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Up to $2,000 Available for San Diego County Residents Struggling to Pay Water Bills

The San Diego County Water Authority has helped secure financial aid for low-income water customers in the region to cover overdue residential water and wastewater bills.

The authority is partnering with the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee on Anti-Poverty of San Diego County (MAAC) and Campesinos Unidos, Inc. for outreach and education to make residents who are struggling aware of the funding.

Money Available for Low-Income Water Customers in San Diego County

August 25, 2022 – The San Diego County Water Authority has helped secure financial aid for low-income water customers in the region to cover overdue residential water and wastewater bills. As part of its commitment to water affordability, the Water Authority is partnering with the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee on Anti-Poverty of San Diego County (MAAC) and Campesinos Unidos, Inc. to provide outreach and education that ensures residents who are struggling economically are aware of this funding.

Sweetwater Authority Receives Funding From State For Water Bill Debt Accrued During COVID-19

Chula Vista, Calif. – Sweetwater Authority (Authority) recently received $633,540 from the COVID-19 relief fund. The money will cover residential and commercial water debt accrued between March 4, 2020 and June 15, 2021. Funds were distributed directly to the Authority and will be applied to delinquent accounts to cover outstanding balances. Unused funds will be returned to the state, as required

Improving Personal Financial Literacy at San Diego County Water Authority

Enhancing the financial literacy of employees at the San Diego County Water Authority was a primary objective when staff submitted a grant application for a portion of $1.4 million in funds available to public employers by the Mission Square Research Institute.

The Water Authority was among 24 public sector employees selected for a grant and received $24,884 to implement its three-year strategic plan to help employees improve their financial wellness.

Financial Literacy-Financial Wellness-San Diego County Water Authority

Improving Personal Financial Literacy at San Diego County Water Authority

Enhancing the financial literacy of employees at the San Diego County Water Authority was a primary objective when staff submitted a grant application for a portion of $1.4 million in funds available to public employers by the Mission Square Research Institute.

The Water Authority was among 24 public sector employees selected for a grant and received $24,884 to implement its three-year strategic plan to help employees improve their financial wellness.

While the Water Authority had an existing lunch and learn program which occasionally touched on financial wellness topics, the water agency did not have a comprehensive financial wellness program or a way of extending educational resources to its member agencies.

Financial wellness

The grant funds enabled the agency to contract with a nonprofit and other organizations to offer specific financial courses, incentive prizes, and an online, interactive financial wellness platform to employees of all 24 member agencies. The majority of financial education sessions were provided during lunchtime and recorded, if possible, for those who couldn’t attend. Additional self-paced education was offered through an online platform available to employees 24/7.

On average, 60 individuals attended remote lunch and learns, which garnered an average 95% high satisfaction evaluation rate.

For the online self-service platform, 58 employees registered, 50 completed a financial checkup, and 16 courses were completed. The post-program financial literacy quiz was completed by 46 individuals, and the stress level of employees decreased from 3 of 10 at program start to 2 of 10 near the end of the measurement period. Most impressive, the average financial literacy test score rose from 66% (out of 100%) prior to the program, to 71% after the program.

Participant comments included:

“This is a great program. It’s great to learn about topics that I knew I needed to learn about.”

“I really appreciate this program. Learning about things like Long Term Care will help me protect me and my family in the future.”

Moving forward, the Water Authority plans to evaluate the attendance, engagement, and effectiveness of the entire financial wellness program on an annual basis to determine if any adjustments to program delivery are necessary.

Financial Literacy-Financial Wellness-San Diego County Water Authority

Financial Wellness Fact Sheets

The information collected from the Water Authority and other grant recipients resulted in a series of Financial Wellness Fact Sheets, providing key lessons learned and best practices for other state and local jurisdictions to adopt or customize to help employees reduce debt, save for retirement, or reach other financial goals.

Each fact sheet provides a summary of the jurisdiction’s approach, outcomes, lessons learned, and future plans. Additionally, the fact sheets provide ideas, advice, and networking opportunities for other public employers exploring financial wellness programs.

“It is encouraging to see the wide variety of innovative programs implemented under the grant program to improve the financial well-being of the public workforce,” said Rivka Liss-Levinson, PhD, MissionSquare Research Institute Senior Research Manager and lead author of the fact sheet series. “Well-designed financial wellness programs are a win-win for employees and employers, especially at a time when governments are struggling to recruit and retain workers.”

“We know financial wellness can result in more productive and engaged employees, improve morale, lower absenteeism, alleviate burnout, and reduce health care costs. We hope the Financial Wellness Fact Sheets spark ideas for leaders exploring programs for their employees. Ultimately, these programs improve employees’ ability to deliver vital public services,” said Liss-Levinson.

MissionSquare Research Institute promotes excellence in state and local government and other public service organizations to attract and retain talented employees. The organization identifies leading practices and conducts research on retirement plans, health and wellness benefits, workforce demographics and skill set needs, labor force development, and topics facing the not-for-profit industry and education sector.

Financial Literacy-Financial wellness-San Diego County Water Authority

COVID-19 Wastewater Surveillance Shows San Diego’s Case Surge is Slowing

COVID-19 wastewater data now shows that the record spread of the virus in San Diego is beginning to fall.

“We’re coming off the surge for sure,” said UC San Diego Professor Rob Knight. “However, it’s possible that cases will continue to rise or maybe peak around now.”

Knight leads the project that has been analyzing San Diegans sewage from the Point Loma treatment plan over the last two years. He said wastewater is a leading indicator of the virus’ spread, with data typically three weeks ahead of confirmed cases.

New Video Highlights Olivenhain Municipal Water District Achievements in 2021

In its ongoing effort to keep ratepayers and the community informed, the Olivenhain Municipal Water District produced its first “Year In Review” video report for 2021.

The video showcases key achievements of the District, using an accessible digital video format to share details, images, and key facts with ratepayers through a familiar, trusted online platform posted to the District’s YouTube channel.

Pivoting Operations For A Pandemic

The Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant (“CDP”), which recently celebrated its five-year anniversary, produces 50 million gallons of fresh water per day. It now accounts for one-third of all water generated in San Diego county.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020, the facility needed to completely overhaul its workflow in a matter of weeks. CDP not only managed to cut its staffing, implement remote monitoring, and keep its operators fully sheltered onsite — it also did so without any drops in productivity.

The facility rapidly worked to make its staff as lean as possible — but also while maintaining steady production. Although changes needed to occur quickly, the CDP is subject to a wide range of regulations and compliance requirements: any modifications to operations needed to be collaborated and approved by the San Diego County Water Authority as well as state regulators.

State Agencies Commend COVID-19 Wastewater Monitoring by City of San Diego

The City of San Diego Public Utilities Department’s wastewater monitoring of coronavirus has received recognition from two state agencies.

The City’s Public Utilities Department was one of five California utilities participating in the Center for Disease Control’s National Wastewater Surveillance System program in cooperation with the State Water Quality Control Board.

City of San Diego Recognized for COVID-19 Wastewater Monitoring

Two state agencies recognized the city’s Public Utilities Department for monitoring wastewater in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a city spokesman said Monday.

The Public Utilities Department was one of five California utilities that participated in the Center for Disease Control’s National Wastewater Surveillance System program, in cooperation with the state Water Quality Control Board.