An employee looks into a section of pipeline. One of the projects receiving an award.

Water Authority Wins Four Awards for Outstanding Projects

The American Public Works Association and American Society of Civil Engineers recently presented the San Diego County Water Authority with four awards for construction projects that exemplified outstanding skill, dedication and collaboration from staff in many departments. All of the projects were underway or completed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and project teams navigated shutdowns, adapted to health and safety restrictions, and overcame many other uncertainties – in addition to typical challenges encountered during construction projects.

1) APWA Project of the Year: Northern First Aqueduct Structures and Lining Rehabilitation

With extensive coordination between the Water Authority’s Asset Management, Operations, Maintenance, Right of Way, Water Resources, Engineering and Public Affairs teams, the First Aqueduct rehabilitation project was completed in early 2021. Significant work had not been performed on the First Aqueduct since the completion of Pipeline 1 in 1947 and Pipeline 2 in 1954. The Operations and Maintenance Teams worked closely with multiple member agencies to ensure no impacts to water deliveries over the extended shutdowns required to reline both Pipelines. These extended shutdowns allowed the Asset Management team to inspect 27 miles of pipeline along the aqueduct using innovative technologies – the first time this had been done in nearly 75 years.

“Since the project included more than 35 work sites spread out over 15 miles, many in rural areas of the county, we collaborated closely between different departments and member agencies to ensure that water service was not disrupted,” said Emma Ward-McNally, Water Authority engineer.

2) APWA Honor Award: Vallecitos 11/Vista Irrigation 12 Flow Control Facility

This new facility replaced the existing Vallecitos 2/Vista Irrigation 1 facility that was built in 1954. The Water Authority’s Operations and Maintenance team worked closely with the Engineering team to develop a construction sequence to build the new facility while maintaining water service to member agencies.

“A meticulous level of detail in the design process allowed for the project to be completed with minimal changes during construction,” said Jim Zhou, Water Authority senior engineer.

3) APWA Honor Award: San Diego 28 Flow Control Facility

The new flow control facility replaced the San Diego 12 flow control facility. The Water Authority’s Right of Way team worked closely with the City of San Diego to acquire property rights for the facility. During construction, electrical and rotating technicians from Operations and Maintenance provided support to ensure that the facility was constructed correctly and that electrical relay protection was coordinated when connecting to San Diego Gas & Electric.

“The new facility repurposed an existing building at the site, but it was forward-looking – the project included the installation of a second pipe train for a future inline hydroelectric turbine,” said Aaron Trimm, Water Authority senior engineer.

4) ASCE Award of Excellence: Pipeline 5 Emergency Repair

After nearby Pipeline 4 was repaired in late 2019, the Asset Management team inspected Pipeline 5 in early 2020, and found it needed repairs as well. Multiple Water Authority departments and teams collaborated to launch the emergency repairs on Pipeline 5, despite the uncertainty of the growing pandemic. The Engineering Contracts group executed five contracts and task authorizations for design, construction and inspection within a few weeks to make the project happen, and the work was completed in April 2020.

“The project was a true team effort that required collaboration from multiple departments to ensure that the emergency repair could be completed even as the region was shutting down due to the pandemic,” said Colin Kemper, Water Authority senior engineer.

GIS Analyst Wins VCMWD Manager’s Award

Marlene Martinez, Senior Geographical Information System Analyst, is the Valley Center Municipal Water District Manager’s Award winner for 2020. Martinez, a 13-year district employee, was recognized for her outstanding work in developing and expanding the District’s GIS program capabilities.

Olivenhain Municipal Water District Logo landscape design workshops

Olivenhain Municipal Water District Receives Highest Achievement for Financial Reporting

Encinitas, Calif. — Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors accepted at its November 18 meeting the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. This marks the twenty-fifth consecutive year OMWD has received the award.

Vista Irrigation District Logo

Vista Irrigation District Receives National Award for Financial Reporting

Vista, Calif. — Vista Irrigation District has been presented with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its comprehensive annual financial report for fiscal year ending June 30, 2019. This certificate is the only national award for public sector financial reporting.

Oceanside city leaders and water experts placed a giant Google Maps “location pin” into the ground at the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility in February, which officially marked the new recycled water project on the map. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority Oceanside wins

City of Oceanside Wins WateReuse Award of Excellence

The City of Oceanside received an Award of Excellence during the WateReuse Association virtual conference in June 2020. Oceanside received the Recycled Water Agency of the Year for small systems, which recognizes an agency that has developed recycled water, on a significant level, as an alternative water source within their service area, regionally, or statewide.

The development of water reuse programs addresses a variety of challenges currently faced by the City. Today, Oceanside imports most of its water from the Sacramento Bay Delta and the Colorado River, both of which are hundreds of miles away. In order to gain greater water-independence, the Oceanside City Council set a goal of a 50% local water supply by 2030. After almost a decade of regional and local planning efforts, the City of Oceanside has developed a comprehensive water reuse program including expanding water recycling and advanced water purification. The planning efforts have taken place since 2010 and have laid the groundwork for the City’s recycled water and potable reuse programs.

“The City of Oceanside is proud to receive the Recycled Water Agency of the Year Award,” said Cari Dale, City of Oceanside water utilities director. “Our staff works hard to ensure the City continues to increase our local water supply reliability and provide multiple benefits to our residents and businesses by reusing our water resources to their fullest potential.”

70 million gallons of recycled water distributed yearly

Pure Water Oceanside Groundbreaking-February 2020-Water News Network-SDCWA

Construction is underway for the $67 million Pure Water Oceanside project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2021. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

The City of Oceanside has 1.2 miles of recycled pipeline that distributed nearly 70 million gallons (236-acre feet) per year. The distribution system currently supplies recycled water to the Oceanside Municipal Golf Course, Goat Hills Golf Course, and El Corazon Sport Complex.

Oceanside is currently expanding its recycled water system in two phases. Phase 1 will add approximately seven miles of distribution pipelines and approximately 10 miles of additional distribution pipelines will be added for Phase 2. Recycled water customers will include commercial users with significant irrigation demands for landscaping such as golf courses, HOAs, City parks, as well as industrial and agricultural customers.

Pure Water Oceanside

The City is also pursuing an advanced water purification project called Pure Water Oceanside. The project will create between 3 to 5 million gallons a day of high-quality drinking water that is clean, safe, drought-proof, and exceptionally pure.

Purified water, like the water created through Pure Water Oceanside, starts with recycled water that is further treated through proven advanced water purification processes to create clean and safe drinking water. The water purification process uses state-of-the-art purification steps that replicates and accelerates nature’s natural recycling process. Scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021, Pure Water Oceanside will be the first operating advanced water purification facility in San Diego County.

Through the expansion of recycled water and the development of Pure Water Oceanside, Oceanside has demonstrated leadership, creativity, and persistence in the development of a comprehensive water reuse program. Oceanside is well on its way to meet the City Council’s goal of 50% local water supply by 2030. By 2023 33% of Oceanside’s water supply will be local, which will increase to 56% by 2030.

EPA awards $280,000 to Advance Environmental Projects In the California/Baja California Border Region

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it will award nearly $280,000 to four environmental projects benefiting the U.S.-Mexico border region between California and Baja California. With matching funds, the total benefit to the projects will total over half a million dollars.