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New Digital Water Education Workbook Makes a Splash

The San Diego County Water Authority today released an interactive, digital workbook to help upper elementary students learn about the region’s most precious natural resource: water.

The online digital water education workbook is the latest addition to the Water Authority’s long-running education program that has helped instill water knowledge in hundreds of thousands of students in over more than two decades.

Blue animated water drop

New Digital Water Education Workbook Makes a Splash

The San Diego County Water Authority today released an interactive, digital workbook to help upper elementary students learn about the region’s most precious natural resource: water.

The online digital water education workbook is the latest addition to the Water Authority’s long-running education program that has helped instill water knowledge in hundreds of thousands of students in over more than two decades. It was funded by a grant from the Hans and Margaret Doe Charitable Trust and State of California, Proposition 84 Round 4 funds.

Digital Water Education Workbook

There are eight learning modules in the workbook, which is free for all teachers and students in the San Diego region. The curriculum is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, which are used by schools throughout the state.

Water Cycle Graphic

In the workbook, students can learn about important water-related topics such as the water cycle, San Diego County water supplies, bodies of water, and water-use efficiency. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Blue, an animated, effervescent water drop is the main character who leads students on a journey to learn about topics such as the water cycle, San Diego County’s water supplies, states of water, bodies of water, water and wastewater infrastructure, and careers in the water industry.

“Schools have relied heavily on virtual learning over the last 18 months, and the Water Authority has also adapted our education programs to virtual options to ensure that students can continue learning about important topics like water,” said Denise Vedder, Public Affairs Director at the Water Authority. “We realized there was a need for a comprehensive and interactive water education resource that students can access wherever they are learning. We are grateful to the state and the Hans and Margaret Doe Charitable Trust for their generous support of this important learning tool.”

Novus Origo, a veteran-owned company based in Vista, California, provided graphic design, animation, and web development services.

In addition, Water Authority staff collaborated with partners such as the San Diego County Office of Education, Fleet Science Center, local teachers, and the Water Authority’s 24 member agencies.

The workbook and other water education resources are available at sdcwa.org/education.

New Digital Water Education Workbook Makes a Splash

Sept. 16, 2021 – The San Diego County Water Authority today released an interactive, digital workbook to help upper elementary students learn about the region’s most precious natural resource: water.

The online workbook is the latest addition to the Water Authority’s long-running education program that has helped instill water knowledge in hundreds of thousands of students in over more than two decades. It was funded by a grant from the Hans and Margaret Doe Charitable Trust and State of California, Proposition 84 Round 4 funds.

Carlos Quintero-Sweetwater Authority-General Manager

Carlos Quintero is New Sweetwater Authority General Manager

Carlos Quintero was appointed as General Manager of the Sweetwater Authority. He starts his new position September 27.

The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board approved Quintero’s contract at its September 8 meeting.

“After a highly-competitive recruitment process, the Governing Board is excited to have Carlos Quintero joining the Authority as General Manager,” said Governing Board Chair Hector Martinez. “His extensive experience in the water industry will serve him well in his new role. We look forward to working with him and continuing the Authority’s mission to serve the community.”

Carlos Quintero

Quintero is a registered Professional Engineer (PE), MIT Graduate and is currently the Operations Manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority in Riverside, California. He has 24 years of water industry experience.

“I am honored to have been appointed General Manager by the Sweetwater Authority Governing Board,” said Carlos Quintero. “I look forward to working closely with our Board of Directors and staff to continue implementing the Board’s priorities and further the Authority’s mission of providing a safe and reliable water supply to its current and future residents and businesses.”

Assistant General Manager Jennifer Sabine has been serving as the Interim General Manager during the recruitment.

Investment in education

Sweetwater Authority invests in the education of students in its service area to foster knowledge and appreciation for the value of water, and to bring awareness to the vital service the Authority provides to its customers and community.

The Authority, the Otay Water District, and the Chula Vista Elementary School District, recently announced that a new display will be added to the Chula Vista Hydro Station. The Hydro Station opened two years ago on August 15, 2019, at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility. The Sweetwater Authority and CVESD worked together to create the new display for students.

Sweetwater Authority is a public water agency providing safe, reliable water to National City, Chula Vista and Bonita.

(Editor’s note: The Sweetwater Authority is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Interactive Display Added to Hydro Station Project in Chula Vista

A new display added to the Chula Vista Hydro Station helps students learn about the water treatment process through interactive activities.

This unique joint educational partnership between the Sweetwater Authority, the Otay Water District, and the Chula Vista Elementary School District, the Hydro Station opened two years ago on August 15, at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility.

The Hydro Station project allows a new generation of potential water professionals to participate in the mission to deliver safe and reliable water to hundreds and thousands of people in communities who rely on this essential workforce. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Interactive Display Added to Hydro Station Project in Chula Vista

A new display added to the Chula Vista Hydro Station helps students learn about the water treatment process through interactive activities.

This unique joint educational partnership between the Sweetwater Authority, the Otay Water District, and the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), the Hydro Station opened two years ago on August 15, at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility.

The Hydro Station project is an interactive educational space that features learning exhibits and hands- on activities dedicated to introducing fifth grade students to the ecological cycle of water, water conservation, water quality, and careers in the water industry. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

The Hydro Station project is an interactive educational space that features learning exhibits and hands-on activities dedicated to introducing fifth-grade students to the ecological cycle of water, water conservation, water quality, and careers in the water industry. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

“We’re excited to welcome students back to the Hydro Station this year and use this interactive display to teach them how we use desalination to treat local drought-proof groundwater for our customers,” said Hector Martinez, Sweetwater Authority board chairman.

More than 4,000 students visit the Hydro Station annually and learn more about careers and opportunities in the water and wastewater industry.

The Sweetwater Authority and CVESD worked together to create the new display for students. The display was made possible through a grant from the Hans and Margaret Doe Charitable Trust, awarded to the Hydro Station project in 2019. The display will be worked into the Hydro Station curriculum and help teach CVESD students from the Otay Water District and the Authority’s service areas about the desalination process.

“The addition of this new interactive display demonstrates that education is always evolving, as is the water industry,” said Otay Board President Tim Smith. “As a partner of the Hydro Station, we’re proud to offer enhanced opportunities to students because they are our future water workforce.”

Hands-on experience for 4,000 students annually

The Hydro Station is an interactive educational space at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facilities, operated as a joint partnership between the school district, the Otay Water District, and the Sweetwater Authority. Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School District

The Hydro Station is an interactive educational space that features learning exhibits and hands-on activities dedicated to introducing fifth-grade students to the ecological cycle of water, water conservation, water quality, and careers in the water industry. More than 4,000 students are expected to visit the Hydro Station annually.

“The Hydro Station introduces our students to the world of work in the water industry and inspires them at an early age to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics,” said CVESD Superintendent Dr. Francisco Escobedo. “With this station, we expose students to careers that can change the trajectory of entire families, opening the door to high-wage careers that our students might not have thought were possible. The students also explore ways to make the world a better place through clean water and water conservation.”

Educating the next generation of essential workers

Locally, more than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sector at the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. One-third of these industry professionals will be eligible for retirement in the next few years. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Locally, more than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sector at the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. One-third of these industry professionals will be eligible for retirement in the next few years. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Locally, more than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sector at the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. One-third of these industry professionals will be eligible for retirement in the next few years. The Hydro Station allows a new generation of potential water professionals to participate in the mission to deliver safe and reliable water to hundreds and thousands of people in communities who rely on this essential workforce.

Students participate in three dedicated days focused on career opportunities in Information and Communication Technologies, Clean Energy, and the Blue Economy. Students learn how their strengths, interests, and values may align with career options, and hands-on activities will help them connect to specific careers.

The Hydro Station location gives students a hands-on opportunity to explore how their strengths, interests, and values can connect with careers in the water industry while presenting opportunities to solve real-world problems through the Engineering Design Process. It also educates children and their families, as well as the community, on the thoughtful use of water resources.

(Editor’s note: The Otay Water District and Sweetwater Authority are two of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Young Artists Win Otay WD “Water is Life” Student Poster Contest

Five young artists from Chula Vista area schools are the winners of Otay Water District’s 2021 “Water is Life” Student Poster Contest for illustrating the value of using water wisely.

Otay’s educational program invites students to create artwork depicting the importance of water conservation and stewardship. The students are encouraged to illustrate the theme “Water is Life,” with the message focused on using water efficiently at home, school, business, and the community, and for environmental, agricultural, and recreational purposes.

Fallbrook PUD recently completed the annual painting of Rattlesnake Tank to salute the Class of 2022. Photo: Fallbrook PUD

Class of 2022 Cheers New FPUD Rattlesnake Tank Artwork

Although the Fallbrook Public Utility District water storage tank uphill from South Mission Road has received a fresh set of painted numbers annually for 35 years, this week’s update was the most anticipated makeover ever.

FPUD crews change the painted numbers on the tank to reflect the year incoming seniors will graduate at Fallbrook High School. A three-person team made up of district employees Matt Lian, Colter Shannon, and Toby Stoneburner recently painted over the “21,” changing it to “22” to welcome the graduating class of 2022.

It took the team five hours to paint the 25-foot-tall numbers onto the 3.6 million-gallon tank, compressed through the magic of time-lapse video to under 30 seconds.

“Parents and Fallbrook High seniors anxiously await the painting of the tank and begin calling the office early in June to find out when we’re doing it,” said Noelle Denke, FPUD public affairs officer. “This year, it’s especially exciting for them because they’re going back to campus and need something to look forward to.”

The reason for the annual external makeover dates back 35 years. Before the district started painting the tank, Fallbrook High seniors took on a longstanding dare. They would climb up the hill in the middle of the night, scale the tank and then paint it themselves.

Since it’s a long way down, FPUD staff became concerned for student safety. Workers installed a fence at the time to prevent access by the annual stealth painting crew.

But it didn’t deter the energetic students. Instead, they just began jumping the fence in the middle of the night. So district officials struck a deal with the students. If they would stop risking their safety for the dare, FPUD would safely paint the tank every year to commemorate them.

A 25-foot salute to Fallbrook High’s graduating seniors   

The annual painting for the Class of 2022 began due to safety concerns. Photo: Fallbrook PUD

The annual painting for the Class of 2022 began due to safety concerns. Photo: Fallbrook PUD

“We’ve been doing it ever since,” said Denke.

Since the tank shares the space with several cell towers, Fallbrook Public Utility District makes arrangements to power down their towers. Then crews safely hoist themselves up to the tower and get to work painting.

Rattlesnake Tank was built in the early 1950s and is one of Fallbrook’s oldest and most visible water tanks.

(Editor’s note: The Fallbrook Public Utility District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Vallecitos Water District-water industry careers-veterans-jobs

Vallecitos Employee Encourages Veterans to Work in Water Industry

Vallecitos Water District Senior Pump and Motor Technician Dale Austin is a strong advocate and one-person recruiting program, encouraging military veterans to consider water and wastewater industry careers. As an eighth-generation military veteran with 20 years of service, he successfully transitioned to his current profession and wants to help others do the same.

“Every job in the military can be transferred into a water agency,” said Austin. “I’m a proud veteran. I will support veterans 110% any way I can, any time of the day.

“One of the things I can tell a veteran preparing for a job or seeking a job within this field is be prepared. Prepare yourself. You’re always training for a deployment or another duty assignment. This job is no different.”

Half of all water and wastewater industry employees are expected to retire in the next 15 years. Many of those workers hold essential positions. The value of these essential workers became especially clear due to the pandemic.

Retirement wave creates career opportunities for veterans

In just the next five years, about 1,400 water and wastewater industry jobs are expected to open across the San Diego region. In addition to engineers and plant operators, the industry relies on technicians, accountants, electricians, mechanics, information technology specialists, and many other occupations.

Austin encourages veterans to explore their options through opportunities available for education and training, such as the certificate and degree programs at Cuyamaca College and Palomar College.

“Seek out volunteer programs. Seek out tours. Call a water agency. There are programs there. Take full advantage of those,” said Austin. “Go to job fairs. Read job postings, even if you don’t know what kind of job you may qualify for.”

Water and wastewater industry jobs allow veterans to continue serving their community by providing safe, sanitary water and ensuring public health and safety. Careers are stable with good salaries and benefits. Water and wastewater professionals serve in communities and agencies of all sizes.

“I want to do the best for the ratepayers. I really take pride in that.  I think the military instilled that in me. It’s a team environment here. It’s like a military coalition. I love working with my team. I believe the military helped me achieve that,” said Austin.

Vets receive credit for military experience and education

Skills acquired from military service translate well to water and wastewater industry jobs. Photo: Vallecitos Water District Encourages Veterans

Skills acquired from military service translate well to water and wastewater industry jobs. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

San Diego area veterans can learn about career opportunities at a dedicated web portal for veterans, SanDiegoWaterWorks.org.  New laws in California supported by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies offer credit for military education and experience when applying for industry jobs.

Austin especially encourages women veterans to consider water industry careers. “I work with great women leaders here [Vallecitos Water District]. Your career choices are endless. You’re focused on doing well. As a veteran, you have a hand up,” said Austin.

Austin said his 11 years working at the Vallecitos Water District feels like working in a military environment in positive ways.

“We take care of each other. Everyone helps everyone else. I love the sense of accomplishment and the sense of satisfaction of doing a job well,” said Austin. “A lot of our jobs are unrecognized by the public. You turn your tap on, you flush your toilet. Everything works. I get a sense of satisfaction with my group knowing we did a job well.”

(Editor’s note: The Vallecitos Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Helix Water District “Water is Life” Student Poster Contest Winners

The Helix Water District Board of Directors June 16, honored East County student artists for their winning “Water Is Life” posters in an online awards ceremony.

Southern California students in kindergarten through eighth grade are invited to participate in their regional water agency’s Student Poster Art Contest to increase awareness about water conservation. This year, 231 students from 17 schools within the Helix Water District submitted their posters depicting how to use water wisely.