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Water Utility Hero of the Week, Matthew Carriveau, Otay Water District

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Matthew Carriveau, Otay Water District Customer Pump Mechanic I, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Matthew Carriveau

Job/Agency: Otay Water District Pump Mechanic I

How did you become interested in working in the water industry?

When I was in the U.S. Navy I worked on distilling units turning seawater into drinking water. I really enjoyed operating and maintaining that equipment so I was open to a career that involved similar work.

How has your job changed during the pandemic?

My partner and I drive separate vehicles and we wear masks. Our meetings involve Zoom and take place on the computer.

How are you keeping safe?

I wash my hands a lot more and try to stay away from other people as much as possible.

What are you most looking forward to after the crisis ends?

I look forward to travelling around the country. I have had to cancel 3 or 4 trips that I had planned due to COVID-19 restrictions. My wife and I want to go back to Kauai and that will probably be our first destination when travelling becomes safer.

The Water Utility Hero of the Week highlights essential work performed during the COVID-19 pandemic by employees of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies.

San Diego County Water Authority Member Agency Map

2020 Delivers Setbacks For Some Long-Planned Western Water Projects

2020 has been a tough year for some of the Colorado River basin’s long-planned, most controversial water projects.

Proposals to divert water in New Mexico, Nevada and Utah have run up against significant legal, financial and political roadblocks this year. But while environmental groups have cheered the setbacks, it’s still unclear whether these projects have truly hit dead ends or are simply waiting in the wings.

Special Districts Push for Slice of California’s Coronavirus Relief Pie

The prickly issue of financial help for state and local governments — hammered by COVID-related dips in tax revenue — has been like rocks in the dance shoes of Democrats and Republicans as they execute the latest coronavirus-relief minuet.

While Democrats want $436 billion for state and local governments, Republicans refuse to “bail out” what they call “poorly run” and “mismanaged governments,” many of which happen to be in blue states.

Opinion: Desalination Plant in Orange County Will Help Ensure Clean Drinking Water

Although these days no one seems to agree on anything, there is one thing we can all agree on: every Californian should have a right to clean drinking water. But even with that, California is facing an impending water shortage.

House Democrats Ask CDC to Halt Water Shutoffs During the Pandemic

Two Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform asked the federal government’s top public health agency to suspend water service disconnections nationwide as a means of slowing the spread of Covid-19.

To protect public health, Reps. Harley Rouda of California and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan want the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use its authority under the Public Health Service Act to prohibit water utilities from shutting off service to customers who are behind on their bills.

Unpaid Water Bills a “Pending Disaster” the State is Trying to Head Off

If the state has any hope of heading off a looming “tidal wave” of residential water shut offs and bankrupt water systems it has to get a picture of current impacts, advocates urged.

Tom Steyer Calls For Clean Energy Jobs to Help California’s Economic Recovery

Tom Steyer, a one-time Democratic presidential candidate who has spent a portion of his multi-billion dollar fortune supporting environmental causes, thinks the path to California’s economic recovery during the coronavirus pandemic will begin with clean energy jobs. Steyer in April was named co-chair for the state’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery, along with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s chief of staff Ann O’Leary.

The Four Lessons Learned in the Water Sector After the Coronavirus

During the coronavirus crisis, water utilities around the world have undergone a deep transformation to continue guaranteeing water service to the population. For this to be possible, remote control of processes and infrastructures, teleworking or social distancing measures have made digitalization an essential tool to maintain the quality of service. These are the four lessons learned in the water sector after its response to the crisis.

Adapting to the ‘New Normal’ In a Post-COVID Water Sector

Beyond all the health-related impacts of the coronavirus pandemic — masks, social distancing, work from home scheduling, etc. — there have been some ripple effects to the daily operations and related employment conditions for water-treatment personnel. This synopsis of experiences provides perspective and outlines some opportunities and approaches for water-industry professionals to adopt if they have not already done so as part of the post-COVID ‘new normal’.

An Extraordinary Summer of Crises for California’s Farmworkers

Rosa Villegas woke up at two in the morning on a late August Monday to make her way to the lettuce fields in California’s south Salinas Valley, where she was scheduled to start bagging heads of romaine at 4 a.m. The sky overhead wasn’t its usual dark, star-dotted self as she walked to her car. Instead, it glowed a sickly red, colored by the fires burning on the flanks of the Santa Lucia mountains, just a few miles west.