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The City of Poway is performing maintenance at Lake Poway, drawing the lake level down temporarily. Photo: City of Poway

Lake Poway Water Level Temporarily Reduced for Maintenance

Lake Poway’s water level is lower today, but it isn’t due to the current heatwave. The lake is being temporarily reduced to complete a planned maintenance project to replace a transducer.

Lake Poway serves as the City of Poway’s main water storage reservoir, with a capacity to hold more than one billion gallons of water. A transducer measures the lake’s water level and remotely sends data to the city.

The city typically takes advantage of lower summer lake levels every year as part of a process to maintain the water quality and for maintenance.  Water drawn down from Lake Poway is sent to the Lester J. Berglund Water Treatment Plant for treatment. Replacement water is added back in from supplies the city purchases from the San Diego County Water Authority.

Drinking water is not being discarded. Instead, the City of Poway is moving drinking water into the delivery system for treatment, and holding back on replenishing the lake until the maintenance project is complete.

The work creates a bonus for San Diego County’s avid fishing fans.

“It’s not unusual for the water level to be down in the lake this time of year,” said Allie Margie, Recreation Supervisor at Lake Poway. “Our night fishing and catfish restocking schedule aren’t affected – and with less water and more fish in the lake, your chances of making a catch might be better than ever.”

Three billion gallons of drinking water safely treated annually

Lake Poway treats three billion gallons of drinking water annually. Photo: City of Poway

Lake Poway treats three billion gallons of drinking water annually. Photo: City of Poway

Poway operates a modern water treatment and distribution system. Lake Poway serves as a storage reservoir for imported water from both the Colorado River and Northern California.

Water flows through the Berglund Water Treatment Plant, where approximately three billion gallons of drinking water are treated every year for the citizens of Poway. Once treated, the drinking water enters a system of pipes, pump stations, reservoirs for delivery to customer’s homes and businesses.

Did you know?

  • The City of Poway maintains about 294 miles of water pipe.
  • There are approximately 2,345 fire hydrants throughout the city.
  • There are over 5,044 valves in the water system.
  • Employees working in the water system are required to be certified by the State of California to work in a water system.

 

Poway Report Shows Drinking Water is Safe and High-Quality

The City of Poway’s drinking water remains high-quality according to the city’s 2019 annual Water Quality Report.

The annual publication is a state and federal requirement that provides test results of water quality analysis conducted in 2019, according to a press release from the city. It is also called a Consumer Confidence Report and is intended to educate the public on the extensive monitoring done on tap water and the findings of those tests.

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Ivan Martinez, City of Poway

This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Ivan Martinez, City of Poway Wastewater Utilities Worker, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Water Utility Hero of the Week-Ivan Martinez-City of Poway

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Ivan Martinez, City of Poway

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Ivan Martinez, City of Poway Wastewater Utilities Worker, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Ivan Martinez

Job/Agency: City of Poway Wastewater Utilities Worker

 

How did you become interested in working in the water industry?

Wastewater wasn’t my first choice, I had planned to work in another industry, but now I am very happy to be working in this field.

How has your job changed during the pandemic?

Our job has changed in a big way. With this pandemic and with a shortage of toilet paper, people are using other alternatives such as paper towels and wipes. It has made an impact on our wastewater system because these items are being flushed down the toilet and that slows down the flow or causes a blockage.  We are reporting to more alarms than usual, at all hours of the day, to make sure the wastewater flows.

How are you keeping safe?

Nothing much has changed because we already take sanitary precautions. We just need to clean our equipment more frequently, constantly wash our hands, and ensure we wear our additional PPE (personal protective equipment) during this pandemic.

What are you most looking forward to after the crisis ends?

I just hope that everyone is safe and healthy. Also I hope that everyone goes back to using toilet paper. LOL.

The Water Utility Hero of the Week highlights essential work performed during the COVID-19 pandemic by employees of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies

San Diego County Water Authority Member Agency Map

National Public Works Week Recognizes Essential Employees

Every time you fill up a water bottle or give the kids a bath, it’s due to the people working as essential employees behind the operation of water and wastewater systems within the San Diego County region’s public works infrastructure.

National Public Works Week takes place the third week of May annually in recognition of the public works professionals who provide and maintain vital public works infrastructure for the key contribution they make every day.

Water industry professionals are committed to serving San Diego County year-round by ensuring the seamless delivery of a safe and reliable water supply. During the coronavirus pandemic, dedicated essential employees have demonstrated exceptional dedication and creativity, making 2020 National Public Works Week especially significant.

Chris Walter, Helix Water District Inspector II, works while wearing a mask as an essential employee. Photo: Helix Water District

National Public Works Week Recognizes Essential Employees

Every time you fill up a water bottle or give the kids a bath, it’s due to the people working as essential employees behind the operation of water and wastewater systems within the San Diego County region’s public works infrastructure.

National Public Works Week takes place the third week of May annually in recognition of the public works professionals who provide and maintain vital public works infrastructure for the key contribution they make every day.

Water industry professionals are committed to serving San Diego County year-round by ensuring the seamless delivery of a safe and reliable water supply. During the coronavirus pandemic, dedicated essential employees have demonstrated exceptional dedication and creativity, making 2020 National Public Works Week especially significant.

Essential workers keep the water flowing

Helix Water District crews remain on the job during the coronavirus pandemic as essential employees being honored during National Public Works Week. Photo: Helix Water District

Helix Water District crews remain on the job during the coronavirus pandemic as essential employees being honored during National Public Works Week. Photo: Helix Water District

“Our employees are essential workers and they don’t take that lightly,” said Eric Heidemann, City of Poway director of public works. “From our water treatment plant operators to our technicians out in the field, they care for our Poway community and are committed to keeping our water supply safe during this crisis.”

Most of the infrastructure responsible for delivering the water the public depends on every day is hidden. This can make it easy to take a safe and reliable water supply for granted.

Bernardo Separa represents thousands of essential employees in public works being recognized during National Public Works Week. Photo: Otay Water District

Bernardo Separa of the Otay Water District represents thousands of essential employees in public works being recognized during National Public Works Week. Photo: Otay Water District

“It is very rewarding to complete projects as a team,” said Bernardo Separa, engineering design technician with the Otay Water District. “Knowing that you contributed and made a difference as a team member is a tremendous feeling.”

Safe, reliable water supply

“Our dedicated Helix employees help keep East County communities running by providing a safe and reliable water supply, 24/7,” said Carlos Lugo, General Manager, Helix Water District. “During National Public Works Week, we want to say thank you to our Helix employees for keeping the water flowing.”

Career opportunities available in water and wastewater industry

(L to R): Terry Zaragoza, Chad Weigel and Vernon Fitzpatrick from the City of Poway perform routine maintenance on a wastewater pipeline as essential employees. Photo: City of Poway

(L to R): Terry Zaragoza, Chad Weigel and Vernon Fitzpatrick from the City of Poway perform routine maintenance on a wastewater pipeline as essential employees. Photo: City of Poway

Public agencies like the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies play an important role in the region, both in terms of employment and providing critical services to support 3.3 million residents.

With approximately 1,400 water and wastewater jobs expected to open up across San Diego County in the next five years due to the “silver tsunami” wave of Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, career opportunities have never been more promising.

The Water Authority and its 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.

State: Poway Failed to Protect its Water System, Customers

A state water board is faulting the city of Poway for “failing to protect its public water system” and is ordering the municipality to take immediate action to correct a series of violations that led to a week-long boil-water advisory. In a letter that accompanied the official citation, the State Water Resources Control Board said Poway “failed to provide pure, wholesome, healthful and potable water by delivering untreated storm drain water to customers”. The agency also criticized city officials for making comments to the media that confused or worsened the situation, which resulted in nearly 50,000 people being told not to drink their tap water and forced the closure of nearly 200 food-related businesses between Nov. 30 and Dec. 6.

Rope ‘Inexplicably’ Caused Poway Water Problems; Claims Filed Seeking Compensation

A piece of rope “inexplicably” became lodged in a valve separating a 10-million gallon reservoir from a storm drain in late November, causing a nearly week-long, costly boil-water advisory in Poway, a report prepared by the city for the state concludes.

Officials say it is unknown how the sizable piece of rope got stuck in the valve, which was supposed to remain closed but instead became stuck open, thereby allowing muddy water to enter the city’s reservoir — called a clearwell — near Lake Poway during a storm.

RMWD Resurrects Idea for Sharing Water Facilities with Poway

The City of Poway’s water woes has prompted Ramona Municipal Water District representatives to resurrect a 7-year-old proposal to share water facilities for their mutual benefit.

In December 2012, RMWD General Manager David Barnum presented a three-phase vision for cooperating with Poway with the intent of reducing water costs and maximizing resources. The dormant but unforgotten plan was again floated by RMWD Board President Jim Robinson to the Poway City Council on Dec. 3, 2019.

Water Restrictions in Poway Likely to Extend Through Friday

POWAY —  The boil-water advisory that Poway has been under since the weekend will likely be lifted on Friday, Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said Tuesday night just prior to the start of a City Council meeting.

Vaus said tests continue to show no contamination of the city’s water supply, but state regulators are requiring two more days of testing before giving the all clear.