Miles of Aging Water Lines Remain Under San Diego

City and Caltrans crews remained at work in downtown Tuesday, cleaning up the mess after two water main breaks on Sunday closed freeway on-ramps and flooded businesses.

The first break came from a 76-year-old cast iron pipe near 11th and A street, which flooded local businesses and snarled traffic. Some time later, a 62-year-old concrete steel cylinder pipe failed near balboa park.

Fleet Science Center Offers Virtual Summer Camps

This summer, the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park will turn curious kids into happy campers with science-themed summer camps. The Fleet’s Summer Camps provide exciting experiments, intriguing investigations and fantastic fun for kids. Virtual Summer Camps began June 15 and end Aug. 14. Details:


San Diego Approved $15M for Golf Course Renovations, Including Torrey Pines

San Diego approved a $15 million contract Monday for upgrades and renovations to the city’s three municipal golf courses, including preparations at Torrey Pines to host next year’s U.S. Open.

The City Council unanimously approved the joint contract with four separate companies that will each perform parts of the work. Individual projects are expected to cost between $250,000 and $2.5 million each.

The city’s municipal courses include the north and south courses at Torrey Pines, 18-hole and nine-hole courses at Balboa Municipal, and the lighted Mission Bay executive golf course.

tate legislators, water industry leaders, veteran advocates and business and community organizations gathered at the Veterans Museum in Balboa Park Oct. 16 to celebrate Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signing of AB 1588.

New California Law Creates Path to Water Industry Jobs for Vets

State legislation co-sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority and the Otay Water District has been signed into law, making it possible for veterans to receive credit for their military education and experience when applying for civilian water and wastewater system operator certifications in California.

State legislators, water industry leaders, veteran advocates and business and community organizations gathered at the Veterans Museum in Balboa Park today to celebrate Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signing of Assembly Bill 1588.

The bill was introduced in the state legislature by Assemblymembers Todd Gloria (San Diego) and Adam Gray (Merced), and co-authored by several state legislators, including Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath (Oceanside).

The Water Authority and the Otay Water District co-sponsored the bill to increase the number of military veterans entering the civilian water and wastewater industry at a time when many Baby Boomers are retiring.

‘Silver Tsunami’ of retirements in water industry

“The new law helps our communities two ways – by lowering employment barriers for our veterans and sustaining our vital water and wastewater services for the next generation,” said Water Authority Board Secretary Christy Guerin. “This was a victory for San Diego and the whole state – a successful, bipartisan effort that will help maintain our economy and quality of life.”

The Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have created a regional workforce development task force to address the “Silver Tsunami” of retirees. The task force reported that there are approximately 4,500 water and wastewater positions in the San Diego region – and more than 1,400 of those workers are expected to reach retirement age by 2024. Statewide, there are approximately 6,000 active certified wastewater treatment plant operators and approximately 35,000 drinking water treatment and distribution operators.

Several states help veterans navigate the civilian water system operator certification process and allow veterans to apply equivalency standards to credit military experiences toward state or industry certifications in water and wastewater treatment and distribution. However, no similar approach existed in California.

AB 1588 Creates Path For Water Industry Jobs For Military Veterans

State legislation introduced by San Diego Assemblymember Todd Gloria (far right) and Merced Assemblymember Adam Gray creates a path to water and wastewater industry jobs for military veterans. AB 1588, signed into law by Gov. Newsom, was co-sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority and the Otay Water District. (L-to-R in photo: Mark Balmert, Executive Director, SDMAC, Jose Martinez, Assistant Chief Water Operations, Otay Water District, Christy Guerin, Board Secretary, San Diego County Water Authority, and Assemblymember Gloria). Photo: Water Authority

Creating bridges to water industry jobs

“What we are missing, and what this bill addresses, is a pathway in which we honor the experience of our veterans and allow that experience to qualify them for a career path in our civilian water systems,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “Thanks to Governor Newsom, that pathway now exists. California will now properly credit the service of our veterans and enable them to secure good-paying jobs here in our water system. In this time – when the importance of clean water and good paying jobs is undeniable – let’s create bridges not barriers.”

AB 1588 provides a pathway for military veterans to apply their advanced skills and experience toward state and industry-supplied certifications in the water and wastewater treatment and distribution operator fields. Additionally, it ensures that advanced water treatment operators and distribution system operators of potable reuse and recycled water facilities have a career advancement path as certified water and/or wastewater treatment plant operators.

“San Diego County is home to more than 240,000 veterans with skills that benefit our region in numerous ways,” said Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath of Encinitas, a co-author of the bill. “With this legislation, we are building stronger communities that can remain home to servicemembers after they take off the uniform and transition into civilian life.”

Veterans continue public service in water industry

Assistant Chief of Water Operations at the Otay Water District Jose Martinez is a veteran who initiated the idea of the bill and has thrived in the civilian water industry. “As someone who had the pleasure to serve alongside the members of the military responsible for the safe and reliable operation of water and wastewater systems, I observed firsthand their education, experience and dedication,” he said.

“Now, as a water manager responsible for providing safe and reliable water and wastewater services to the public, I championed this bill to provide a path for veterans to receive the certification credit they have earned after years of service. This will ensure that the water sector continues to recruit from the biggest and best talent pools to provide the highest level of service to everyone.”

Balboa Park sustainability efforts generate cost savings and efficiencies which boost its economic impact on the region. Photo: Water Authority

Balboa Park Sustainability Efforts Set World-Class Standards

Most visitors know San Diego’s Balboa Park for its world-class museums, gardens, and performing arts venues. Behind the scenes is a learning laboratory of environmental best practices. Aaron L. Boyles, sustainability manager for the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, describes an active, collaborative effort moving quickly to make Balboa Park the most sustainable urban park in the country. Conserving water is a critical component of this effort.

Sustainability benefits San Diego’s economy

How is Balboa Park managing to embrace sustainability without affecting its status as a major tourist attraction and economic driver for the San Diego region’s tourism sector? Boyles says improvements in sustainability actually enhance the park’s operations.

“The business model is pretty clear,” said Boyles. “When you reduce your need for resources, whether that is water, energy, or consumable products, you reduce your expenditures. When talking about buildings that accommodate millions of visitors per year, those savings are significant. That money can be reinvested into better things like infrastructure and the quality of the visitor experience.

“Last year alone, through the installation of more efficient plumbing fixtures, we were able to save 2.4 million gallons of water. That is equivalent to 3.6 Olympic-sized swimming pools, which really adds up in the long run,” explained Boyles.

An unexpected benefit from embracing sustainability is improved collaboration and communication among the many organizations in Balboa Park. “There was a time when neighboring organizations in the park saw each other as competitors. Now we see each other the way our visitors always have. We are One Park – One Team,” said Boyles. “Pooling our knowledge and efforts multiplies our power to get what we want, and we all want the same thing.”

Among its many initiatives, the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership is partnering with the San Diego County Water Authority this summer to promote the importance of safe and reliable water supplies for the region through the Water Authority’s Brought to You by Water outreach and education program

Balboa Park’s cactus gardens are beautiful and diverse, and represent best practices in landscaping with plants that are native to this area. They need very little water to look great, and can provide ideas for low-maintenance, drought- resistant landscapes at homes and businesses in San Diego County. Photo: Balboa Park Cultural Partnership Balboa Park Sustainability

Balboa Park’s cactus gardens are beautiful and diverse, and represent best practices in landscaping with plants that are native to this area. They need very little water to look great, and can provide ideas for low-maintenance, drought- resistant landscapes at homes and businesses in San Diego County. Photo: Balboa Park Cultural Partnership

Environmental awareness part of the park’s experience

“People come to Balboa Park to have fun and to learn from our cultural organizations. We are committed to making the park a showcase for resource efficiency just as it is for history, culture, and the arts. We aim to inspire millions of park visitors from across the region and around the world to embrace the human experience, and the connection to our environment has always been a formative part of that experience.”

Sustainability is now a unifying force in Balboa Park. “Each of our organizations offers something unique, but it turns out they all share the same challenges in their operations,” said Boyles. “With different organizations constantly trying new things, there are endless opportunities to share successes and lessons learned. The potential for partnerships is huge. We are a microcosm for the larger trend taking hold, which has players like the City of San Diego, SDG&E, and the San Diego County Water Authority making the commitment.”

“We import most of the water we use in San Diego, and Balboa Park wants to lead the way in conservation of this precious resource,” said Boyles. Low flow or waterless bathroom fixtures, efficient irrigation, and offering reusable water bottles are just some of the ways Balboa Park is setting high standards.

Water-use efficiency boosts green buildings

Balboa Park’s Sustainability Program continues to advance solutions that will help protect park resources and strengthen economic viability, while enhancing visitor experience and enjoyment.

Established in 2008, the award-winning Sustainability Program is a collaborative effort between the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, the City of San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric® (SDG&E). This collaboration is supported by an alliance of the Partnership’s members, Balboa Park stakeholders and sustainability experts.

The park is now home to 10 buildings certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, known widely as LEED®. LEED certified buildings promote environmental benefits by reducing energy and water use, as well as greenhouse gas emissions through efficient and sustainable practices.

The most frequently implemented energy-efficiency tactics include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning upgrades; lighting retrofits; control upgrades; and computer server consolidation. Many organizations at Balboa Park installed water-efficiency measures such as low-flow and faucet aerators.

The park’s LEED® certified buildings are:

  • The Old Globe
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • Fleet Science Center
  • WorldBeat Cultural Center
  • Casa de Balboa (San Diego History Center, Model Railroad Museum, Museum of Photographic Arts)
  • Casa del Prado (San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Youth Symphony)
  • House of Charm (Mingei International Museum and San Diego Art Institute)
  • Federal Building
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • San Diego Museum of Man