Tag Archive for: Helix Water District

Catherine and Bryan Binotti replaced the outdated and drab landscape of their charming and recently-historically-designated 1950 house in the Brier Patch neighborhood of La Mesa. Photo: Helix Water District

Grossmont Home Wins Helix Water District 2024 Landscape Contest

Catherine and Bryan Binotti’s transformation of the front yard of their historic La Mesa home to a lush, water-efficient landscape was selected as the winner of the Helix Water District 2024 Water-Smart Landscape Contest.

The annual competition recognizes residents for their outstanding water-efficient landscapes based on overall attractiveness, design, efficient irrigation, appropriate plant selection and maintenance.

After years of work, the Binottis have created a lush waterwise landscape and a vibrant ecosystem. Photo: Helix Water District 2024

After years of work, the Binottis have created a lush waterwise landscape and a vibrant ecosystem. Photo: Helix Water District

The Binottis replaced the outdated and drab landscape of their charming and recently historically designated 1950 house in the Brier Patch neighborhood of La Mesa. The new front yard is a colorful paradise boasting beauty and curb appeal. “What better way to meet the neighbors, than gardening in the front yard! What started as a conservation effort – of time, water, and financial resources – has turned into such a joy,” said Catherine.

Plant Mix Compliments Home Design

The plant mix compliments the home design and color scheme. Photo: Helix Water District 2024

The plant mix compliments the home design and color scheme. Photo: Helix Water District

The garden is set back behind hedges and fruit trees with a lush mix of flowering plants and greens that complement the colors of their home and the taller surrounding plants. Catherine is employed as a hospital laboratory scientist. Gardening is her creative outlet to balance her analytical side.

The Binottis entered their previous home in the 2020 landscape contest. The same year, they moved nearby into their current home and wanted more from their landscape.

The design includes drifts and groupings of color. Photo: Helix Water District 2024

The design includes drifts and groupings of color. Photo: Helix Water District

Catherine designed the garden herself. It incorporates drifts, harmonious groupings of the same plants, to create cohesive sections of color. By layering these drifts, she adds depth and creates a relaxed feel. She strategically placed specimen plants to create focal points and used taller plants to screen out less appealing views.

Catherine drew inspiration from landscapes she saw on Pinterest, walking in her neighborhood, and exploring nurseries. “In spring when everything is flowering, I’ll walk through all the neighborhoods to figure out what plants grow well and try to mimic what I like about other yards and try to mix it into what I want in my yard.”

Bright Colors Inspire Plant Choices

Bursts of floral color highlight the landscaping. Photo: Helix Water District

Bursts of floral color highlight the landscaping. Photo: Helix Water District

Her preferred plant choices feature yellow, pink, purple, and orange flowers. “Initially, I’d walk around nurseries and take lots of photos,” explained Catherine. “I’d often get asked for help a lot because I’d just be wandering and taking lots of pictures. Then come back home and look at them all.”

Plants featured in the landscape include Rockrose, Foxtail Agave, Purple Leaf Plum Tree, Peruvian Lily, Mexican Feather Grass, Gold Coin Daisy, Santa Barbara Daisy, Gold Strike Protea, Pink Muhly Grass, Grevillea Coastal Gem, Pride of Madeira, and Yarrow.

Efficient Irrigation Updates

The Binottis say the waterwise landscape was a logical choice for them and 'a wonderful source of joy.' Photo: Helix Water District

The Binottis say the waterwise landscape was a logical choice for them and ‘a wonderful source of joy.’ Photo: Helix Water District

The Binottis removed the outdated irrigation system. They retrofitted fruit trees with pressure-compensating drip irrigation and installed new drip lines for everything else. Additionally, downspouts direct rainwater into the front planter. The couple has plans for more rainwater collection.

After years of work, the couple has created a lush waterwise landscape and a vibrant ecosystem. “The yard is always alive with bees, butterflies, lizards, birds, and an occasional coyote,” said Catherine. “A waterwise landscape is the logical choice for us and a wonderful source of joy for us and others. We love the color and contrasts spring brings to the charm of our recently designated historic 1950s La Mesa home.”

The landscape contest runs from January through mid-May each year. Visit Helix’s website at hwd.com, Facebook.com/HelixWater or X at @HelixWater for more information.

 

The R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant operated by the Helix Water District. Photo: Helix Water District

Helix Water District Releases Water Quality Report

Helix Water District’s newly released 2023 Water Quality Report shows that throughout 2023, the district continued to deliver top-quality drinking water that meets all federal and state drinking water regulations.

What water supplies contain depends on where they come from. As water travels through rock, soils, and rivers, it takes with it the characteristics of those environments. In 2023, 54% of Helix water came from Lake Cuyamaca and local creeks, after winter storms dropped 58 inches of rain and snow on the mountains east of San Diego.

The Colorado River provided 26% of the district’s water supply. The remaining 20% came from rivers in Northern California through the State Water Project.  Helix manages the characteristics of each water source through its multistep treatment process.

“Our system operators carefully blend the water from each of our sources to improve water quality, and our on-site chemist and biologist work hand in glove with our water treatment plant operators,” said Helix Water District General Manager Brian Olney. “It takes a highly trained and very committed team to maintain our level of water quality year after year.”

The 2023 Water Quality Report explains the water quality standards mandated through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state of California regulations. It presents Helix Water District’s water quality data for each standard. As in years past, the district’s tap water met all standards.

To view the report in English

Go to hwd.fyi/wqr2023-english

To view the report in Spanish

Go to hwd.fyi/wqr2023-espanol

To request a printed report

Please email or call 619-466-0585

For questions about water quality

Go to hwd.fyi/water-quality-faqs, email or call 619-667-6248

 

L to R: Helix WD director Mark Gracyk, director and scholarship committee chairperson Andrea Beth Damsky, scholarship winners Layth Polus and Paige Newlon, vice president Joel A. Scalzitti, board president Dan McMillan, and director Kathleen Coates Hedberg. Photo: Helix Water District

Exceptional Students Win College Scholarships from Helix Water District

The Helix Water District selected two East County students as recipients of $1,000 college scholarships for 2024. The students were recognized at the May Board of Directors meeting.

Paige Newlon Receives Friedgen Scholarship

Paige Newlon of El Cajon is the 2024 recipient of Helix Water District’s Robert D. Friedgen Scholarship. Newlon poses with Director and Scholarship Committee Chair Andrea Beth Damsky and Board President Dan McMillan. Photo: Helix Water District

Paige Newlon of El Cajon is the 2024 recipient of Helix Water District’s Robert D. Friedgen Scholarship. Newlon poses with Director and Scholarship Committee Chair Andrea Beth Damsky and Board President Dan McMillan. Photo: Helix Water District

Paige Newlon received the Robert D. Friedgen Scholarship. It was established upon Friedgen’s retirement in 1998, after serving as Helix’s general manager for 19 years. Friedgen provided the seed money, and the board and others contributed additional funding.

Newlon graduated from The Academy of Our Lady of Peace. Newlon will attend Loyola Marymount University next fall and plans to major in chemistry and political science to effectively navigate and lead in both science and policymaking.

Newlon played volleyball on the Academy’s varsity and beach volleyball teams, and with a club team. Her team won the San Diego Section, Division 2 champions in 2023, a first for The Academy of Our Lady of Peace, and Newlon was named to the San Diego City Conference All-Academic Team.

Newlon was co-president of the Academy’s academic league, organizing student teams to compete with
other schools, and was also on the speech and debate team. Newlon wrote for the Pilot Post school
newspaper, performed in the Academy’s Spring Sing musicals, and is an ambassador to prospective
students and their families.

Layth Polus Receives Childs Scholarship

Layth Polus of Spring Valley is the 2024 recipient of Helix Water District’s Dr. Lillian M. Childs Scholarship. Polus poses with Director and Scholarship Committee Chair Andrea Beth Damsky and Board President Dan McMillan. Photo: Helix Water District

Layth Polus of Spring Valley is the 2024 recipient of Helix Water District’s Dr. Lillian M. Childs Scholarship. Polus poses with Director and Scholarship Committee Chair Andrea Beth Damsky and Board President Dan McMillan. Photo: Helix Water District

Layth Polus received the Dr. Lillian M. Childs Scholarship. The Helix board established it in 1999 to honor Childs upon her retirement from the board and recognize the 20 years of service and leadership she had given to the district.

Polus graduated from Valhalla High School. Polus will attend UC San Diego next fall and plans to major in human biology. He plans to attend dental school and become an orthodontist.

Polus founded and served as president of the Medical Pathway Club at Valhalla High School for students interested in medical careers. He also organized Healthcare Town, an event that brought 60 club members to Vista Grande Elementary School to teach third-grade students about personal health.

Polus volunteered over 400 hours at Sharp Grossmont Hospital as a nurse’s aide and in other roles and
over 200 hours at the Red Cross, helping with blood drives, food drives, and the nonprofit’s Volunteer
Connect software application. He participated in Valhalla’s academic league as a Junior Ambassador
to help other students engage with their community on Norse Crew, which welcomes and assists
Valhalla’s newest students, and in Toastmasters.

Both Newlon and Polus also have part-time jobs.

Helix Annual College Scholarship Supports District Students

The Helix Water District contacts high school counselors in the fall to inform students about the annual scholarship contest. Applicants must live in the district’s service area, have excellent academic standing, and excel in community service and extracurricular activities. Applicants submit an essay about the East County Advanced Water Purification Project and provide a personal goals statement with two letters of recommendation.

California Electric Vehicle Requirements Raise Questions on Funding

A California regulation that requires government agencies to transition diesel fuel work cars to electric vehicles is prompting questions on how to access funding for the new vehicles.  Helix Water District in East San Diego County is one government agency that has had to figure out how to pay for all electric cars to comply with the new state requirements.

Helix Water District crews lower the five-ton replacement valve into place for installation. Photo: Helix Water District

Helix Water District Replaces Aging Key Water Valve

One of the largest water valves key to Helix Water District operations was recently replaced. The massive five-ton, five-foot diameter valve is one of the largest in the district’s operation.

This valve isolates a section of pipe allowing water from Lake Jennings to flow into the R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant. This replacement addresses two needs: First, it replaces an aging valve, and second, it allows Helix Water District to make cost-effective improvements on a 62-year-old supply line feeding the water treatment plant.

Helix Water District crews prepare the five-ton replacement valve for installation. Photo: Helix Water District

Helix Water District crews prepare the five-ton replacement valve for installation. Photo: Helix Water District

Infrastructure Updates Preparing for East County Advanced Water Purification Program

The valve replacement is among the major improvements underway that will help move, treat, and deliver new water from the East County Advanced Water Purification Program. The program will come online for East County in 2026.

The East County AWP program creates a new, local, and drought-proof water supply using state-of-the-art technology. It will purify recycled water, producing up to 30% of East County’s drinking water.

All work on installing the replacement valve in its new location took place in one day. Photo: Helix Water District

All work on installing the replacement valve in its new location took place in one day. Photo: Helix Water District

The large valve isolates a section of the Lake Jennings pipeline, which moves water out of Lake Jennings and to the inlet of the Levy treatment plant. Since the new East County AWP water will flow through this pipeline 24 hours a day every day for the next 30 years, it is vital for the Helix Water District to inspect and make any necessary repairs to ensure the pipeline is in excellent condition before the new water source comes online. The old valve had exceeded its useful life.

Replacing the large valve also allowed the Helix WD to relocate the new valve, improving access for inspections and maintenance. The previous valve was located over 400 feet from where the water enters our treatment plant and upstream of our other supply pipeline, leaving this section of the pipeline filled with water.

The new water valve has an expected operation life of 50 years. Photo: Helix Water District

The new water valve has an expected operation life of 50 years. Photo: Helix Water District

Before relocating the new valve, Helix maintenance teams could only access this section of pipe during a treatment plant shutdown. While working on the old valve, the district needed to purchase more expensive imported water to serve its customers while the plant was shut down and unable to produce its regular supply.

With the new valve in place, fewer shutdowns will occur and prevent the need for purchasing supplemental imported water while performing maintenance and repairs. Relocating this valve and keeping the plant running was the best option for long-term operations and cost savings.

Water Valve Installation Complete In One Day

Maintenance professionals secure the new valve into place. Photo: Helix Water District

Maintenance professionals secure the new valve into place. Photo: Helix Water District

Construction started early in the morning by cutting out an existing pipe section near the treatment plant’s headworks. The new valve was lowered into position, aligned, welded together, and up and running within 14 hours. The valve is so large it takes more than 400 rotations to close it. The new value is expected to have a useful life of 50 years.

Current work to accommodate the East County AWP project is still in progress. It involves creating new access ways, removing the old valve, constructing a new vault, and preparing the Lake Jennings pipeline for inspection.

Proactive projects like the valve replacement reduce risk, give staff flexibility and redundancy, and prepare the Helix Water District for more efficient operations. Photo: Helix Water District

Proactive projects like the valve replacement reduce risk, give staff flexibility and redundancy, and prepare the Helix Water District for more efficient operations. Photo: Helix Water District

Once completed, the district will have longer-lasting infrastructure that can meet the demands of our region and future water supplies. Proactive projects like the valve replacement reduce risk, give staff flexibility and redundancy, and prepare the Helix Water District for more efficient operations.

To learn more about East County AWP, please visit https://eastcountyawp.com/

 

As soon as 2026, the East County Advanced Water Program will deliver water to the faucets of customers. Photo: East County AWP milestone

East County Advanced Water Program Hits Multiple Milestones  

Work on the East County Advanced Water Purification Program facilities and pipelines reached multiple milestones at the start of 2024, and construction continues on schedule at multiple East County locations through 2025. As soon as 2026, the AWP will deliver water to the faucets of customers in the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Helix Water District, Lakeside Water District service areas, and the northern portion of the Otay Water District service area.

At the main construction site north of Santee Lakes, more than 60% of the concrete has been poured for the water recycling, solids handling, and advanced water purification facilities. Nearly 60% of the 2.3 total miles of open-cut construction on wastewater pipelines that make up the AWP Program are complete.

More than 60% of the concrete has been poured for the East County Advanced Water Program water recycling, solids handling and advanced water purification facilities. Photo: East County AWP

More than 60% of the concrete has been poured for the East County Advanced Water Program water recycling, solids handling and advanced water purification facilities. Photo: East County AWP

Construction also continues on Fanita Parkway, north of Ganley Road in Santee, and within Santee Lakes Recreational Preserve. Pipeline water testing is now underway on that installed pipeline.

Work on the pipelines for the East County Advanced Water Program is affecting access to the Santee Lakes Recreational Preserve, which remains open. Photo: East County AWP

Work on the pipelines for the East County Advanced Water Program is affecting access to the Santee Lakes Recreational Preserve, which remains open. Photo: East County AWP

In addition, pipeline work at Santee Lakes is occurring between Lakes 3 and 4. There is a road closure and no parking in some areas. The Kiwanis Playground at Lake 4 remains open and parking has been preserved for playground visitors.

“Roughly a year and a half ago, we started with a blank slate and since then, the Joint Powers Authority and its project partners have made significant achievements at each of the construction sites,” said Mark Niemiec, director of the East County AWP. “It’s during these ongoing activities within the community including at Santee Lakes that we really appreciate our neighbors’ patience and understanding.”

Pipeline undergrounding scheduled this spring

These new pipelines servicing the East County Advanced Water Program will soon be moved underground. Photo: East County AWP

These new pipelines servicing the East County Advanced Water Program will soon be moved underground. Photo: East County AWP

The wastewater pipelines that will run from the East Mission Gorge Pump Station near State Route 52 to the first lake at Santee Lakes will soon be pulled underground. This trenchless construction method called “Horizontal Directional Drilling” minimizes the impacts to nearby waterways, including the San Diego River. The process takes an estimated 24 to 36 straight hours.

Elsewhere, Fanita Parkway will be temporarily closed for up to one week in March between Ganley Road and Lake Canyon Road to allow for paving on both sides of the street. Residents will see detour signs prior to the closure. The road closure will occur during the day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Purified water pipeline construction is continuing west on Mast Boulevard in Santee, as well as west on Mapleview Street in Lakeside and from Laurel Canyon Road to El Monte Road. Lane closures can be expected.

Residents and commuters in Santee and Lakeside can monitor road closures on the East County AWP website. Photo: East County AWP

Residents and commuters in Santee and Lakeside can monitor road closures on the East County AWP website. Photo: East County AWP

Construction on the 23,000-square-foot Visitors Center is in progress and will be completed by the end of 2025. It will house administrative offices, the operation control center, a testing laboratory, and a community room. The steel beam installation, including 66 columns and 100 beams, will use 350,000 pounds of U.S. steel.

The Flume Trail at Lake Jennings is officially back open following a 10-month closure for purified pipeline construction. The trail will close again during the summer for a couple of months to allow for additional pipeline construction near the shoreline.

The Flume Trail at Lake Jennings is officially back open following a 10-month closure. It will close again for additional construction later this summer. Photo: East County AWP

The Flume Trail at Lake Jennings is officially back open following a 10-month closure. It will close again for additional construction later this summer. Photo: East County AWP

When complete, the East County AWP Program will be able to create up to 11.5 million gallons of purified water per day, which is enough to serve an estimated 400,000 people, or roughly 30% of East San Diego County’s water supply.

The East County AWP Program includes construction of the following:

When operational, the East County AWP will be able to create up to 11.5 million gallons of purified water per day which is enough to serve roughly 30% of East San Diego County’s water supply. Photo: East County AWP

When operational, the East County AWP will be able to create up to 11.5 million gallons of purified water per day which is enough to serve roughly 30% of East San Diego County’s water supply. Photo: East County AWP

  • Water recycling facility treating 16 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater.
  • Advanced water purification facility treating and purifying 11.5 MGD.
  • Purified water pipeline transporting purified water 10 miles to Lake Jennings.
  • Wastewater and residual pipelines. Each segment is three miles long.
  • East Mission Gorge Pump Station (retrofitted) and City of San Diego partnership of regional brine and wastewater pipelines traveling from the pump station in Santee to the City of San Diego’s sewer line in Mission Valley.
  • Energy recovery system creating three megawatts of renewable energy.

To stay up-to-date with project schedules, community impacts and work descriptions, check the East County Advanced Water Purification Program’s interactive map on  www.eastcountyawp.com or visit @eastcountyawp on social media

Board members Mark Gracyk and Joel Scalzitti, Board Vice President Don McMillan, Lily Martinez, and Board President Kathleen Coates Hedberg. Scholarship programs throughout San Diego County and California for 2024 are now open. Photo: Helix Water District 2024 scholarhip applications

2024 Scholarship Applications Open for Aspiring Water Professionals 

Water agencies across San Diego County and California water associations offer multiple college scholarship opportunities in 2024 to help candidates secure their education as water and wastewater professionals.

The acceleration of industry retirements, as well as the increasing need for a skilled workforce trained to implement new technologies, result in an increased effort to develop more skilled individuals for water and wastewater industry jobs, including in San Diego County. For more information, visit sandiegowaterworks.org.

Scholarships are available for community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and graduate-level programs. The following examples are due in the coming weeks for study in the 2023-2024 academic school year.

San Diego regional water scholarships

 Helix Water District will recognize two outstanding graduating high school seniors living within the district’s service area with $1,000 scholarships for university studies next fall.

The Robert D. Friedgen Scholarship and $1,000 Dr. Lillian M. Childs Scholarship honor two past leaders of Helix Water District. Friedgen retired in 1998 after 19 years as the district’s general manager and Childs retired in 1999 after 20 years on the board of directors.

Applicants must graduate in spring 2024 and attend a four-year college or university starting in fall 2024. Students submit a two-page essay exploring potable reuse and the East County Advanced Water Purification project. The scholarship committee reviews each applicant’s grades, extracurricular activities, volunteer and work experience, academic and career goals, and financial need.

Deadline: 5 p.m. on March 15, 2024. Learn more about eligibility and find the online application here.

Vista Irrigation District scholarship winners (left to right): Monica Lozada, Naia Riggenbach, Sarai Rojas, Samantha Harris, Colin Gastauer. (Not pictured: Riley Robbins) Photo: Vista Irrigation District. 2024 scholarship

Vista Irrigation District scholarship winners for 2023 (left to right): Monica Lozada, Naia Riggenbach, Sarai Rojas, Samantha Harris, Colin Gastauer. (Not pictured: Riley Robbins). 2024 scholarship applications are now open. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

Vista Irrigation District invites local high school seniors to compete for up to six scholarships from the District in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $3,000. The purpose of the scholarship program is to increase knowledge and awareness of how water-related issues influence our daily activities.

Students who compete for a scholarship must complete an essay and provide a one-page personal statement related to their background and/or goals. Selection criteria also include community involvement or volunteer service, and letters of recommendation from high school faculty.

Applications must be received via email or at the district’s office by 4 p.m. on Friday February 23, 2024. Eligible students must live or go to school within the Vista Irrigation District service area. Find the application link here.

Contact Brent Reyes at (760) 597-3107 ">or email Reyes with questions or to request application information.

Scholarships were issued to local students by the Vallecitos Water District to help them continue their higher education. (L to R): Board Vice President Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson, scholarship winners Phlavia Oyrem, Caitlyn Hansen, and Julianna Stipica-Kelecic, Board President Jim Hernandez, scholarship winners Daniel Baza, Evan Fox, and Board Member Erik A. Groset. Not pictured: Board Members Craig Elitharp and Jim Pennock, scholarship winner Brook Sannella. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Scholarships were issued to local students by the Vallecitos Water District in 2023 to help them continue their higher education. (L to R): Board Vice President Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson, scholarship winners Phlavia Oyrem, Caitlyn Hansen, and Julianna Stipica-Kelecic, Board President Jim Hernandez, scholarship winners Daniel Baza, Evan Fox, and Board Member Erik A. Groset. Not pictured: Board Members Craig Elitharp and Jim Pennock, scholarship winner Brook Sannella. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Vallecitos Water District invites local high school seniors and students at Palomar College and California State University San Marcos to compete for scholarships from the district. Up to six scholarships may be awarded in amounts up to $1,000 per scholarship. The purpose of the scholarship program is to encourage students to learn more about water-related issues impacting their community.

Eligible students must live or go to school within the Vallecitos Water District’s service area. Students must complete an essay and provide a personal statement related to their background and/or goals. Selection criteria also include community involvement or volunteer service, a financial needs worksheet, and letters of recommendation from faculty or an associate.

">Email Chris Robbins for application materials. Applications for the 2024 scholarship must be emailed or delivered to the District office by the deadline*.  Note: The 2024 scholarship deadline has not yet been announced.

The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board awarded the 2022 Work for Water Scholarship to two local students: David Inchaurregui Jr. of Chula Vista and Kassandra Beltran of National City. Photos: Sweetwater Authority 2024 scholarship applications

The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board awarded the Work for Water Scholarship to two local students: David Inchaurregui Jr. of Chula Vista and Kassandra Beltran of National City. Photos: Sweetwater Authority

Sweetwater Authority’s “Work for Water” scholarships are now open for applications.

Two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to new or currently enrolled students at the Center for Water Studies at Cuyamaca College or another accredited college, community college, or trade school with a career goal in the water industry.

The application deadline has not been determined. For questions regarding the scholarship, application, or uploading documentation, email or call Alessandra Angelone, Senior Public Affairs Representative, at (619) 409-6721.

The Mark Watton Scholarship Fund through the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges supports students attending the Center for Water Studies at Cuyamaca College. It honors former Otay Water District General Manager Mark Watton’s four decades of service to the district.

Applicants must be currently enrolled for at least six units at Cuyamaca College, verify financial need, and complete the general application and essay. Scholarships of $1,000 are available. Application dates are March 25 to May 4, 2024.

Students should ">contact scholarship specialist Shirley Hughes with questions.

In addition, National University partners with the San Diego County Water Authority to offer a 25% tuition reduction scholarship to employees and employees of all member water agencies. The San Diego County Water Authority Tuition Reduction Scholarship benefits working adults who want to reach specific educational goals but find it challenging to fit classes into their busy life. The tuition-reduction scholarship can be applied to most associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs. Click for more information.

Professional association scholarships

Statewide scholarships are available through several organizations. 2024 scholarship applications

Statewide scholarships are available through several organizations.

The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) offers four undergraduate 2024 scholarships, one graduation 2024 scholarship and a fellowship opportunity to qualified applicants attending a University of California or California State University campus. Students must be juniors or seniors pursuing an undergraduate degree in a water-resources related field such as engineering, agriculture, environmental studies, or public administration. Criteria include scholastic achievement and motivation to the vocation of water-resources management.

ACWA began its scholarship programs in 1961 to motivate committed students to join the effort to ensure California’s water quality through sound management policies. The scholarship program is all about investing in future water leaders.

Deadline: March 1, 2024. Application Link. Questions? Call 916-441-4545 or email .

The California-Nevada section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) awards more than $20,000 in scholarships in support of students and professionals pursuing careers in a drinking water-related field. Two $5,000 graduate scholarships, four $2,500 undergraduate scholarships, and two $1,000 scholarships in support of training as a drinking water treatment/distribution operator are available.

Environmental and civil engineers; water, wastewater, and recycling treatment plant operators; distribution system operators; chemists; laboratory technicians; biologists, ecologists, and environmental scientists; and others whose roles support safe and reliable drinking water are all suitable 2024 scholarship candidates.

Deadline: March 15, 2024. Application Link. For information, call 909-481-7200 or email 

The Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) Canham Graduate Studies 2024 scholarship provides $25,000 for a graduate student in the water environment field. The scholarship is for education-related expenses such as room and board, tuition, and books. The scholarship may not be used to cover stipends or wages.

The applicant must be a WEF member, complete an online application, and be enrolled in a graduate program. Recipients must commit to working in the water industry for two years following graduation.

Deadline: March 31, 2024. Apply online here. For questions, email

 

Six San DIego County students will have their artwork featured in the annual "Water Is Life" calendar for 2024.

San Diego County Student Artwork Featured in 2024 Calendar

Six San Diego County student artists from four member water agencies are among the 37 Southern California students whose artwork will appear in the 2024 “Being Water Wise Is… ” Student Art Calendar.

The “Being Water Wise Is… ” Student Art Calendar is produced annually by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. It showcases student artwork illustrating important water conservation messages in a visual way. Water agencies submit artwork for consideration among the winners of their local competitions. This year, 26 Southern California water agencies submitted 234 entries.

The inspiring artwork and artists were recognized during a virtual awards event on Thursday, December 14. MWD Board Chairman Adán Ortega, Jr. thanked the students, their family and friends, and the many educators who support the annual contest.

Ortega Jr. told the winning students, “You are truly extraordinary and helping us to see water in new ways and bringing us greater appreciation for its value to our daily lives, and to our society overall.

“Thousands of people will see the calendar that will be published, celebrating winning entries, and learn from it as well.”

South Bay Represented by Otay and Sweetwater Winners

Student artwork from winners in the Otay Water District and Sweetwater Authority are featured on the August 2024 page.

Student artwork from winners in the Otay Water District and Sweetwater Authority are featured on the August 2024 page.

Artwork created by Sophia Garvida, a seventh-grade Bonita Vista Middle School student, was selected for the calendar. Sophia represents the Otay Water District and won first place in the middle school category in the district’s service area competition.

Fifth grader Sofia Cardenas Loera, who attends the STEAM Academy in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, will also have her winning artwork in the calendar after winning the local competition.

“These two talented students used their artistic skills to share an important conservation message and illustrate the value of using water wisely. All of us at the Otay Water District are proud to have their creativity represent the district,” said Eileen Salmeron, communications assistant and poster contest coordinator.

Alondra Contreras Olvera, a third-grade student at Allen Elementary School, represents Sweetwater Authority in the calendar. The three South Bay student posters are on the August 2024 page.

East County Winners From Helix and Padre Dam

Catalina Jones is a second time winner.

Catalina Jones is a second-time winner.

Catalina Raquel Jones, is a talented seventh grade student at La Mesa Arts Academy whose artwork represents the Helix Water District in the 2024 calendar. Catalina is a second-time winner. Her artwork was also selected last year when she was a sixth-grade student at Lemon Avenue Elementary School.

Cameron Kovar is the second winner from the Helix Water District. student artwork

Cameron Kovar is the second winner from the Helix Water District.

Cameryn Kovar, who attends St. Martin of Tours Academy-La Mesa and is also in seventh grade, is the second Helix Water District student whose artwork will appear in the calendar. The Helix winners are on the July 2024 page.

Hayley Novotny's winning student artwork represents the Padre Dam Municipal Water District in the 2024 calendar.

Hayley Novotny’s winning student artwork represents the Padre Dam Municipal Water District in the 2024 calendar.

Hayley Novotny, a fifth-grade student at Cajon Park School in Santee, represents the Padre Dam Municipal Water District. Her artwork is on the December 2024 page of the calendar.

Conservation message delivered through artistic expression

The “Water is Life” Student Art Calendar was created 35 years ago. It selects student art submitted from kindergarten through grade 12 to help convey water conservation messages. The annual calendar is distributed to 13,000 recipients each year.

Artwork from the student winners will remain on display at Metropolitan’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters in January. The traveling artwork will visit member agencies throughout the year. View the entire calendar here.

 

 

“Lights at the Lake” at the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve features 100,000 lights and three dozen displays nightly through December 28. Photo: Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve holiday activities

San Diego Regional Reservoirs Offer Holiday Activities

Several of San Diego County’s most popular reservoir recreation areas offer special holiday events through 2023 and host winter activities during the region’s cooler months.

Santee Lakes shows its holiday spirit

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve hosts the “Lights at the Lake” drive through holiday show through December 28. It features more than 100,000 lights and three dozen displays to brighten your holidays. Hours are 5:45 p.m. through 8:45 p.m. (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). You must buy tickets in advance at https://santeelakes.ticketspice.com/lights-at-the-lakes-2023.

See a video preview.

Santa Claus visits with kids on December 21, 22, and 23.

Trout fishing season is in full swing. Lakes 4 and 5 were recently stocked with 1,000 pounds of trout.

For the second year in a row, Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve was nationally recognized by the Outdoor Hospitality Industry (formerly ARVC) as its large/mega park Plan-it Green Park of the Year for its environmentally friendly practices across all areas of park operations and its commitment to sustainability. Judges make their decisions based on several criteria: guest experiences, all-around excellence in operations, professionalism, marketing, customer service, and industry involvement.

Originally opened to the public in 1961, today, Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve hosts over 760,000 visitors annually. The 190-acre park’s lakes are stocked with fish year-round. Other amenities include camping, cabin rentals, fishing, boating, playgrounds, walking trails, facility rentals, special events, and approximately 230 bird species.

Lake Jennings open for winter fun

A happy angler shows off his catch at Lake Jennings. Photo: Lake Jennings/Facebook

A happy angler shows off his catch at Lake Jennings. Photo: Lake Jennings/Facebook

Lake Jennings is open daily except on Christmas Day from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. through January 7. Trout fishing season is in full swing, with the lake fully stocked with 1,500 pounds of rainbow trout. It will be restocked again the week of December 25 and January 8 and 22.

The lake will be open for its New Moon Fishing event on Saturday, January 13, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visitors can enjoy fishing, boating, hiking, picnicking, sunset watching, star gazing, and firepit rentals. The lake will be freshly stocked with 1,500 lbs. of rainbow trout. The entrance gate closes at 8 p.m.; full-sized lanterns are required after sunset. Get more information about activities at https://lakejennings.org/

Lake Jennings is a popular destination for birding and viewing wildlife, like this red-tailed hawk. Photo: Lake Jennings

Lake Jennings is a popular destination for birding and viewing wildlife, like this red-tailed hawk. Photo: Lake Jennings

Lake Jennings is an exceptional destination during winter months for the serious and casual wildlife viewer and photographer. The rolling hills, the endless lake, the coastal sage, and the riparian areas provide a diverse habitat in a small area. Common sightings include deer, fox, and osprey. Bird watchers are drawn to Lake Jennings for its rich variety of bird species.

Free Fishing Sundays coming to an end at Sweetwater Reservoir

Just two Sundays are left to enjoy Sweetwater Reservoir’s “Free Fishing Sundays.”

Located at the eastern edge of Bonita, Sweetwater Reservoir’s Recreation Program is easily accessible to Authority customers and offers outdoor activities, including 2.5 miles of shoreline fishing and a riding and hiking trail operated by the County of San Diego.

The entrance is at 3203 Summit Meadow Road in Bonita. A valid California Department of Fish and Wildlife Fishing License is required. Regular fishing fees remain in effect on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays. For information on current hours, fees, and safety, visit www.sweetwater.org/fishing.

The reservoir is primarily a local water supply for the Authority’s 200,000 customers in National City, Chula Vista, and Bonita. The Sweetwater Authority has created recreational opportunities, including fishing programs and a riding and hiking trail at Sweetwater operated by the County of San Diego through a license from the Authority.

 

 

 

Water Conservation Garden to Run Out of Money Soon; Executive Director Resigns Amid Financial Turmoil

The Water Conservation Garden will run out of money as early as mid-December, the nonprofit organization Friends of The Water Conservation Garden stated at an October 24 meeting of the Water Conservation Garden Joint Powers Authority,  the consortium of public utility and governmental entities that oversees the Friends.