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Gary Bousquet Named Engineering Head of San Diego County Water Authority

Gary Bousquet has been appointed director of engineering for the San Diego County Water Authority as the agency begins the development of a major energy storage project intended to provide substantial long-term benefits for the region, it was announced Thursday.

Bousquet fills the position vacated by the retirement of Jerry Reed, whose 26-year career with the water authority included the past six years as engineering department director.

Gary Bousquet Named Director of Engineering for Water Authority

Gary Bousquet, a 30-year civil engineering professional, has been appointed Director of Engineering for the San Diego County Water Authority as the agency launches the development of a major energy storage project that promises substantial long-term benefits for the region. Bousquet fills the position vacated by the retirement of Jerry Reed, whose 26-year career with the Water Authority included the past six years as Engineering Department director.

With Bousquet’s promotion, Engineering Manager Neena Kuzmich was promoted to Deputy Director of Engineering. Kuzmich is a professional civil engineer with more than 20 years of experience, including the past eight years leading complex engineering projects at the Water Authority.

Gary Bousquet Named Director of Engineering for Water Authority

Gary Bousquet, a 30-year civil engineering professional, has been appointed Director of Engineering for the San Diego County Water Authority as the agency launches the development of a major energy storage project that promises substantial long-term benefits for the region. Bousquet fills the position vacated by the retirement of Jerry Reed, whose 26-year career with the Water Authority included the past six years as Engineering Department director.

With Bousquet’s promotion, Engineering Manager Neena Kuzmich was promoted to Deputy Director of Engineering. Kuzmich is a professional civil engineer with more than 20 years of experience, including the past eight years leading complex engineering projects at the Water Authority.

Gary Bousquet-Director of Engineering-Water Authority

Gary Bousquet Named Director of Engineering for Water Authority

Gary Bousquet, a 30-year civil engineering professional, has been appointed Director of Engineering for the San Diego County Water Authority as the agency launches the development of a major energy storage project that promises substantial long-term benefits for the region. Bousquet fills the position vacated by the retirement of Jerry Reed, whose 26-year career with the Water Authority included the past six years as Engineering Department director.

With Bousquet’s promotion, Engineering Manager Neena Kuzmich was promoted to Deputy Director of Engineering. Kuzmich is a professional civil engineer with more than 20 years of experience, including the past eight years leading complex engineering projects at the Water Authority.

The Water Authority is a regional wholesale water agency that provides about 80% of the water used in San Diego County, sustaining a $253 billion economy and quality of life for 3.3 million residents.

Gary Bousquet managed major Capital Improvement Program projects

Bousquet joined the Water Authority in 1999 after working in the private sector designing and performing construction management of water and wastewater treatment projects. During the past 22 years at the Water Authority, Bousquet managed design and construction of Capital Improvement Program projects including the San Vicente Tunnel, San Vicente Pump Station, and the Lake Hodges Hydroelectric Facility. For the past several years, he served as Deputy Director of Engineering, leading the agency’s CIP Design and Energy Projects Group, Engineering Administration Services Group, and the Water Authority’s Innovation Program. Bousquet graduated with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Northeastern University and is a registered civil engineer in California.

“Jerry Reed’s hard work and dedicated service has made a profound impact on the San Diego region, which benefits every day from the projects that he helped develop and lead over the past three decades,” said Water Authority General Manager Sandra L. Kerl. “Thankfully, the Engineering Department will remain in good hands. Gary Bousquet’s dedication to innovation and excellence will continue to enhance the San Diego region’s natural resources for decades to come.”

The Water Authority’s engineering department is responsible for the design and construction of regional water facilities in the Capital Improvement and Asset Management Programs; overseeing energy related projects; managing real-estate interests; patrolling and managing 168 miles of right-of-way property; and providing survey services.

Neena Kuzmich-Gary Bousquet-Engineering-San Diego County Water Authority-Director of Engineering

Gary Bousquet has been appointed Director of Engineering for the San Diego County Water Authority and, with Bousquet’s promotion, Engineering Manager Neena Kuzmich was promoted to Deputy Director of Engineering for the Water Authority. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Renewable energy project: San Vicente Energy Storage Facility

For the past several years, Bousquet and Kuzmich have led the Water Authority’s efforts to develop a major renewable energy project proposed jointly with the City of San Diego. The San Vicente Energy Storage Facility received $18 million in the state budget signed in July by Gov. Gavin Newsom, enough to advance the project through initial design, environmental reviews, and the federal licensing process.

Energy Storage Process-San Vicente-Pumped Hydro-Energy

The San Diego County Water Authority and the City of San Diego are partners in developing the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility. The pumped storage energy project at San Vicente Reservoir could store 4,000 megawatt-hours per day of energy, or 500 megawatts of capacity for eight hours.

The San Vicente energy project is one of the most promising pumped energy storage solutions in California and it would be a major asset to help avoid rolling blackouts through on-demand energy production while helping to meet state climate goals. It also could mitigate costs for water ratepayers across the San Diego region by generating additional revenue to help offset the cost of water purchases, storage, and treatment. The City and the Water Authority are developing the project together, just like they did to raise the height of the city-owned San Vicente Dam 117 feet in the 2010s. More information on the project: www.sdcwa.org/projects/san-vicente-pumping-facilities/.

The department and agency have won several awards in recent years, including the world’s top civil engineering honor for its Emergency and Carryover Storage Project in 2017 from the American Society of Civil Engineers. More recently, the agency received four awards from the American Public Works Association and American Society of Civil Engineers for construction projects that exemplified outstanding skill, dedication, and collaboration. The awards include:

  • APWA Project of the Year: Northern First Aqueduct Structures and Lining Rehabilitation
  • APWA Honor Award: Vallecitos 11/Vista Irrigation 12 Flow Control Facility
  • APWA Honor Award: San Diego 28 Flow Control Facility
  • ASCE Award of Excellence: Pipeline 5 Emergency Repair
An employee looks into a section of pipeline. One of the projects receiving an award.

Water Authority Wins Four Awards for Outstanding Projects

The American Public Works Association and American Society of Civil Engineers recently presented the San Diego County Water Authority with four awards for construction projects that exemplified outstanding skill, dedication and collaboration from staff in many departments. All of the projects were underway or completed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and project teams navigated shutdowns, adapted to health and safety restrictions, and overcame many other uncertainties – in addition to typical challenges encountered during construction projects.

1) APWA Project of the Year: Northern First Aqueduct Structures and Lining Rehabilitation

With extensive coordination between the Water Authority’s Asset Management, Operations, Maintenance, Right of Way, Water Resources, Engineering and Public Affairs teams, the First Aqueduct rehabilitation project was completed in early 2021. Significant work had not been performed on the First Aqueduct since the completion of Pipeline 1 in 1947 and Pipeline 2 in 1954. The Operations and Maintenance Teams worked closely with multiple member agencies to ensure no impacts to water deliveries over the extended shutdowns required to reline both Pipelines. These extended shutdowns allowed the Asset Management team to inspect 27 miles of pipeline along the aqueduct using innovative technologies – the first time this had been done in nearly 75 years.

“Since the project included more than 35 work sites spread out over 15 miles, many in rural areas of the county, we collaborated closely between different departments and member agencies to ensure that water service was not disrupted,” said Emma Ward-McNally, Water Authority engineer.

2) APWA Honor Award: Vallecitos 11/Vista Irrigation 12 Flow Control Facility

This new facility replaced the existing Vallecitos 2/Vista Irrigation 1 facility that was built in 1954. The Water Authority’s Operations and Maintenance team worked closely with the Engineering team to develop a construction sequence to build the new facility while maintaining water service to member agencies.

“A meticulous level of detail in the design process allowed for the project to be completed with minimal changes during construction,” said Jim Zhou, Water Authority senior engineer.

3) APWA Honor Award: San Diego 28 Flow Control Facility

The new flow control facility replaced the San Diego 12 flow control facility. The Water Authority’s Right of Way team worked closely with the City of San Diego to acquire property rights for the facility. During construction, electrical and rotating technicians from Operations and Maintenance provided support to ensure that the facility was constructed correctly and that electrical relay protection was coordinated when connecting to San Diego Gas & Electric.

“The new facility repurposed an existing building at the site, but it was forward-looking – the project included the installation of a second pipe train for a future inline hydroelectric turbine,” said Aaron Trimm, Water Authority senior engineer.

4) ASCE Award of Excellence: Pipeline 5 Emergency Repair

After nearby Pipeline 4 was repaired in late 2019, the Asset Management team inspected Pipeline 5 in early 2020, and found it needed repairs as well. Multiple Water Authority departments and teams collaborated to launch the emergency repairs on Pipeline 5, despite the uncertainty of the growing pandemic. The Engineering Contracts group executed five contracts and task authorizations for design, construction and inspection within a few weeks to make the project happen, and the work was completed in April 2020.

“The project was a true team effort that required collaboration from multiple departments to ensure that the emergency repair could be completed even as the region was shutting down due to the pandemic,” said Colin Kemper, Water Authority senior engineer.

San Diego County Students Innovate to Solve Water Challenges

In March, San Diego County Water Authority staff judged water-related projects by students at the 67th annual Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. Judging the fair is a longstanding tradition at the Water Authority and a component of the education outreach program. For decades, the Water Authority has recognized the top water-related projects with a scholarship and award. This year’s fair was conducted in a virtual format, but more than 280 students still brought their best projects to the table.

Batteries Emerge as a ‘Cleaner Alternative’ for Re-Energising the Grid at California Gas Plant

When turbines at a natural gas power plant in California go offline, battery energy storage will be used as a ‘much cleaner alternative’ to diesel or other fossil fuels in getting them up and running again.

Siemens Energy has been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to deploy large batteries at Marsh Landing Generating Station owned by US infrastructure investor Clearway.

Road to Recovery Includes Alternative Design Solutions Resulting in New Ways to Procure and Deliver Services

As the world resets for a long-awaited post-coronavirus existence, new realities for business and life in general are taking shape. Amid a plethora of forecasts on changes involving how and where post-COVID-19 business will be conducted, it is a safe bet that employees and overall public health will be a primary influencer as the evolution to the “next normal” begins.

Erick Del Bosque-Sweetwater Authority-Water Utility Hero

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Erick Del Bosque, Sweetwater Authority

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.

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Erick Del Bosque

Job/Agency: Engineering Manager at Sweetwater Authority

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

I was in my junior year of college when I was having serious doubts about the major I chose civil engineering.  This was mostly due to required coursework that was not of interest to me and I was seriously considering switching majors.  However, during this junior year of college I got involved with a nonprofit organization called Engineers Without Borders and I got to design and construct a water filtration system with other engineering students, for a rural community in northern Thailand.  This was a great rewarding experience and sparked my interest in the water industry.  During my senior year of college when most of my coursework consisted of elective courses, I mostly selected elective coursework related to water resources, water distribution, and water treatment so I could pursue a job in the water industry.

How has job changed during the pandemic?

At Sweetwater Authority we have implemented a rotation schedule for when staff needs to work from the office and when staff needs to work remotely from home.  This ensures that we have sufficient coverage in the office for all areas while maintaining social distancing from each other.  For those days where I need to work remotely from home, the remote connection from the laptop at home to my office computer is very smooth and it’s just like if I were working from my office computer, with the exception that I don’t have an extra computer monitor at home like I have in my office.  Working from home does have some occasional challenges though, such as interruptions from my 3-year old son or having my dogs barking during conference call meetings, but overall, I have adjusted well to the different working conditions.

How are you keeping safe?

By following the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and state and local governments, such as wearing a face mask when in public areas, washing my hands or using hand sanitizer after touching areas that might have been touched by others, following social distancing recommendations, and only going out of the house for essential things such as buying groceries.

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

To hang out with friends and family.

Editor’s note: 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

Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair Announces County Winners

San Diego County students showed off their expertise at the recent 2020 Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair, with dozens being named winners for their projects.