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OMWD Recognizes Winners of the Annual Water Awareness Poster Contest

Encinitas, Calif. — Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors recognized at its May 18 meeting the top three entries in the 2022 “Love Water, Save Water” Poster Contest.

Fourth grade students living or attending school within OMWD’s service area were eligible to enter the contest. The recognized entries were from Flora Vista Elementary School and Stone Ranch Elementary School. The winning posters were submitted by Indira Jayanti, Ariana Lemle, and Emalyn Negrea. Indira’s poster depicts her creative interpretation of rain harvesting. Ariana’s poster featured a large drop of water illustrating four different natural landscapes dependent on water, and Emalyn’s artwork shows two mermaids happily swimming in water.

High School Photo Contest Winners Highlight the Importance and Beauty of Water

Chula Vista, Calif. – Twelve local high school students were honored for their award-winning photographs at the Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Board Meeting on May 11. The winners were selected from a group of 65 students from high schools across the South Bay who submitted over 150 entries for the Authority’s High School Photo Contest.

Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir

Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir Moving to Completion

The San Diego County Water Authority Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir project in North San Diego County reached a major milestone in late April when crews poured the concrete roof of the new prestressed concrete water tank. The major construction project, which began in March 2021, will improve drinking water supply reliability for the county.

The project began with the demolition of an abandoned steel tank, and includes construction of an isolation vault and an underground flow control facility, in addition to the new 2.1 million-gallon water tank connected to the Valley Center Pipeline. The project is expected to be completed by November 2022.

Improved flexibility with Hauck Mesa Reservoir

The new Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir will increase operational flexibility by balancing the flow of treated water between the agency’s first and second aqueducts as well as ensure water deliveries can be maintained even if power supplies are interrupted.

The walls of the new tank are about 60 feet tall, will be stained a forest green color to blend in with the natural landscape, and are made of prestressed, or wire wrapped, concrete. Construction Manager Emma Ward-McNally said that the prestressed technology “will maintain the tank walls in permanent compression, allowing the tank to accommodate seismic events while remaining watertight.”

Next steps for the project include the wire wrapping of the water tank, applying green-tinted shotcrete to the tank walls, installation of mechanical components within the flow control facility, system commissioning, and paving of the project site and access road.

Asset management

Strategic infrastructure improvements by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies are part of the regional effort to ensure continued delivery of water to support the region’s $240 billion economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents. As part of the asset management program, it is critical to actively replace and repair the Water Authority’s assets, which include pipes, valves, facilities, equipment, and other infrastructure.

The Water Authority will continue to work closely with the Valley Center community, Valley Center Municipal Water District, and nearby homeowners to minimize short-term construction impacts.

By working proactively with its supplier, the Helix Water District ensures stable renewal energy prices for its ratepayers. Photo: Jeremy Bezanger/Unsplash.com

Stable Renewable Energy Prices Locked In by Helix Water District

Proactive efforts by the Helix Water District have saved thousands of dollars per year in the district’s energy costs, and are helping it transition to renewable energy.

Helix buys most of its electricity through the State of California’s Direct Access Program and the electric service provider it contracts with, Calpine Energy Solutions. Helix has worked with Calpine since 2007 to manage the district’s energy costs and its move to renewable resources. It recently renewed its electricity-purchasing contract with the San Diego-based company that sells electricity. Helix relies on utilities like SDG&E, Southern California Edison, and PG&E to deliver it.

Helix negotiates contracts with Calpine that allow the district to lock in the price it pays for electricity. This limits the district’s exposure to events that cause energy costs to increase, like reduced hydropower production due to the drought, and higher natural gas prices due to the war in Ukraine.

Helix customers protected from market price increases

Calpine has also secured the renewable energy supply Helix needs through 2030. Calpine sources renewable energy from a portfolio of developers, including a new solar power facility in Riverside County. This will protect Helix and its customers over the next eight years, as market prices respond to increased demand and competition for renewable energy.

“For the last several years we’ve seen double-digit savings as high as 18% on electricity,” said Helix Assistant General Manager Brian Olney. “This year, with all that’s going on in the world and the market, we are doing very well for our customers.”

“We want stable prices for electricity because that helps stabilize water rates for our customers,” said Helix Board President Kathleen Coates Hedberg. “And we want the district to do its part to meet statewide goals for the use of electricity from renewable resources.”

Energy efficiency helps reduce costs

Helix also reduces costs by improving energy efficiency. In 2011, the district installed solar panels on its operations center in El Cajon that generate 90-100% of the facility’s electricity. In 2012, they retained DHK Engineers to perform an energy audit of all of the district’s facilities and operations.

“Implementing the recommendations from the audit reduced our annual energy use by 11%,” Olney said.

The next step at Helix is transitioning into electric vehicles. The district began the transition in 2019, with a grant from SDG&E to install electric vehicle charging stations, and rebates from the State of California on six Toyota Prius.

“This year,” said Helix Operations Director Kevin Miller, “we are testing Ford’s new electric pickups. We like to see companies move in this direction because when they take a step forward, Helix Water District takes a step forward.”

(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.)

Water Authority Awarded Patent for Pipeline Inspection Tool

The San Diego County Water Authority has been granted its first ever utility patent for a device that inspects interior sections of water pipelines that are inaccessible or not safe to inspect without expensive specialized gear and training.

Water Authority Operations and Maintenance Manager Martin Coghill invented the tool to save time, reduce costs and improve safety during ongoing aqueduct inspections. The Water Authority’s industry-leading Asset Management Program includes a proactive search for pipeline weaknesses that can be addressed before they become large and costly problems.

 

Barrett Reservoir was created with the completion of Barrett Dam in 1922 after about three years of construction. Photo: City of San Diego

City of San Diego Celebrates Barrett Reservoir 100 Year Anniversary

Barrett Reservoir marks its first century of service, playing an important role in the City of San Diego’s water supply system. Barrett is one of nine reservoirs that make up part of the City’s vast water system. Fishing season opens at the reservoir on May 4.

“For 100 years, Barrett Reservoir has served as an integral part of our drinking water system and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future,” said Juan Guerreiro, interim director of the San Diego Public Utilities Department. “Barrett is also a popular recreation area that San Diegans enjoy.”

Barrett Dam completed in 1922

Barrett Dam was completed in 1922 and named after George Barrett who owned the land at one time at the confluence of Cottonwood and Pine Valley Creeks. Photo: City of San Diego Barrett Reservoir

Barrett Dam was completed in 1922 and named after George Barrett, who owned the land at one time at the confluence of Cottonwood and Pine Valley Creeks. Photo: City of San Diego

Barrett Reservoir was created with the completion of Barrett Dam in 1922 after about three years of construction. Named after George Barrett, who owned the land at one time, the reservoir is located at the confluence of Cottonwood and Pine Valley creeks.

Barrett captures rainwater runoff only and is not fed by imported water. The reservoir’s water storage capacity is more than 34,800 acre-feet. Water from Barrett is transferred to the Lower Otay Reservoir via the Dulzura Conduit before being treated at the City’s Otay Water Treatment Plant for distribution to customers.

Fishing reservations

Public access to Barrett has been offered on a limited basis by reservation only since 1994. Fishing season runs from May to September, and waterfowl hunting is allowed from mid-October through January. Visitors can enjoy boating, kayaking, and float tubes, and the recreation area includes picnic areas, barbecues, and restrooms.

Fishing reservations are on sale through Ticketmaster. You must buy your ticket at least one day before your fishing day. A valid California Fishing License is required for anglers 16 years of age or older. California Department of Fish and Wildlife Freshwater Sport regulations and City regulations are strictly enforced. Fish available at Barrett include largemouth bass, bullhead catfish, crappie, and sunfish.

Reservations for waterfowl hunting at Barrett are sold in advance via a lottery draw method in October.

Barrett Reservoir is located at 19886 Japatul Lyons Valley Road in Jamul. More information about Barrett and other City reservoirs: sandiego.gov/reservoir-lakes.

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

underground-tank-mission-trails

New Water Tank in Mission Trails Nearly Complete and Will Soon Disappear

Construction of the new Flow Regulatory Structure II, or FRS II, in Mission Trails Regional Park is nearing completion. The structure is now completely enclosed on all sides and was successfully tested.

Construction crews have started placing soil around the exterior walls to begin burying the structure. In the next three weeks, the roof will be covered so the facility is concealed. Water is expected to begin flowing into FRS II in June 2022.

Mission Trails Regional Park project

The new structure, located in the northwest portion of Mission Trails Regional Park, is part of a San Diego County Water Authority project to upgrade the untreated water system that delivers water to treatment plants servicing the central and southern areas of the county, helping to balance the flow of untreated water. Once in operation, the FRS II will be capable of holding nearly five million gallons of water – enough water to fill seven Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Area will be restored with natural vegetation

Revegetation efforts will begin after FRS II is work is complete this fall. The topsoil was removed and stored onsite and will be returned help restore native plants and vegetation to pre-construction conditions.

Before the project began, 225 pounds of live seed was gathered from within Mission Trails Regional Park and taken to a dedicated nursery. From these seeds, more than 22,000 native plants are being grown and will be planted over a 17-acre area. Once planted, there will be a 120-day plant establishment period followed by five years of maintenance and monitoring to assure successful implementation.

Construction began in March 2020 just as the coronavirus pandemic began. As an essential infrastructure project, construction on the water project continued during the pandemic.

The Water Authority operates and maintains a regional water delivery system capable of delivering 900 million gallons of water per day.

Watch a recent news story about the project nearing completion.

Helix Water District Logo Square officers for 2021

Helix Water District Locks in Stable Prices for Renewable Energy

Helix Water District recently renewed its electricity-purchasing contract with San Diego-based Calpine Energy Solutions, a company that sells electricity but relies on utilities like SDG&E, Edison and PG&E to deliver it. Helix has worked with Calpine since 2007 to manage the district’s energy costs and its move to renewable resources.

City of San Diego Celebrates 100th Year of Barrett Reservoir

SAN DIEGO – This year marks a century of Barrett Reservoir playing an important part of the City of San Diego’s water supply. Barrett is one of nine reservoirs that make up part of the City’s vast water system. Fishing season opens at Barrett on Wednesday, May 4.  

Barrett Reservoir was created with the completion of Barrett Dam in 1922 after about three years of construction. Named after George Barrett who owned the land at one time, the reservoir is located at the confluence of Cottonwood and Pine Valley creeks.  

“For 100 years, Barrett Reservoir has served as an integral part of our drinking water system and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future,” said Juan Guerreiro, Interim Director of the City’s Public Utilities Department. “Barrett is also a popular recreation area that San Diegans enjoy.” 

 

Sweetwater Authority Approves Pipeline Projects in Bonita and the City of National City

Chula Vista, Calif. – The Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Governing Board approved $2.4M in pipeline projects in Bonita and National City to ensure continued reliable water service for customers. The Board voted to approve these projects at its April 27 Governing Board meeting. SRK Engineering was awarded the contract for construction that will begin in June 2022.