Posts

Free, Drought-Tolerant Plants Available to FPUD Customers

The Fallbrook Public Utility District is now accepting applications for customers to receive free, drought-tolerant succulents. Approved applicants will receive the plants, free of charge, to transform their landscape and save water.

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.

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.)

Opinion: San Diego County Must Not Suffer if Fallbrook and Rainbow Leave Water Authority

With nearly 100 years of combined experience working on important regional issues across San Diego County, we wanted to share some observations about a proposal currently pending among our region’s water providers.

The Fallbrook Public Utility District and Rainbow Municipal Water District have filed applications to leave the San Diego County Water Authority and instead get their water from an agency in Riverside County.

First and foremost, this is a regional decision that has regional implications. Rainbow and Fallbrook’s plan for leaving for Riverside will raise water bills on every family and business in San Diego County, all while our economy is trying to recover from a recession caused by the pandemic.

San Diego Water War in the North County

A water war is heating up in the North County.

Rainbow Municipal Water District and Fallbrook Public Utility District want to leave the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) because of rising costs. They want to join the Eastern Municipal Water District in Riverside County, a move that could save their customers up to $5 million a year.

San Diego’s Soaring Water Rates Have Avocado, Other Growers Eyeing Break with County

Many avocado growers in San Diego have gone out of business in recent years as they struggle with the rising cost of water, says Charlie Wolk as he walks through a recently forsaken grove in Rainbow that he tended for more than a decade.

Water Agencies in Rural Fallbrook and Rainbow Move Forward With Plans to Leave County Authority

The water agencies in Fallbrook and Rainbow announced Thursday they will move forward with an effort to leave the San Diego County Water Authority and join the Eastern Municipal Water District in southwest Riverside County.

FPUD Approves Programmable Logic Controller Contract for Reclamation Plant

The Fallbrook Public Utility District approved a contract with SCADA Integrations to upgrade the conveyor system at FPUD’s Water Reclamation Plant with a programmable logic controller system.

A 5-0 FPUD board vote Monday, March 22, approved the request for proposals submission from SCADA Integrations. The upgrade will be constructed in two phases, and the contract has a total value of $128,470.

SRK Given FPUD Contract to Replace Gum Tree Pipeline

SRK Engineering received the Fallbrook Public Utility District contract to replace FPUD’s Gum Tree Pipeline.

The FPUD board voted 5-0 Monday, March 22, to award SRK a $428,500 contract, which matches the Escondido company’s bid. The work will replace approximately 1,400 feet of 20-inch diameter cement mortar lined and coated steel pipe along with associated appurtenances.

Gary Croucher-Board Chair-San Diego County Water Authority-Primary

Water Authority Credit Remains Strong as Risks Emerge

All three major rating agencies affirmed the San Diego County Water Authority’s strong credit ratings, which will help us minimize the cost of financing important water reliability projects.

It is particularly gratifying that the reports cited the Water Authority’s strategic management, our conservative approach to water sales projections, and the benefits of rate case litigation that recently resulted in $44.4 million being refunded to local retail water agencies, among many other factors. In affirming their credit ratings, the services also noted the Water Authority’s strong financial leadership (including prudent strategies to manage issues related to COVID-19), decades of success diversifying water supply sources, our commitment to infrastructure maintenance, and our financial reserves for managing contingencies.

Significant investments in supply diversification

Just one example: Fitch Ratings said that the Water Authority’s “operating costs are low” and that the Water Authority’s “significant investments in supply diversification (that) have allowed SDCWA to continue to meet water demands in its service area.” Fitch also accounted for the Water Authority’s current hiring freeze, spending cuts and deferral of $30 million in planned capital spending to proactively manage finances during the pandemic.

At the same time, rating agencies also noted significant challenges ahead, including efforts by Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District to “detach” from the Water Authority – a move that could negatively impact ratepayers countywide. If the two North County agencies leave per their plans, Water Authority analysis shows that the other 22 member agencies – who serve about 3.2 million residents – will have to pay $16 million to $46 million more per year to cover the cost of the departing agencies.

Detachment and credit ratings

Moody’s said detachment could lead to a credit downgrade, which would increase borrowing costs for critical water reliability projects. S&P Global affirmed its AAA rating for the Water Authority. However, it issued a negative outlook for the agency and called detachment uncertainty “an additional credit stressor” – “especially if an approved detachment sets a precedent if members can easily detach from the authority.” S&P added that, “this would be further exacerbated if the two members are not required to pay for their portion of the associated debt and infrastructure costs that the authority has undertaken to provide reliable water sources.”

In May 2020, the Water Authority’s Board of Directors voted to oppose detachment unless four conditions can be met related to protecting Fallbrook and Rainbow ratepayers, avoiding negative impacts for other member agencies, protecting the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta, and maintaining the Water Authority’s voting rights at MWD. The issue is under review by the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission, known as LAFCO. The LAFCO process, which is designed to provide for an impartial analysis of these issues, will allow the Water Authority and all other affected parties to determine if these conditions are satisfied. If not, the Water Authority will oppose detachment.