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The Helix Water District is the San Diego region’s second largest water utility, after the City of San Diego. Its service area includes La Mesa, Lemon Grove, El Cajon, Spring Valley, and other unincorporated areas of the county, with a population of 277,000. Brian Olney

Helix Water District Names Brian Olney New General Manager

The Helix Water District Board of Directors appointed Brian Olney as the organization’s new general manager, effective September 1, 2022. Olney was previously the Assistant General Manager and before that, the water district’s Director of Water Quality and System Operations.  He has 28 years of experience in the water industry.

“Brian’s experience spans system operations, water treatment plant operations and maintenance, water distribution and construction,” said Helix Board President Kathleen Coates Hedberg. “He’s been a member of the executive team since 2016, and he is knowledgeable about local and regional water issues. Brian is a leader and will make a smooth transition into the general manager role.”

“I am honored to be the next general manager of Helix Water District,” said Olney. “We provide an essential service to hardworking people, who expect us to do our jobs correctly and efficiently and provide clean, safe water at a reasonable price. I agree with that, and we meet and exceed those expectations every day.”

Summer job leads to water industry career

Brian Olney has been named General Manager of Helix Water District, effective Sept. 1, 2022. Photo: Helix Water District

Brian Olney named General Manager of Helix Water District, effective Sept. 1, 2022. Photo: Helix Water District

Olney, a native San Diegan, grew up in East San Diego County, and now lives in Santee with his wife, Brenda. He earned an associate’s degree in water science technology and is a graduate of San Diego State University, where he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in public administration.

A summer construction job introduced Olney to a career in the water industry.

“I quickly realized how rewarding it was and embraced the public service aspect. It is truly enjoyable to meet customers and explain what we do or help them through an issue,” said Olney.

Olney worked in field operations for Lakeside Water District and as a water system operator for Otay Water District before joining Helix in 2000 as a water treatment plant operator. Olney maintains Grade 5 certifications from the California State Water Resources Board in water treatment and water distribution, the highest level of certification with ongoing education requirements.

Olney will oversee second largest water utility in San Diego County

Serving 277,000 customers, the Helix Water District maintains 16,892 valves and 56,504 water meters. Photo: Helix Water District Brian Olney

Serving 277,000 customers, the Helix Water District maintains 16,892 valves and 56,504 water meters. Photo: Helix Water District

The Helix Water District is the San Diego region’s second largest water utility, after the City of San Diego. Its service area includes La Mesa, Lemon Grove, El Cajon, Spring Valley, and other unincorporated areas of the county, with a population of 277,000. The Helix regional treatment plant also supplies water to Otay Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, and Lakeside Water District in addition to its own customers, a total population of 500,000. Olney will oversee 150 employees and manage the FY2022-23 budget of $108 million.

“We are fortunate at Helix,” said Olney. “The board of directors are actively involved in the community and serve the district and our customers very well. Our employees are qualified, compassionate, and dedicated. I will continue to reinforce our values, and our goals and objectives, and we will work through the challenges we face.”

(Editor’s note: The Helix Water District, Otay Water District, Lakeside Water District and Padre Dam Municipal Water District are four of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

County Water Authority Makes SAWR Permanent

The San Diego County Water Authority has a program called the Transitional Special Agricultural Water Rate, and the SDCWA will be transitioning the TSAWR into a permanent program.

A unanimous CWA board vote on Nov. 21 approved making the SAWR permanent. An annual review of the SAWR will be conducted in conjunction with other rates and charges and the cost of service process to determine SAWR rates is expected to be completed in spring 2020.