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Crane lifts valve from roof

Heavy Metal: Facility Upgrades Enhance Flexibility of Regional Water System

San Diego County Water Authority crews recently replaced two pickup truck-sized valves at the agency’s Pressure Control and Hydroelectric Facility in central San Diego – each valve weighing about 35,000 pounds.

The replacement project took place during a scheduled shutdown of a portion of Pipeline 5, which delivers untreated water throughout the county. The pressure-control facility is a key piece of the Emergency and Carryover Storage Project, which ensures water is available around the region if imported water deliveries are disrupted.

Several large-diameter valves in the facility control the pressure and quantity of water delivered to reservoirs and water treatment plants in eastern and southern parts of the county. In addition, a hydroelectric turbine in the facility generates supplemental electricity that reduces the Water Authority’s energy costs while supplying surplus power to the region.

Facility upgrades for infrastructure efficiency

“The new valves will allow the facility to function efficiently at both low and high water flows, depending on regional demand,” said Kirk Whitaker, a senior engineer at the Water Authority. “The project is part of ongoing improvements that enhance the flexibility of our regional water delivery system.”

To perform the valve replacement, a large crane lifted the existing valves out of the facility through the roof and placed them onto flatbed trucks for delivery to a disposal and recycling site. The new valves were then lowered into the facility through the roof and fitted with new 42-inch pipeline sections. Concrete was poured to build pedestals that secure the valves in place.

The new valves were produced in Germany and transported to San Diego by ship. The valve installation process took four days to complete.

Enhancing regional aqueduct operations

The Pressure Control and Hydroelectric Facility serves an important function in improving aqueduct operations and enhancing the flexibility of the Water Authority’s extensive water delivery system. The $21 million facility was completed in 2007 and pressurizes a 22-mile-long section of the Water Authority’s large-diameter Pipeline 5 between San Marcos and Mira Mesa.

The pipeline previously conveyed water in one direction only, from north to south, by gravity. This limited the Water Authority’s ability to move water around the county in the event of a supply disruption. Upgrades to Pipeline 5 now allow water to be transported either north or south using water stored at San Vicente Reservoir, which greatly improves pipeline operations and ensures that water can continue flowing to member agencies.

Night construction is underway for the Pure Water Oceanside project including well drilling. Photo: City of Oceeanside

Pure Water Oceanside Installing New Pipelines and Drilling Wells

Pure Water Oceanside is installing new pipelines and drilling wells as the recycled water project continues on track for completion in 2022. The advanced water purification project, and expansion of the City of Oceanside’s existing recycled water system, will deliver a new, local source of high-quality drinking water supplying more than 30% of the city’s water supply when completed.

Residents are kept up to date on the progress of construction for the Pure Water Oceanside project. Photo: City of Oceanside

An interactive construction map is one of several sources for information about the Pure Water Oceanside project. Photo: City of Oceanside

Residents are kept up to date on construction impacts to streets and other infrastructure through several outreach efforts including an interactive construction map, detailed online schedule, regular newsletters, and virtual open house presentations live on the City of Oceanside’s YouTube channel, offering residents the opportunity to ask questions.

“We understand living and commuting near a construction site is not easy,” said Cari Dale, water utilities director for the City of Oceanside. “Everyone involved with the project is thankful to those residents and business owners who live and work in the construction zone for their patience and cooperation. It is crucial to the successful on-time completion of this vital infrastructure project.”

Pipeline construction

Pure Water Oceanside pipeline installation is now taking place at North River Road and the Douglas Drive intersection, and moving towards Pala. In addition, pipeline installation on Pala Road is now underway. The road will remain open both ways but will require lane closures. Photo: City of Oceanside

Pipeline installation at North River Road and the Douglas Drive intersection is moving towards Pala Road. Photo: City of Oceanside

Pipeline installation is now taking place at North River Road and the Douglas Drive intersection, and moving towards Pala. Lane closures on Douglas Drive allow access to the businesses through the entrance on North River Road.

In addition, pipeline installation on Pala Road is now underway. The road will remain open both ways but will require lane closures.

Well construction, which includes injection and monitoring wells, requires closing a section of Coco Palms Drive (south of Cherrystone Street), which will reduce construction time and impacts to nearby residents. Well drilling will continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week for approximately three weeks until early 2021. During this time, 16-foot sound walls have been installed around the drilling site to direct sound waves up into the atmosphere and away from residents. Night construction lighting will also be mitigated by the sound walls.

After drilling is complete, additional work will be conducted for testing and to install well infrastructure. The post-drilling work will take place weekdays during business hours and occasional Saturdays.

River Bike Trail remains open

Access map for the popular River Bike Path while the Pure Water Oceanside project construction is underway. Map: City of Oceanside

Access map for the popular River Bike Path while the Pure Water Oceanside project construction is underway. Map: City of Oceanside

Access to the popular River Bike Trail path is still accessible on the west side of Douglas Drive. Riders are asked to cross safely at the marked crosswalk at Pala Road and Douglas Drive to access the trail and avoid construction equipment.

Construction on schedule 

Well drilling will allow repurified water to be stored in underground aquifers. Photo: City of Oceanside

Repurified water will be stored in underground aquifers. Photo: City of Oceanside

Construction for the entire project is expected to be complete in 2022. While most construction will take place during regular weekday business hours, some critical pipeline construction elements will require temporary extended work hours and occasional Saturdays to complete the project on time.

Residents can sign up for email updates about the project. In the event of any immediate concerns, residents can call 760-435-4570 and representatives will troubleshoot issues.

FPUD Approves Final Change Order For Winter Haven Road Pipeline Replacement

Unforeseen conditions caused a change order to the Fallbrook Public Utility District contract to replace the pipeline along Winter Haven Road, but it was the only change order needed in the contract to replace approximately 2,570 feet of pipeline. The Sept. 28 FPUD board meeting included a 5-0 vote to approve the change order and also to approve the notice of completion for the project.

Anderson Dam: Project to Drain Santa Clara County’s Largest Reservoir Begins Thursday

Santa Clara County’s largest reservoir will soon be nearly empty, and will stay that way for the next 10 years. Under orders from federal dam regulators, the Santa Clara Valley Water District will begin a project to drain Anderson Reservoir on Thursday, the first step in a $576 million effort to tear down and rebuild its aging dam.

Aqueduct Project Brought Much-Needed Boon to 1930s Banning

In 1930, while the Great Depression was worsening and the impacts of it were starting to be felt nationwide, the city of Banning received some good news. A major construction project was about to unfold in its backyard, and the city would benefit greatly. The project was the Colorado River Aqueduct of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Starting in the mid-1920s, there had been a series of studies done for bringing water from the Colorado River west to be used in the greater Los Angeles region. In December 1930, the district made the final decision to go with a route that included the San Gorgonio Pass and construction of a major tunnel under Mount San Jacinto.

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.
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.

As California Beaches Reopen, Seawall Construction Becomes Legislative Battleground

California’s beaches may feel off-limits right now, but the coronavirus has not stopped the sea from rising. With every tide and storm, this slow-moving disaster continues to creep closer to shore — toppling bluffs, eroding our beaches and threatening homes and major infrastructure.

Work is now underway on the El Camino Real Potable Water Pipeline Replacement and Green Bike Lane Striping Project. Construction is expected to last about one year. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District Water and traffic

Olivenhain MWD, City of Encinitas Work Together to Keep Water and Traffic Flowing

The City of Encinitas and the Olivenhain Municipal Water District are working together on a project that keeps water supply and traffic flowing.

To prevent water main breaks and ensure reliable service to its customers, Olivenhain Municipal Water District is proactive in its repair and replacement of aging water infrastructure.

Year-long construction project underway

Map of the 4,700 foot long stretch of improvements planned along North El Camino Real. Map: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Map shows the 4,700 foot long stretch of improvements planned along North El Camino Real. Graphic: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

In early April, OMWD began construction to replace aging water infrastructure along El Camino Real in Encinitas. The work marks the start of the El Camino Real Potable Water Pipeline Replacement and Green Bike Lane Striping Project. Construction is expected to last about one year.

During the project, OMWD will replace approximately 4,700 linear feet of existing 12-inch diameter potable water pipeline along North El Camino Real from Encinitas Boulevard to Garden View Road and approximately 650 linear feet of existing 12-inch diameter pipeline between Via Molena and Mountain Vista Drive. Water service lines and fire hydrant laterals served by the existing pipelines will also be replaced.

The two pipelines being replaced were originally installed in 1961 and 1974, and are approaching the end of their lifespan.

The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that there more than 240,000 water main breaks in the United States every year. The main breaks waste over two trillion gallons of treated drinking water, but also interrupt water service to homes and businesses, and require costly and disruptive emergency repairs.

After OMWD’s pipeline work is complete, the City of Encinitas will implement traffic calming measures and improve safety and mobility for bicyclists along North El Camino Real from Encinitas Boulevard to Leucadia Boulevard by restriping and narrowing travel lanes.

The work will include adding bollards to existing bike lanes, applying green color to some areas on the bike lanes, and additional signage and pavement markings will also be installed.

OMWD will implement the lane restriping portion of the project on behalf of the City of Encinitas, which will take place concurrently with the pipeline replacement project.

Coordination minimizes impact on residents and businesses

The two agencies have combined efforts to maximize operational efficiencies and to reduce impacts to area residents and businesses.

Originally, OMWD’s project was scheduled to begin in 2021. Encinitas Council Member Joe Mosca and OMWD Board Treasurer Larry Watt identified the opportunity to streamline the two projects, maximizing efficiencies and minimizing impacts to the community. Because the City’s project had a deadline for grant funding, the two agencies ultimately decided it would be more efficient to advance the timeline of OMWD’s project.

“El Camino Real is a major thoroughfare and any work done there needs to be executed with maximum care and efficiency in mind to keep impacts to businesses and residents low,” said Larry Watt, OMWD board treasurer. “By coordinating the pipeline replacement project with the City’s project, the community can enjoy a continued safe and reliable water supply and improved road safety with the least disturbance possible.”

Environmental responsibility and safety

“The City of Encinitas is continuing its track record of environmental responsibility by making our streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians through the Active Transportation Enhancing Project,” said Encinitas Councilmember Joe Mosca. “The City’s partnership with OMWD on this project highlights the benefits of collaboration between neighboring public agencies on critical infrastructure projects.”

Coronavirus pandemic helps minimize impact on traffic management

Instead of conducting two projects along the same stretch of road consecutively, the City of Encinitas and Olivenhain Municipal Water District are coordinating their work to minimize disruption to the community. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Instead of conducting two projects along the same stretch of road consecutively, the City of Encinitas and Olivenhain Municipal Water District are coordinating their work to minimize disruption to the community. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

In addition to the partnership, OMWD has taken steps to minimize the impact of the project on residents and businesses along North El Camino Real. A City-approved traffic management plan will be implemented during construction. All work was originally scheduled to be completed at night to minimize traffic impacts.

As a result of the reduced traffic from the statewide stay-at-home order, the agencies adapted hours in April to 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The change allows work to be completed more efficiently and safely.

Olivenhain will work closely with the City to monitor the project’s impact on traffic on a week-by-week basis and modify the schedule as needed along with project contractor Teichert Energy and Utilities Group while still maintaining efficient operations.

OMWD anticipates a single shutdown of water service for most businesses/residences, kept as short as possible. Project updates are posted on its website. Email questions to or call 760-632-4235.

For questions specific to the City of Encinitas Active Transportation Enhancing Project, email or call 760-943-2211.

Construction Begins on Essential Water Project in Mission Trails Regional Park

The San Diego County Water Authority is making progress on the construction of a new 5 million gallon underground reservoir in Mission Trails Regional Park. The underground reservoir is also known as a flow regulatory structure.

Classified as a “critical or essential” infrastructure project during the COVID-19 response, the project is moving forward to stay on schedule.