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Hard Work Pays Off for Padre Dam Landscape Makeover Winner

Frank Edward’s Santee home is bursting with bright colors and textures. Vibrant yellow, orange, red, green, and purple flowers, and drought-tolerant, native plants spring to life where there was once just dry and patchy grass.

“It was a lot of hard work but it was also a lot of fun,” said Edward. “It was great to see all of my labor come to fruition.”

The transformation from high maintenance lawn to vibrant design is the winner of the 2021 Padre Dam Municipal Water District Landscape Makeover Contest.

Padre Dam Municipal Water District-Landscape Makeover Winner-WaterSmartSD-drought

Hard Work Pays Off for Padre Dam Landscape Makeover Winner

Frank Edward’s Santee home is bursting with bright colors and textures. Vibrant yellow, orange, red, green, and purple flowers, and drought-tolerant, native plants spring to life where there was once just dry and patchy grass.

“It was a lot of hard work but it was also a lot of fun,” said Edward. “It was great to see all of my labor come to fruition.”

The transformation from high maintenance lawn to vibrant design is the winner of the 2021 Padre Dam Municipal Water District Landscape Makeover Contest.

Before transformation

Frank Edward'a home before his award-winning landscape. Photo: Padre Dam Landscape Makeover

Frank Edward’s home before his award-winning landscape redesign. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

After transformation

The results of Frank Edward's hard work. Photo: Padre Dam MWD

The results of Frank Edward’s hard work. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Edward began his water-efficient landscape journey in 2018 when he attended a three-hour WaterSmart Landscape Workshop at Padre Dam’s customer service Center. He was tired of his high maintenance, drought-bleached lawn and wanted his landscape to add to the overall attractiveness of his home.

During the workshop, he learned about the WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series, a four-class series that helped him through the process of preparing his space, designing his landscape, selecting plants, and irrigation planning. Edward used a kidney bean shaped planter as a starting point and designed his landscape around this feature.

“Hard work but a lot of fun” to complete landscape makeover

Frank Edwards had a complete plan after attending the Water Authority's WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series. Photo: Frank Edwards Padre Dam Landscape Makeover

Frank Edwards had a complete plan after attending the San Diego County Water Authority’s WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series. Photo: Frank Edwards

Edward had a fully designed layout ready to be implemented by the end of the class series. He set to work removing his old turf and installing his new landscape in the spring of 2019 and did all of the removal, designing, and planting himself. He even constructed a small barn that acts as a shed and a footbridge over his riverbed to add unique and functional design elements. The work took about a year to complete. Water storage features including a small pond and rock river bed, which add depth and shape to the contoured yard.

The new yard has places to sit and enjoy the flowers, pollinators, and bird. Photo: Padre Dam MWD

The new yard has places to sit and enjoy the flowers, pollinators, and birds. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Edward installed piping to collect water off his roof, collected in a rain barrel, and diverts it to the landscape’s rock river bed. Additionally, he created a pond that can hold several hundred gallons of water. This collected rainwater helps to irrigate the plants by replenishing the soil’s moisture for a period after it rains. Edward also installed a smart controller that waters the plants based on hydrozones and local weather through a drip irrigation system.

Neighbors compliment Frank Edward on his efforts. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Edward now spends time relaxing and listening to birds in his front yard. He enjoys the peaceful atmosphere and the satisfaction he gets when neighbors and passersby compliment his landscape. He recommends that others looking to plant a water-smart landscape put in the time to research and plan in order to create an environment and design that will work for their lifestyle.

“Hard work and a well-thought-out plan certainly paid positive results,” said Edward. “It was a great success.”

(Editor’s note: The Padre Dam Municipal Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Padre Dam Resuming Late Fees and Water Shutoffs in an Effort to Protect Customers

July 13, 2021 — Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors voted (4-1) to resume billing late fees on utility bills for unpaid past due balances beginning August 1, 2021 after pausing fees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the District will resume water service shutoffs for non-payment beginning on October 1, 2021. The District is returning to pre-pandemic policies set forth in its Rules and Regulations to ensure compliance with California State Laws.

EPA Funding Secured for East County Drinking Water Project

In a major milestone for water reliability, the East County Advanced Water Purification Program was awarded a $388 million federal loan from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help advance the project’s completion.

“The East County Advanced Water Purification Program is the result of many years of strategic, long-term planning and this WIFIA loan marks a historic milestone in its development,” said Allen Carlisle, CEO and general manager of Padre Dam Municipal Water District. “By providing East County with local control and independence of both its wastewater and water, the program secures a long-term solution for increased stability in our communities and safeguards the vitality of our economy and quality of life. We are grateful to the U.S. EPA for partnering with us on this important program and investing in future generations.”

San Diego East County Water Recycling Project Receives EPA Loan for $388 Million

A wastewater recycling project in East County will receive a sizable injection of federal funds, officials announced Friday.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $388 million, low-interest loan to help finance the East County Advanced Water Purification Program — a partnership between San Diego County, El Cajon, Helix Water District and Padre Dam Municipal Water District.

The water recycling project is estimated to cost about $640 million and create about 2,500 local jobs. It’s expected to come online in 2025, providing up to 30 percent of East County’s drinking water supply, from Santee to La Mesa and El Cajon, as well as unincorporated communities such as Spring Valley, Lakeside and Alpine.

EPA Funding-East County AWP-Padre Dam MWD

EPA Funding Secured for East County Drinking Water Project

In a major milestone for water reliability, the East County Advanced Water Purification Program was awarded a $388 million federal loan from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help advance the project’s completion.

Radhika Fox, U.S. EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water, joined Kyle Swanson, Director of the East County AWP, and Steve Goble, Joint Powers Authority Chair of the East County AWP, for the June 4 announcement at the demonstration facility for the project in Santee. Following the presentation, Fox joined local officials for a tour of the demonstration facility.

“EPA is proud to partner on this project, which uses proven technology to bolster drinking water supplies in this climate-stressed region,” said Fox. “Investing in water infrastructure is one of the best bets we can make to improve public health and the environment, create jobs and address pressing challenges that face our communities.”

Radhika Fox (left), EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water, and Kyle Swanson, East County AWP Director. Photo: East County AWP EPA Funding

Radhika Fox (right), EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water, and Kyle Swanson, East County AWP Director. Photo: East County AWP

The East County AWP is one of only 38 projects selected nationwide to receive a share of approximately $6 billion in federal water infrastructure investments. The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan is the second-largest loan awarded to any San Diego County project.

“The East County Advanced Water Purification Program is the result of many years of strategic, long-term planning and this WIFIA loan marks a historic milestone in its development,” said Allen Carlisle, CEO and general manager of Padre Dam Municipal Water District. “By providing East County with local control and independence of both its wastewater and water, the program secures a long-term solution for increased stability in our communities and safeguards the vitality of our economy and quality of life. We are grateful to the U.S. EPA for partnering with us on this important program and investing in future generations.”

New, local, sustainable water supply 

Radhika Fox of the EPA tours the East County Advanced Water Project Demonstration Facility in Santee. Photo: East County AWP EPA Funding

Radhika Fox of the EPA tours the East County Advanced Water Project Demonstration Facility in Santee. Photo: East County AWP

The East County AWP is a collaborative partnership between the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Helix Water District, County of San Diego, and City of El Cajon. It will create a new, local, and sustainable drinking water supply using sophisticated technology to provide 30% of current drinking water demands for East County residents when it is completed in 2025, as much as 11.5 million gallons per day.

The project will recycle East San Diego County’s wastewater locally and purify the recycled water at a new treatment facility using four advanced water purification steps. The purified water will then be pumped into Lake Jennings, treated again at the Helix Levy Treatment Plant, and then distributed into the drinking water supply.

Padre Dam Municipal Water District currently imports 100% of its drinking water supply. The agency treats two million gallons per day at its water recycling facility for irrigation and non-potable uses. Helix Water District imports approximately 85% of its drinking water supply with the remaining coming from local sources.

In addition to providing a new local water supply, the project will eliminate the need to send most of East County’s wastewater to the City of San Diego’s Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, where it is currently treated and then discharged into the ocean. Keeping this water resource in east county provides water sustainability and it’s good for the environment.

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

As Drought Looms, East County Agencies Get $388 Million Loan for Giant Water Recycling Project

The third large drinking water recycling facility planned for San Diego County received a low-interest $388 million federal loan on Friday to jump-start the project.

The East County Advanced Water Purification Program will recycle waste water to produce up to 11.5 million purified gallons a day — 30% of the region’s supply — beginning in 2025.

The project at the north end of the string of Santee Lakes is a joint effort by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, city of El Cajon, Helix Water District and San Diego County.

East County Advanced Water Purification Program Video

A new video explains how the East County Advanced Water Purification Program will create a new, local, reliable and drought proof supply of drinking water for San Diego residents. The four-minute video, The Clear Solution, shows how recycling and reusing the region’s wastewater will create high quality drinking water. The East County AWP is one of several potable water reuse or recycling projects under development in the San Diego region.

East County Advanced Water Purification-potable reuse-recycling

East County Advanced Water Purification Program Video

A new video explains how the East County Advanced Water Purification Program will create a new, local, reliable and drought proof supply of drinking water for San Diego residents. The four-minute video, The Clear Solution, shows how recycling and reusing the region’s wastewater will create high quality drinking water.

The East County AWP is one of several potable water reuse or recycling projects under development in the San Diego region. The project is a collaborative partnership between the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, County of San Diego, City of El Cajon and the Helix Water District.

Sustainable water future

Once operational, the East County AWP will provide up to 30% of East San Diego County’s drinking water demands, or almost 13,000 acre-feet of water per year, while eliminating the discharge of 15 million gallons of partially treated wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

“The Clear Solution video simply explains the highly technical advanced water purification process and shows the many benefits the Program will bring to East County to ensure a sustainable water future,” said Allen Carlisle, East County AWP Joint Powers Authority program administrator and Padre Dam Municipal Water District CEO/general manager. “I encourage everyone to visit the Program website, watch the video, sign-up for our newsletter and review other educational information about the Program.”

The video begins with how water is essential to everyday life from drinking a glass of water to washing our hands and cleaning our food. Viewers learn where their water comes from and how important it is to have a local water supply to guard against drought, protect the environment and economize costs.

Advanced water purification

The East County AWP works by using four advanced water purification steps to produce water that is near-distilled in quality. After treatment, the purified water will be blended with water in Lake Jennings and treated again at the R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant before being distributed as safe drinking water.

“Helix is utilizing its water management, treatment and distribution expertise to play a key role in the final step in this process,” said Carlos Lugo, Helix Water District general manager.

The video reminds viewers that the East County AWP will join other cities around the world, in California and as close as Orange County already using similar technology to create purified drinking water. The East County AWP Program will be one of the first, potable reuse projects in California to use the new reservoir augmentation regulations.

The Padre Dam Municipal Water District and the Helix Water District are among the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that work collaboratively to deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.

Pure Water Oceanside-Potable Reuse-Sustainability Sustainble Building Week

SD Sustainable Building Week Features Water Reuse Projects

Representatives from three potable reuse projects under development in San Diego County will provide project updates during the inaugural “Sustainable Building Week San Diego” at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 13.

Hosted by the San Diego Green Building Council, Sustainable Building Week offers free virtual events from April 12 – 16 addressing sustainable practices and creating collaboration and networks among San Diego professionals involved with environmental stewardship and green building. All events are free and open to the public.

Sustainable Building Week and potable reuse

The San Diego County Water Authority hosts and moderates a panel titled “Potable Reuse: New Local Sources  of High-Quality Drinking Water for  San Diego County.” Potable reuse will provide a new source of safe, high-quality drinking water in San Diego County. Projects will create a local supply that is sustainable, drought-resilient, and benefits the environment. Additional sources of local water supply will also help prepare the region for future droughts and a changing climate.

Financially competitive and environmentally responsible

Helix Water District's R.M Levy Water Treatment Plant

Purified water from the East County Advanced Water Purification Project will undergo additional processing at Helix Water District’s R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant after being be piped into the district’s Lake Jennings reservoir. Photo: Helix Water District

Attendees to the free virtual presentation will hear the latest updates on three San Diego County potable reuse projects currently under development. The presenters will describe how the potable reuse process purifies recycled water; reduces reliance on imported water; and is financially competitive and environmentally responsible.

Panelists include:

Cari Dale, Water Utilities Director, City of Oceanside, has been working towards meeting the Oceanside City Council’s goal of 50% local water supply development by the year 2030, a goal which will be achieved in part by the implementation of Pure Water Oceanside.

John Stufflebean, Assistant Director, Water Utilities Department, City of San Diego, currently the Assistant Director for the Pure Water and Technical Services Branch. Pure Water San Diego is the $5 billion project designed to generate nearly one-half of San Diego’s water demand from purified wastewater.

Kyle Swanson, Director of Advanced Water Purification, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, provides leadership and guidance in the design and implementation of the East County Advanced Water Purification Project.  He has over 20 years of experience in water-related industries and is a licensed distribution and treatment operator and certified public manager.

Moderating the program is Lesley Dobalian, Principal Water Resources Specialist for the San Diego County Water Authority.

Registration to attend the program is free. Attendees can RSVP and receive a link for the presentation on the SDGBC Sustainable Building Week website.