Sweetwater Authority Board Appoints Chair and New Committee Assignments for 2020

Chula Vista, CA – Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Governing Board voted in December to appoint Steve Castaneda as Board Chair for 2020; this will be his second term as chair. Hector Martinez was appointed as Vice Chair for 2020.

San Diego County Water Authority Makes Settlement Offer to End Litigation

The San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) sent a comprehensive settlement offer to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) last month that would end nearly a decade of ongoing litigation over rates between the two agencies.

For over a year, SDCWA had been meeting in confidential settlement discussions with MWD to find an equitable resolution to litigation over MWD’s rates.

Helix Water District Logo Square

Helix Board Elects Officers for 2020

At their December 18, 2019 meeting, Helix Water District’s board of directors unanimously elected Director Mark Gracyk to serve as board president in 2020 and Director DeAna Verbeke to serve as the board’s vice president.

New Agricultural Water Rate Program Benefits San Diego County Growers

The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors Nov. 21 approved a new and permanent Special Agricultural Water Rate program structure that offers lower water rates to farmers in exchange for lower water supply reliability.

Unlike the current temporary program, the structure of the new water rate program will let new participants join as a way to strengthen the region’s multi-billion-dollar agriculture industry.

Fallbrook Public Utility District logo

FPUD Board Appoints New Director

Fallbrook, Calif. –The Fallbrook Public Utility District board of directors appointed local businessman Dave Baxter to fill the board seat vacated in July by Al Gebhart.

Baxter, current president of the Live Oak Park Coalition, was selected during a special board meeting to fill the empty Subdistrict No. 1 seat. He is senior director at Relevant Solutions, a company providing business solutions through instrumentation, and rotating and thermal equipment.


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One Seat Open on FPUD Board

Fallbrook, Calif. – One seat is open for the Fallbrook Public Utility District board of directors.

Local residents interested in serving on the FPUD board can apply by writing a statement of qualifications that includes name, physical address, contact information and a brief background of education. The deadline to apply is Aug. 16 at 5 p.m. The statement must be delivered to the FPUD office’s board secretary, at 990 E. Mission Road in Fallbrook.

Kelley Scores 17-Month Consulting Deal With IID

With the start of the new year came the start of a 17-month consulting service agreement between the Imperial Irrigation District board and its recently retired general manager, Kevin Kelley. The value of the contract, which is specifically for consultation between Kelley and the IID Board of Directors, not IID staff, is just under $396,000. It ends May 30, 2020, the same date Kelley’s employment contract as GM would have ended had he not retired, said IID board President Erik Ortega.

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 Lake Murray to Sweetwater Reservoir pipeline relining project at its September 27 meeting. L.H. Woods reinforced 4.3 miles of large-diameter pipeline to extend its service life by decades. At the meeting, the Board adopted a resolution honoring Woods for decades of unequaled service to the region’s 3.3 million residents and its $220 billion economy.

L.H. Woods works on the 2nd Aqueduct in 1972. Photo: Courtesy L.H. Woods

L.H. Woods works on the 2nd Aqueduct in 1972. Photo: Courtesy L.H. Woods

Since Woods’ first Water Authority project in 1959 to excavate the Second Aqueduct, three generations of Woods have worked on approximately 40 projects  for the agency. Work includes construction of several pipeline segments in the 1960s, 70s and 80s; construction of the North County Distribution Pipeline in the 1990s; emergency pipeline repairs near the San Diego River in 2008; and several pipeline relining projects in recent decades.

“Nothing is more important to our region’s economy and quality of life than ensuring our pipelines continue to deliver water without interruption – and no company has played a bigger role in that effort than Woods,” said Jim Madaffer, chair of the Water Authority’s Board. “Woods brings to each project an innovative spirit and an unwavering commitment to excellence that benefits every person in our region every single day.”

L.H. Woods played key role in Water Authority relining project

L.H. Woods working on its final project within the Water Authority's relining program in 2017. Photo: Courtesy L.H. Woods

L.H. Woods working on its final project within the Water Authority’s relining program in 2017. Photo: Courtesy L.H. Woods

In September 2017, Woods started construction on the La Mesa to Sweetwater relining project. Crews conducted most of the work underground and used 17 portals to access the 66-inch and 69-inch diameter prestressed concrete cylinder pipe. Woods deployed specialized installation equipment built specifically for the Water Authority’s aqueduct system to install steel pipeline liners.

Much of the construction was in public rights-of-way in La Mesa on Baltimore Drive (south of the Laport Street-El Paso Street intersection), Nebo Drive (to University Avenue), and Spring Street. Work did not close any streets, through it temporarily reduced lanes for traffic. All construction equipment has been removed, and all streets have been restored.

L.H. Woods working on one of many projects within the Water Authority's relining program in 2000. Photo: Courtesy L.H. Woods

L.H. Woods working on one of many projects within the Water Authority’s relining program in 2000. Photo: Courtesy L.H. Woods

As a certified small business, Woods participated in the Water Authority’s Small Contractor Outreach and Opportunities Program, which is designed to maximize participation by small businesses in the agency’s procurements. In June, the company was purchased by J.F. Shea Co., Inc., one of the largest and oldest privately held construction companies in the nation. Shea’s storied history includes work on the Golden Gate Bridge, Hoover Dam and the pipeline connecting the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant to the Water Authority’s regional water distribution system.

With the completion of the La Mesa to Sweetwater relining project, the Water Authority has relined 45 of the 82 miles of pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipe in its system.

An L.H. Woods crew works on emergency repairs for the Water Authority in 2008. Photo: Courtesy L.H. Woods

An L.H. Woods crew works on emergency repairs for the Water Authority in 2008. Photo: Courtesy L.H. Woods

Pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipes were commonly installed between the early 1960s and the late 1980s in water distribution systems throughout the world. This combination of concrete and steel initially appeared to provide unparalleled inner pipe strength and be highly resistant to corrosion. However, pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipes have not been as reliable as predicted, and the Water Authority is proactively relining sections of that pipe to extend their service life by at least 75 years.

The Water Authority’s relining program is an important part of its Asset Management Program, which helps avoid pipeline failures by identifying potential risks before they cause problems. To date, the Asset Management Program has saved water ratepayers more than $200 million by prioritizing repairs, avoiding unnecessary work and maximizing the service life of the region’s 310 miles of large-diameter pipelines.




Water Authority Elects Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary of Board

The San Diego County Water Authority’s board of directors has elected Jim Madaffer as chair, Gary Croucher as vice chair and Christy Guerin as secretary. They began their two-year terms Oct. 1. Madaffer, who joined the Water Authority board in November 2012, is president of the public policy firm Madaffer Enterprises. A former city councilman, Madaffer previously served as chair of the SANDAG’s transportation committee and as president of the California League of Cities. Croucher has served on the Water Authority board for more than 17 years, serving as board secretary for the past two years.

Jim Madaffer Takes Over As Water Authority Board Chair

Former City Councilman Jim Madaffer will begin a two-year term on Oct. 1 as chair of the San Diego County Water Authority board. Madaffer, who represents San Diego on the 36-member board, was vice chair and in line to assume the top role. He succeeds Mark Muir, who represents the San Dieguito Water District. “The Water Authority is one of our region’s most important institutions, and I’m committed to continuing our long tradition of providing safe and reliable water supplies that sustain 3.3 million people and our $220 billion economy,” said Madaffer.