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New Imperial Irrigation Board Seated Amid Tensions Over Labor Agreement

Sparks were flying even before the Imperial Irrigation District’s newly elected directors were sworn in, and questions remain as to how the board’s two newest faces will fit into the powerful, five-member panel.

Community activist Javier Gonzalez’s and 24-year-old JB Hamby’s tenure got off to a rocky start on Dec. 4, as both skipped their official swearing-in ceremony because the district barred them from bringing guests due to COVID-19 precautions. Instead they held their own event in front of several dozen supporters, overseen by a superior court judge, on the steps of the Imperial County courthouse, which Hamby said was legally allowed under the California Water Code.

Helix Water District Logo Square officers for 2021

Helix Water District Board Elects Officers for 2021

At a December 9, 2020 meeting, the Helix Water District Board of Directors elected Director Joel Scalzitti to serve as board president in 2021 and Director Kathleen Coates Hedberg to serve as the board’s vice president.

Scalzitti was elected to the board in 2012 and represents Helix’s division 5, which extends from El Cajon to Lake Jennings.

Hedberg has served on Helix’s board since 2006 and represents the district’s division 4 customers in La Mesa, Casa de Oro and El Cajon.

California’s $16 Billion Climate-Hardy Water Tunnel Moves Ahead

California’s plans to build a new tunnel to move water from the northern Delta to the thirsty, populous south of the state advanced a step Tuesday, when a key partner agreed to help fund some of the effort. The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the largest treated water supplier in the nation, voted to pay nearly $59 million in 2021 and 2022 to the state Department of Water Resources to help move the project forward.

 

Ramona Water District Board to Appoint New Member Before February

The Ramona Municipal Water District Board of Directors hopes to appoint a candidate early next year to fill a vacant Division 3 board seat for the next two years. The board is on a fast track to find a replacement for incumbent Director Thomas N. Ace, one of two candidates who was running for a four-year seat.

Johnson, Moss, Mack, McSorley Seek Rainbow Board Seats

Two Rainbow Municipal Water District board seats will have contested elections this year. Hayden Hamilton was unopposed for a second term in the Division 2 seat. Helene Brazier is retiring as the Division 1 director and Rainbow committee members Julie Johnson and Pam Moss are seeking that seat. Current Division 5 board member Michael Mack is being challenged by current Vallecitos School District board member Kathy McSorley. Division 1 includes Morro Hills, Bonsall, and Vista Valley while Division 5 is in Rainbow and also covers new development projects east of Interstate 15

(L to R): Director DeAna Verbeke, Board President Mark Gracyk, Director and Parks, Land, Lakes and Garden Committee Chair Dan McMillan, Director and Parks, Land, Lakes and Garden Committee ViceChair Joel Scalzitti, and Director Kathleen Hedberg cut the ribbon for the new Lake Jennings Boat Dock on Monday, August 31. Photo: Helix Water District

New Lake Jennings Boat Dock Open

A new floating boat dock at popular reservoir and recreation facility Lake Jennings was unveiled with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 31 and opened to the public for boating and fishing activities.

The dock is reinforced concrete encapsulating a solid polystyrene core, which makes the dock float. Numerous safety features include a nonskid concrete surface, enhanced security fencing and access gate, gangway handrails, and support posts to assist visitors as they enter and exit boats.

The new dock is replacing a wooden dock that, after 25 years, had reached the end of its useful life. Visitors use the dock to rent motorboats, rowboats, kayaks and paddleboats to explore the lake and catch fish.

Video of the new dock

New standard for future improvements at Lake Jennings

“Over the years, we have upgraded our campground facilities, installed new trails, and improved our recreation programs to make Lake Jennings a fantastic East County destination,” said Helix Water District board member and Parks, Land, Lakes and Garden Committee Vice-Chair Joel Scalzitti. “With our recent dock improvements, even more visitors can enjoy everything the lake has to offer.”

The modular dock is easily reconfigured and expanded and features a new, solar-powered dock house, lighting improvements for nighttime operations, shade structure, lockable kayak storage, and additional boat slips.

Visitors use the dock to rent motorboats, rowboats, kayaks and paddleboats to explore the lake and catch fish. The replacement dock is expected to last for generations to come. Photo: Helix Water District

Visitors can use the Lake Jennings boat dock to rent motorboats, rowboats, kayaks, and paddleboats to explore the lake. The replacement dock is expected to last for generations to come. Photo: Helix Water District

“This project is a long-term investment in our lake operations and the community,” said Helix Water District board member and Parks, Land, Lakes, and Garden Committee Chair Dan McMillan. “This is a high-quality dock and it sets the standard for future improvements at the lake.”

The district’s board is in the early stages of evaluating improvements of similar quality at the lake’s campground.

Lake Jennings is one of two reservoirs owned by Helix Water District. It has a water storage capacity of 9,790 acre-feet and is open to the public for boating, fishing, camping, and hiking.

The lake is currently open on Fridays from 3 p.m. to midnight for night fishing, and for fishing and day-use on Saturdays and Sundays from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. The campground – which boasts full-hookup, partial-hookup, non-hookup, and tipi sites – is open daily and accepting reservations. Further information, including COVID-19 safety requirements for visitors, is available: www.lakejennings.org.

Olivenhain Municipal Water District Logo landscape design workshops

Olivenhain Municipal Water District Board Will Not Increase Capacity Fees in 2020

Encinitas, Calif. — Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors voted unanimously at its August meeting not to raise water capacity fees in Fiscal Year 2021. After a comprehensive review, the board determined that current fees adequately cover OMWD’s planned capital expenditures through June 30, 2021.

Capacity fees are one-time charges to new development connecting to OMWD’s water system. Capacity fees are collected to fund necessary system expansion, replacement, and improvement projects to provide current and future ratepayers with a safe, reliable water supply.

Sweetwater Authority Board Approves $64M Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21, No Rate Increase

The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board approved the budget for fiscal year 2020-21 at its June 24, 2020 meeting. The budget does not increase water rates for customers and reflects more than $13M in reductions over last fiscal year. To achieve these savings, the Board worked closely with Authority staff to produce a balanced budget that minimizes the financial impact to customers.

The Fallbrook PUD Board tour group initially drove from the FPUD administration building to the Alturas Road plant and then traveled along the pipeline alignment before arriving at the Gheen Pump Station. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utilities District

Fallbrook PUD Board Members Tour Construction Project

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, public agencies have found creative solutions to holding meetings in compliance with the State of California’s meeting laws. Recently, Fallbrook Public Utility District board members stepped away from their video screens, using the opportunity to take a field trip to view a new project while conducting a traveling board meeting.

The Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project is a joint project with Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, and will eventually supply about 30% of the District’s water, and virtually all of Camp Pendleton’s water.

Fallbrook PUD board members view construction project

Construction of the first section of pipeline on Merida Drive is part of the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project. This segment of pipeline between Alturas and Mission roads is about 4,500 linear feet and is 35% installed. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utilities District Fallbrook PUD Board

Construction of the first section of pipeline on Merida Drive is part of the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project. This segment of pipeline between Alturas and Mission roads is about 4,500 linear feet and is 35% installed. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

At the time of the tour, the project had been under construction for 250 days. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions, board members and others who attended the traveling meeting stayed in their cars. While behind the wheel, board members wove through parts of Fallbrook to follow the path of the new pipeline. With their smartphones turned on and hands-free, representatives followed each other in a single file parade while listening to a live conference call with the project contractor.  Board members learned about construction progress, and saw where and how the pipe will be installed.

The tour and the project began at the treatment plant on Alturas Road, where bulldozers and heavy machinery are moving earth to build the pipeline and a water treatment plant. The pipeline will transport water from the plant through parts of central Fallbrook, ending at McDonald Road. The project also includes a new four million-gallon storage tank, where the tour ended. Participants discussed the possibility of a subsequent tour to view ongoing progress with construction of the facilities.

The entire construction process will take approximately two years to complete, with the pipeline becoming fully operational by 2022.

Deputy Mayor to Serve on San Diego County Water Authority

On Wednesday, May 27 the San Diego County Water Authority welcomed Escondido Deputy Mayor Consuelo Martinez as its newest board member. The deputy mayor was sworn into the role via a Zoom call from her office.