Facilities and Operations

News on the processes, people, and places working to deliver a safe and reliable wholesale water supply to the San Diego region’s 24 member water agencies.

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 […]

Vallecitos Water District Wastewater Collection Systems workers Raul Rodarte (left) and David Saavedra conduct smoke testing. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Vallecitos Water District Smokes Out Wastewater System Problems

Problems in wastewater systems can’t hide behind a smokescreen at the Vallecitos Water District. The district’s Systems Collection Department routinely performs “smoke testing” of its wastewater system. This technique can easily locate flows caused by broken or incorrectly installed sewer pipes, lateral connections, or missing/broken clean-out caps. The test is performed by introducing smoke, comprised […]

San Diego regional water quality regulators issued a new permit for the development of permanent, stand-alone seawater intake and discharge facilities at the Carlsbad Desalination Plant. Photo: Water Authority

New Permit Fosters Sustainable Water Production at Carlsbad Desalination Plant

San Diego regional water quality regulators today issued a permit for the installation of new, technologically advanced and environmentally sensitive seawater intake and discharge facilities at the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant. The plant – and the new permit – support Gov. Gavin Newsom’s April 29 executive order for California “to think differently and […]

Alexander Schultz, Otay Water District geographic information systems technician, operates a drone in front of a district water storage tank. Photo: Otay Water District

Drones Offer Water Agencies Cost, Safety Benefits

Water agencies across San Diego County are saving time and money while improving employee safety with drones. Industry analysts say drone use by water agencies worldwide is growing. The Helix Water District, Otay Water District and the San Diego County Water Authority have embraced the technology, using drones to inspect and monitor facilities, and to […]

FPUD is embarking on a number of prevention, maintenance and improvement projects to safeguard and maintain its pipes and infrastructure. Photo: Fallbrook PUD

Fallbrook PUD Goes With the Maintenance Flow to Provide Reliable Service

Water pipeline blowouts like the one the day before Thanksgiving 2017 at the intersection of Stagecoach Road and Ranchwood Lane in Fallbrook provide periodic reminders about the realities of aging infrastructure. Preventing these type of emergencies is the driving force behind planned shutdowns at water agencies such as the Fallbrook Public Utility District; investments today […]

Water Resources Engineer Sami Sweis holds the Nautilus in his right hand and a foam ball in his left hand that the high-tech device is placed in before it is inserted into a water pipeline to scan for potential leaks. Photo: Water Authority

High-Tech Tools Help Detect Possible Pipeline Problems

It’s a whole new ballgame for the San Diego County Water Authority when it comes to finding leaks in major pipelines with cutting-edge technology. One new tech tool deployed for the first time in February actually looks like a tennis ball that floats through water-filled pipelines scanning for potential trouble. Of course, the new device […]

A $28.6 million project to rehabilitate more than four miles of large-diameter pipeline between Lake Murray and Sweetwater Reservoir was completed in June 2018. Photo: Water Authority

Water Authority Adapts to Overheated U.S. Construction Costs

Construction costs have surged across the nation over the past year as prices for materials used in construction have risen. At the same time, contractors are struggling to meet project deadlines due to a shortage of skilled workers, construction trade industry publication Constructive Dive reported on March 18. Those higher construction costs are impacting local […]

View looking north of the First Aqueduct right of way in Valley Center. Photo: Water Authority

Historic Pipeline Project Boosts Long-Term Water Reliability

San Diego County Water Authority crews successfully completed the first of three coordinated shutdowns of the First Aqueduct in early March to launch a major renovation of dozens of structures on two pipelines, including the historic Pipeline 1 that first delivered imported water to the region in 1947. The series of shutdowns was carefully planned […]

A wooden dam helped allow Operations and Maintenance crews to make repairs to a leaking pipeline valve. Photo: Water Authority Dewatering project

Quick Solution Keeps Pipeline Repairs on Track

When Water Authority crews began dewatering part of the region’s pipeline system for a 10-day shutdown in mid-November, they discovered a leaking valve that threatened to disrupt the time-sensitive operation. At issue was a six-foot diameter valve in the Second Aqueduct that was designed to isolate a section of pipeline so workers could safely make […]

The $24 million Pipeline 5 Relining Project in Fallbrook is expected to conclude in summer 2019. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Pipeline 5 Upgrades Begin in Fallbrook

A $25.3 million Pipeline 5 relining project is under way in North County to improve the reliability of the San Diego region’s water delivery system. The project involves rehabilitating approximately 2.3 miles of one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s regional wholesale water pipelines in eight segments along a 9.5-mile stretch through the community […]

L.H. Woods working on one of its first projects for the Water Authority in 1960. Photo: Courtesy L.H. Woods

L.H. Woods & Sons Honored for 60 Years of Enhancing Region’s Aqueducts

After 60 years of work upgrading the San Diego regional aqueduct system, Vista-based L.H. Woods & Sons, Inc. was honored by the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors upon completion of the company’s final project under local ownership for the Water Authority. The Board formally marked the successful conclusion of the $28.6 million […]

The Water Authority is increasing its commitment to innovation by hosting technology-focused forums and looking for new tools to help operate and maintain the region's water infrastructure. Photo: Water Authority

Agency Embraces Innovation at Technology Showcase

San Diego, Calif. – Welcome to the future. That’s the message from the San Diego County Water Authority, which is developing and deploying cutting-edge techniques to maintain its 310 miles of giant pipes that provide water for 3.3 million residents across the region. “This is all about assessing the condition of our pipelines through the […]

The Water Authority is in the final stages of the Lake Murray to Sweetwater Reservoir Pipeline 3 Relining Project, including the restoration of roadways to pre-construction condition. La Mesa Relining Project

La Mesa Relining Project on Pace for Completion in June

Major construction activities have concluded at a pipeline relining project in La Mesa and Spring Valley, and the entire project is on track for completion by the end of June. The Lake Murray to Sweetwater Reservoir Pipeline 3 Relining Project rehabilitated 4.3 miles of 66- and 69-inch diameter pipes, extending the pipeline’s service life by […]

The $24 million Pipeline 5 Relining Project in Fallbrook is expected to conclude in summer 2019. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Pipeline Upgrades Coming to Fallbrook in Fall 2018

A major water pipeline that runs through rural North County is getting the water industry’s version of a makeover. The San Diego County Water Authority plans to start relining one of its regional wholesale water pipelines in fall 2018, extending its service life by more than 75 years. Construction is expected to last about one […]

Once the liners are installed, they are welded together, grout is injected to fill the space between the liners and the original pipe, and cement mortar is applied on the inside of the steel liner. Photo: SDCWA

Innovative Relining Program Reduces Cost, Extends Pipeline Service Life

When the San Diego County Water Authority installed major sections of 66- to 96-inch diameter pipelines in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s, the regional water wholesale agency used cost-saving pipeline material – a combination of steel wires, thin steel pipe, and concrete widely known as Pre-Stressed Concrete Cylinder Pipe (PCCP). Decades later, agencies around […]