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Work is now underway on the El Camino Real Potable Water Pipeline Replacement and Green Bike Lane Striping Project. Construction is expected to last about one year. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District Water and traffic

Olivenhain MWD, City of Encinitas Work Together to Keep Water and Traffic Flowing

The City of Encinitas and the Olivenhain Municipal Water District are working together on a project that keeps water supply and traffic flowing.

To prevent water main breaks and ensure reliable service to its customers, Olivenhain Municipal Water District is proactive in its repair and replacement of aging water infrastructure.

Year-long construction project underway

Map of the 4,700 foot long stretch of improvements planned along North El Camino Real. Map: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Map shows the 4,700 foot long stretch of improvements planned along North El Camino Real. Graphic: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

In early April, OMWD began construction to replace aging water infrastructure along El Camino Real in Encinitas. The work marks the start of the El Camino Real Potable Water Pipeline Replacement and Green Bike Lane Striping Project. Construction is expected to last about one year.

During the project, OMWD will replace approximately 4,700 linear feet of existing 12-inch diameter potable water pipeline along North El Camino Real from Encinitas Boulevard to Garden View Road and approximately 650 linear feet of existing 12-inch diameter pipeline between Via Molena and Mountain Vista Drive. Water service lines and fire hydrant laterals served by the existing pipelines will also be replaced.

The two pipelines being replaced were originally installed in 1961 and 1974, and are approaching the end of their lifespan.

The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that there more than 240,000 water main breaks in the United States every year. The main breaks waste over two trillion gallons of treated drinking water, but also interrupt water service to homes and businesses, and require costly and disruptive emergency repairs.

After OMWD’s pipeline work is complete, the City of Encinitas will implement traffic calming measures and improve safety and mobility for bicyclists along North El Camino Real from Encinitas Boulevard to Leucadia Boulevard by restriping and narrowing travel lanes.

The work will include adding bollards to existing bike lanes, applying green color to some areas on the bike lanes, and additional signage and pavement markings will also be installed.

OMWD will implement the lane restriping portion of the project on behalf of the City of Encinitas, which will take place concurrently with the pipeline replacement project.

Coordination minimizes impact on residents and businesses

The two agencies have combined efforts to maximize operational efficiencies and to reduce impacts to area residents and businesses.

Originally, OMWD’s project was scheduled to begin in 2021. Encinitas Council Member Joe Mosca and OMWD Board Treasurer Larry Watt identified the opportunity to streamline the two projects, maximizing efficiencies and minimizing impacts to the community. Because the City’s project had a deadline for grant funding, the two agencies ultimately decided it would be more efficient to advance the timeline of OMWD’s project.

“El Camino Real is a major thoroughfare and any work done there needs to be executed with maximum care and efficiency in mind to keep impacts to businesses and residents low,” said Larry Watt, OMWD board treasurer. “By coordinating the pipeline replacement project with the City’s project, the community can enjoy a continued safe and reliable water supply and improved road safety with the least disturbance possible.”

Environmental responsibility and safety

“The City of Encinitas is continuing its track record of environmental responsibility by making our streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians through the Active Transportation Enhancing Project,” said Encinitas Councilmember Joe Mosca. “The City’s partnership with OMWD on this project highlights the benefits of collaboration between neighboring public agencies on critical infrastructure projects.”

Coronavirus pandemic helps minimize impact on traffic management

Instead of conducting two projects along the same stretch of road consecutively, the City of Encinitas and Olivenhain Municipal Water District are coordinating their work to minimize disruption to the community. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Instead of conducting two projects along the same stretch of road consecutively, the City of Encinitas and Olivenhain Municipal Water District are coordinating their work to minimize disruption to the community. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

In addition to the partnership, OMWD has taken steps to minimize the impact of the project on residents and businesses along North El Camino Real. A City-approved traffic management plan will be implemented during construction. All work was originally scheduled to be completed at night to minimize traffic impacts.

As a result of the reduced traffic from the statewide stay-at-home order, the agencies adapted hours in April to 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The change allows work to be completed more efficiently and safely.

Olivenhain will work closely with the City to monitor the project’s impact on traffic on a week-by-week basis and modify the schedule as needed along with project contractor Teichert Energy and Utilities Group while still maintaining efficient operations.

OMWD anticipates a single shutdown of water service for most businesses/residences, kept as short as possible. Project updates are posted on its website. Email questions to or call 760-632-4235.

For questions specific to the City of Encinitas Active Transportation Enhancing Project, email or call 760-943-2211.

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OMWD Has Rapidly Responded to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis: Here is What You Need to Know

Encinitas, Calif.—The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has posed an unprecedented threat to the global community, requiring quick action, responsible decision-making, and forward thinking. With nearly every community facing this global health emergency, OMWD has taken several proactive steps to protect customers, employees, and the water supply.

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OMWD Welcomes Entries in 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest

Encinitas, CA—Olivenhain Municipal Water District invites residents with water-efficient gardens to enter the 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The winning landscape will receive $250. The deadline to apply is April 27, and applications are available at www.landscapecontest.com

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Pipeline Construction Scheduled to Begin Along North El Camino Real Next Week

Encinitas, CA—Olivenhain Municipal Water District will begin construction to replace aging water infrastructure in El Camino Real the week of March 23. To reduce traffic impacts, all work will take place at night, between 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., Monday through Thursday.

 

Discover Climate-Appropriate Plants to Suit Your Landscape at a Free Workshop on March 24

Encinitas, CA—Olivenhain Municipal Water District and San Dieguito Water District are offering a free workshop to assist residents in selecting climate-appropriate plants for their landscapes. The workshop will be held Tuesday, March 24, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Encinitas Community Center, located at 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive in Encinitas.

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OMWD Invites Fourth Graders to Enter Annual Water-Smart Art Contest 

Encinitas, CA—Olivenhain Municipal Water District encourages fourth-grade students living or attending school within its service area to enter by April 6 the annual poster contest hosted by North County water agencies.

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OMWD Invites Teachers to Apply for Field Trip Grant

Encinitas, CA—OMWD invites fourth-grade through eighth-grade teachers living or teaching within OMWD’s service area to apply for the California Special Districts Association San Diego Chapter’s Field Trip Grant by March 16.

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Olivenhain Municipal Water District Offers Free Recycled Water to Residential Customers This Summer

Encinitas, Caif. – On July 26, Olivenhain Municipal Water District will re-open its recycled water fill station for the warm summer season, offering free recycled water to its residential customers.

OMWD operates the facility to help customers irrigate during San Diego’s warm season, minimizing potable water demands and assisting customers with lowering their higher summer bills. The fill station, located at Campania Avenue and Camino San Thomas in 4S Ranch, will open Fridays 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

 

The newly opened Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve Interpretive Center was constructed as a centerpiece of environmental education through a cooperative effort. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve Celebrates Decade of Outdoor Education

Residents, volunteers, and officials gathered June 1 at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve in Escondido to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its Interpretive Center honoring Susan J. Varty.

Visitors explore the Interpretive Center on its opening day June 1. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Visitors explore the Interpretive Center on its opening day June 1. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Located at OMWD’s Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, the center was constructed as a centerpiece of environmental education through a cooperative effort between OMWD and the Escondido Creek Conservancy.

“As we celebrate ten years of operation, we couldn’t be more proud of what we have accomplished by working together,” said OMWD Board Secretary Robert Kephart. “Yet, without the dedicated support of docents and donors, this one-of-a-kind facility with its many successful education programs would not have been possible. We also honor their efforts today.”

The Center’s namesake, Susan J. Varty, served as an OMWD board director from 1994 until her death in 2009. She exhibited a passion and tenacity for water issues and environmental preservation.

Reserve provides regional resource for outdoor education, and environmental appreciation

The Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve provides a wealth of opportunities for recreation, outdoor education, and environmental appreciation for all ages. Photo: Olivehain Municipal Water District

The Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve provides a wealth of opportunities for recreation, outdoor education, and environmental appreciation for all ages. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

The Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve provides a wealth of opportunities for recreation, outdoor education, and environmental appreciation.

Olivenhain partnered with the San Diego County Water Authority and the Bureau of Land Management to develop the 784-acre Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve as part of the regional Emergency Storage Project. The reserve opened in 1992. Currently, the reserve offers approximately 11 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails, as well as picnic areas and scenic mountain viewing points.

The Escondido Creek Conservancy has formed alliances with landowners, government agencies, and education and community groups to increase awareness of the invaluable resources intrinsic to the Escondido Creek watershed.

Originally, Olivenhain planned to construct a cinder block building with the assistance of a $68,500 grant from California’s Department of Parks and Recreation. The Conservancy sought at the same time to establish a location close to Escondido Creek for hosting educational programs. The timing allowed the organizations to form a mutually beneficial partnership.

The new Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve's Interpretive Center features The building also features green design elements such as recycled building materials, solar panels powered by photovoltaic cells, and a green roof. Photo: Olivehain Municipal Water District

The new Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve’s Interpretive Center features green design elements such as recycled building materials, solar panels powered by photovoltaic cells, and a green roof. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

The Conservancy raised over $565,000 from individual donors to complete the enhanced design and center construction. Another $200,000 was raised for educational programs, including wildlife displays and nature activities.

Renowned local artist James T. Hubbell designed the center and several original works by Hubbell and his collaborations with other artists are on display. The building also features green design elements such as recycled building materials, solar panels powered by photovoltaic cells, and a green roof.

New grant funding provides educational field trips

The new Escondido Creek Eichen Education Fund will continue the joint education programs held at the Elfin Forest's interpretive center in perpetuity. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

The new Escondido Creek Eichen Education Fund will continue the joint education programs held at the Elfin Forest’s interpretive center in perpetuity. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

More than 3,650 students visited the reserve on field trips during the 2018-2019 school year. The Conservancy provides the opportunity for students in disadvantaged communities to attend field trips through grant funding. Additional education partners are the Nature Collective and San Diego Zoo.

At the event, the Conservancy announced the creation of the Escondido Creek Eichen Education Fund. The new fund will continue the joint education programs held at the center in perpetuity.

“The Escondido Creek Conservancy’s education department helps bring thousands of underserved, urban-based students from Escondido out to the Elfin Forest every year so they can experience the outdoors, many for the first time in their lives,“ said Conservancy board member Jeff Swenerton. “This is vitally important because we can’t expect the next generation to value nature if they’ve never been exposed to it.

“We’re reaching more children now than in any other time in our organization’s history,” added Swenerton. “It’s very exciting to see the impact we’re making, but we’ve reached a point where we need to launch the Escondido Creek Eichen Education Fund campaign to sustain our success and enable us to continue connecting children with nature.”

The center is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., depending on the availability of the reserve’s 65 docents. View the current docent schedule on the center’s website.

 

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OMWD Honored with Distinguished Budget Award for Eighteenth Consecutive Year

Encinitas, Calif. — At its May 22 meeting, Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors accepted for its 2018-2019 fiscal year budget the Government Finance Officers Association’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. This marks the eighteenth consecutive year OMWD has achieved this award.