacated in March by the retirement of longtime Water Authority General Manager Maureen Stapleton.

Sweetwater Authority Receives National Award for 2018 Securing Our Water Future Public Outreach Campaign

Chula Vista, Calif. – On Monday, June 10, Sweetwater Authority (Authority) received the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Public Communications Achievement Award at the 2019 Annnual Conference & Expo (ACE) held in Denver, Colorado. The prestigious award recognizes excellence and achievement in the field of public affairs among water utilities in North America. The Authority received the award in recognition for its strategic and comprehensive outreach campaign surrounding the 2018 five-year rate study titled “Securing Our Water Future.”

Trenchless technology allows the Vallecitor Water District to effect repairs without digging up streets. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Trenchless Technology Saves Ratepayers Time, Money, and Inconvenience

A method of replacing sewer pipe without digging or removing the old pipe – trenchless pipe repair – is saving Vallecitos Water District ratepayers money and reducing traffic delays. It’s another example of how water agencies in San Diego County are tapping cost-effective technology.

The district is using the trenchless method to extend the life of its service pipelines while avoiding the disruption of excavation trenches and traffic rerouting around work areas on public streets. Instead of digging the pipeline up to replace it, the sewer line is rehabilitated from inside the pipe. This trenchless technology method increases the efficiency and the service life of the pipe without having to replace it; eliminating paving, reducing traffic interruptions, as well as saving the District and in turn its ratepayers money.

“Traditional installation methods cause such a disruption to customers daily routine, so we’re really lucky when this type of project presents itself to the District,” said Jason Hubbard, a senior engineer with the district. “Our residents are going to have a much better day without navigating a large construction zone – they can also be quite noisy and dusty. Bottom line, everyone’s happy.”

Avoiding disruption to customers from trenches and traffic rerouting

By avoiding the need for exacation, streets can be kept open and functioning while work progresses. Photo: Vallecitos Water DIstrict

By avoiding the need for exacation, streets can be kept open and functioning while work progresses. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Pipeline integrity can be lost due to a combination of many factors such as missing pieces, cracks, pinholes, offsets at joints, and root intrusion. Numerous methods, technologies and practices are used by water agencies to ensure pipeline integrity.

The Vallecitos Water District works to find innovative technologies to ensure continuing water, wastewater, and reclamation services to a population of 103,000 residents within its 45-square-mile service area. There are 358 miles of water pipelines and 276 miles of sewer pipelines in the VWD’s 45-square-mile service area, serving more than 103,000 residents. The pipelines are designed, built, and operated to be safe, reliable, and sustainable to achieve pipe integrity. This means ensuring a pipeline and all its related components are running properly, no small task.

“We constantly work to maintain a reliable sewer conveyance system by utilizing a plethora of innovative and cost-effective technologies,” said Hubbard.

Trenchless technology also results in cost savings

Trrenchless technology is also cost effect in addition to being less disruption to customers. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Trrenchless technology is also cost effect in addition to being less disruption to customers. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

VWD employed two types of trenchless rehabilitation methods, cured-in-place-pipe (CIPP) liners and spiral wound liners to maintain District pipes. CIPP liners are epoxy saturated felt tubes, which are inserted into the existing pipe, then cured and hardened by steam. There are no joints or seams. Spiral Wound Liners use an above groundwinding machine to feed interlocking PVC profile into an old pipe.

Both methods result in a new “pipe within a pipe.” Little to no digging is involved in this trenchless process, making for a less disruptive and more cost-effective method than traditional “dig and replace” pipe repair methods. The liner can be inserted using water or air pressure. Liner technology is particularly effective in hard to reach areas, such as easements. For projects along residential and business streets, the trenchless method reduces disruptions and impacts to businesses and neighborhoods.

This technology helped the Vallecitos Water District to rehabilitate 1,595 feet of sewer pipe. The district plans to rehabilitate another 2,300 feet in 2020. Sections of critical infrastructure were rehabilitated at an affordable price due to the CIPP and spiral wound liner options. No sewer laterals were cut, and work was done without a sewer bypass. The project was completed with a savings to the District of $37,000 under the estimated budget. The lining part of the operation took less than three hours.

READ MORE: Innovative Relining Program Reduces Cost, Extends Pipeline Service

 

Salton Sea Restoration Program is moving forward with a restoration project to benefit migratory birds.

Major Habitat Restoration Project Set to Move Forward at Salton Sea

The State of California, after resolving key hurdles, is set to move forward on a restoration project at the Salton Sea to improve habitat for migratory birds, while covering more exposed sea bed.

When the State Water Resources Control Board last met to discuss the status of the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP), Chairman E. Joaquin Esquivel called upon the State to resolve issues causing delays in the State’s lead project at the sea—Species Conservation Habitat.

Resolution was reached on several of the issues in May, and now the state can move forward with a design-build plan for constructing the habitat project. Development of the project is a tangible sign of the Salton Sea Management Plan being implemented.

Wetlands project completed

Smaller-scale restoration projects at the Salton Sea are moving forward. California agencies, the Salton Sea Authority, and the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Tribe completed a 60-acre wetlands project on the northern end of the sea. Additionally, work is advancing on the 500-plus acre Red Hill Marina wetlands project on the southeast side of the sea. Earthwork is complete, pipelines are in place, and pumps have been ordered and are on their way.

But, the Species Conservation Habitat project is the shining piece of phase one of California’s 10-year approach to the Salton Sea Management Program. It is a proof of concept project that would lay the groundwork for projects to come. The habitat project spans nearly 4,000 acres and entails building a series of ponds that would provide a controlled habitat to manage a fish population, which, in return, would provide a food source for migratory birds. Most importantly, it is a habitat project that would cover an expansive area of exposed playa.

Land issues resolved

What makes the Species Conservation Habitat project so critical is that it has already gone through the permitting phase for the entire 4,000 acres and is ready to move forward with construction. Those who follow the Salton Sea issues anticipated SCH would already be moving forward by now in a phased approach that would have seen about 640 acres completed first. However, an easement issue, lack of staff dedicated to the SSMP, and a learning curve associated with a design-build project delivery process – led to delays in the project.

With land issues resolved, the fact that California is increasing its staff dedicated to the Salton Sea and the Salton Sea Management Plan, and state agencies becoming more familiar with the design-build project delivery method, several obstacles impeding progress have been removed. The 4,000-acre project is expected to start this year be completed in 2023.

The State Water Resources Control Board will likely be holding a new workshop on the Salton Sea in the near future. By then, the State is to have a recovery plan as a path forward to prevent future delays in project development.