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Water Fight About to Kick Into High Gear; Fallbrook, Rainbow to Take on County Water Authority

Within the next few weeks, two water districts will be filing unprecedented applications to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority.

Instead, they intend to buy water directly from the Metropolitan Water District via the Eastern Municipal Water District in Riverside County, thereby saving both districts millions of dollars annually.

The Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District say they are in a unique position to divorce themselves from the Water Authority because Metropolitan pipes run right past their geographic areas.

FPUD Adds PFAS Treatment to Conjunctive Use Project work

The Fallbrook Public Utility District has amended its design contract for the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project so that the groundwater treatment plant can also remove per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contaminants from the treated water. A 5-0 FPUD board vote Jan. 27 approved an amendment to the design contract with Infrastructure Engineering Corporation which will provide IEC with an additional $771,143 and which will provide FPUD with treatment process selection, design services, and construction administration for the additional facilities.

Student Artwork Featured in 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar

Talented fourth-graders from Fallbrook area elementary schools picked up their pens, crayons, and watercolors to create the best and brightest water-conservation posters for the 2020 Fallbrook Public Utility District “Be Water Smart” calendar. Out of the 250 posters submitted, the work of 14 artists was selected.

Twelve of the winning images appear inside the calendar, one for each of the 12 months of the year. One image was chosen for the cover, and another was added for January 2021. The free calendars can be picked up at the Fallbrook Public Utility District office.

Anahy Ambriz of Maie Ellis Elementary won first place in the 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar contest.

Student Artwork Featured in 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar

Talented fourth-graders from Fallbrook area elementary schools picked up their pens, crayons, and watercolors to create the best and brightest water-conservation posters for the Fallbrook Public Utility District 2020 “Be Water Smart” calendar. Out of the 250 posters submitted, the work of 14 artists was selected.

Twelve of the winning images appear inside the calendar, one for each of the 12 months of the year. One image was chosen for the cover, and another was added for January 2021. The free calendars can be picked up at the Fallbrook Public Utility District office.

Vivid depiction of contest theme ‘Be Water Smart’

The students’ colorful images vividly depict the contest’s theme. Fallbrook judges scrutinized the entries to find the most eye-catching images illustrating the need for saving water.

The winning artists were recognized at the December 9 Fallbrook PUD board of directors meeting. Each student received a Walmart gift card, school supplies, and a signed certificate of commendation. The artists were also presented with a matted, framed version of their artwork. The first, second, and third place winners also received t-shirts customized with their own artwork.

The 2020 Fallbrook PUD calendar winners include:

First place: Anahy Ambriz, Maie Ellis Elementary

The artwork by first place winner Anahy Ambriz of Maie Ellis Elementary will appear on the cover of the 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar. Photo: FPUD 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar

The artwork by first-place winner Anahy Ambriz of Maie Ellis Elementary will appear on the cover of the 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

Second place: Samantha Mejia, Maie Ellis Elementary

Samantha Mejia of Maie Ellis Elementary is the second place winner. Photo: FPUD 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar

Samantha Mejia of Maie Ellis Elementary is the second-place winner. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

Third place: Brisa Bailon, Maie Ellis Elementary

Brisa Bailon of Maie Ellis Elementary won third place. Photo: FPUD

Brisa Bailon of Maie Ellis Elementary won third place. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

Additional winners include:

Leo Quick, Fallbrook STEM Academy

Work by Leo Quick of the Fallbrook STEM Academy. Photo: FPUD

Work by Leo Quick of the Fallbrook STEM Academy. Photo: FPUD

Kelly Jaimes, William H. Frazier Elementary

Kelly Jaimes, William H. Frazier Elementary 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar

Kelly Jaimes, William H. Frazier Elementary. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

Oscar Tovar, Live Oak Elementary

2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar

Oscar Tovar, Live Oak Elementary, Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

(L to R): Isabella Magana, Alexandro Rojas, Gizalle Amezquita, and Ares Miramontes of Maie Ellis Elementary

(L to R): Kayla Arango, Nya Lin Ramirez, Abigail Perez, and Jennifer Wiscott of La Paloma Elementary

The annual contest is open only to Fallbrook Public Utility District fourth-graders because they have learned about water conservation and the water cycle by the fourth grade. Students from five elementary schools submitted entries.

The contest objective is to find the most eye-catching images illustrating the need for saving water. All 14 pieces of artwork will be displayed on the Fallbrook PUD website. They will also be displayed in the Fallbrook board room for a year and will be used in the district’s social media posts on Facebook and Twitter.

See the 2019 Fallbrook PUD Conservation Calendar artwork.

Several water agencies in the San Diego region sponsor calendar contests for students throughout the year with various conservation themes including ‘Water is Life‘ and ‘Be Water Smart.’ The contests offer opportunities for students to showcase their artistic skills while also thinking and learning about water conservation.

FPUD and Rainbow to Work Together on New Supply

The Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District now have a Memorandum of Understanding to work with each other on new water resource development and emergency supply.

The Dec. 3 Rainbow board meeting included a 4-0 vote with Michael Mack absent to approve the Memorandum of Understanding with FPUD while FPUD’s Dec. 9 board meeting approved the MOU on a 4-0 vote with Don McDougal absent. The MOU provisions include both collaborating on long-term water supply development and working together to improve emergency water supply capabilities.

“It’s just a good opportunity for us to work together and try to save money for our ratepayers,” FPUD general manager Jack Bebee said.

Why San Diego Farmers Worry About Water

Valley Center farmers aren’t alone when it comes to the high cost of water. But it could get lonelier and costlier if two neighboring water districts unyoke from the Water Authority to get a fresh start in Riverside.

In December, the boards of the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District voted to begin detachment from the San Diego County Water Authority in order to join Riverside’s Eastern Municipal Water District.

Will those left behind pay more as others tap new supplies? Questions are flying in Valley Center, where farms are the main customers, even as avocado turf keeps shrinking

Vanderlaan Selected as LAFCO Vice-Chair

Bonsall resident Andy Vanderlaan will be the vice-chair of San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission for the 2020 LAFCO board meetings.

Vanderlaan, who is the public member on the LAFCO board, was chosen as the LAFCO vice-chair Dec. 2. County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who was LAFCO’s vice-chair for 2019, will be the 2020 chair.

FPUD Approves 2020 Rates

The Fallbrook Public Utility District approved FPUD rates and other charges for calendar year 2020.

FPUD’s board vote 4-0, Dec. 9, with Don McDougal absent, adopted the 2020 rates and charges for water, recycled water and wastewater delivery and services. Water and wastewater rates will increase by 8% while the increase for recycled water will be 4.5%.

Water District Boards Move Toward Detachment

The boards of directors of the Rainbow Municipal Water District and Fallbrook Public Utilities District have each adopted Resolutions of Application to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority and annex into the Eastern Municipal Water District, Metropolitan Water District’s wholesaler.

Fallbrook and Rainbow Take Steps to Break From County Water Authority

The leadership of two water districts have taken the unprecedented step of voting to begin the process of detaching from the San Diego County Water Authority — a move they say will save their ratepayers millions of dollars.

The votes by the boards of the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District this month begins a formal process that could take 18 months or longer and potentially involve a countywide vote.