Olivenhain Municipal Water District Logo landscape design workshops

Olivenhain Municipal Water District Continues to Expand Recycled Water Use 

Seagate Village Homeowner Association in Encinitas Now Irrigating with Recycled Water

Encinitas, Calif. — Olivenhain Municipal Water District began supplying locally produced recycled water to the Seagate Village Homeowner Association in Encinitas today. By converting to recycled water, the HOA will offset imported potable demand by about 9.5 acre-feet annually, or nearly 3.1 million gallons, as well as reduce their expenses due to the reduced cost of recycled water. Each acre-foot is enough water to offset the total water use of more than two average households for a year.

Vista Irrigation District Logo

Vista Irrigation District Announces WaterSmart Landscape Contest Winners

Vista, Calif. — The Vista Irrigation District board of directors recognized customers for their entries in the district’s WaterSmart Landscape Contest.
The annual contest recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on the criteria of overall attractiveness, appropriate plant selection, design, appropriate maintenance, and efficient methods of irrigation.

Robin and Mike Zeigler received the “Best in District” award. It was important to Robin, Mike and their daughter, Kallie, to be water smart with their landscaping choices during a comprehensive landscape and irrigation upgrade. After taking a WaterSmart Landscape workshop last spring, the Zeiglers used their knowledge to transform their monotone front lawn to a colorful bloom filled garden reminiscent of their favorite European gardens.

Water Districts Work Together to Save Ratepayers Money

Encinitas, Calif. — Olivenhain Municipal Water District and Vallecitos Water District have entered into an agreement that will allow for cooperative use of Vallecitos’ Double Peak Reservoir site in San Marcos. The arrangement is expected to save OMWD ratepayers over $100,000.

Helix Water District Logo Square

Regional Collaboration on Water Purification Project Expands Local, Drought-Proof Supply of Drinking Water

The Helix Water District Board of Directors authorized its General Manager to sign water purchase agreements for the East County Advanced Water Purification project at a special meeting on May 27, 2020.

2019 Started and Ended Wet in San Diego; Heat Was Less Persistent

Last year came in and went out like a wet lion in San Diego County. In between, it was a relatively tranquil, although not uneventful weather year.

OPINION: The Future of Water

With the recent heavy rains, our water supply may not be at the top of everyone’s worry list. Even so, last week the San Diego County Water Authority gave an update on the future of water in our region.

The Colorado River Is Overcommitted. Here’s Why – And What We Can Do About It

In the very early years of the 20th century, Western leaders had big dreams for growth, dreams tied to bringing water from the Colorado River across mountains and deserts.

In dividing up the river, they assigned more water to users than the system actually produces. The consequences of the so-called “structural deficit” are being felt today, as states sweat through difficult river diplomacy to prop up water levels in reservoirs.

Vallecitos Water District Senior Construction Systems Worker Steven Klein hosts the latest "Work We Do" video, describing his team working on a valve replacement. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Vallecitos Water District ‘Work We Do’ Videos Connect With Community

The Vallecitos Water District is moving beyond traditional bill mailers and tri-fold brochures to communicate with its customers in a more effective and dynamic way by using video.

Vallecitos Board President Hal Martin conceived the idea to create “Work We Do” videos to help customers see and understand first hand the complex work Vallecitos water professionals perform to ensure reliable water and wastewater services. Viewers see and hear from the workers in the field as they complete tasks such as replacing outdated equipment or using smoke testing to detect sewer leaks and protect the environment.

“I’ve seen the quality of staff videos and I realized it was the perfect way to show our customers exactly what we do,” said Martin of the series and the initiative.

Watching crews in action providing the community with reliable drinking water and wastewater services, protecting the environment, and developing the next generation of water workers, makes customers better informed citizens about the area’s vital infrastructure in a transparent way.

The video series also includes helpful information such as how to read water meters.

Online tools transforming community outreach efforts

Vallecitos Water District maintenance professionals perform a valve replacement project featured in the district's latest Work We Do video. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Vallecitos Water District maintenance professionals perform a valve replacement project featured in the district’s latest Work We Do video. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

“We’re working to change our Public Information Department and keep up with current technology,” said Chris Robbins, Vallecitos public information and conservation supervisor.

Robbins said the goal is to feature each department within the district and focus on topics that lend themselves to visual communication. Videos run three minutes or less to keep the audience engaged.

The latest ‘Work We Do’ video in the series features a recent valve replacement

Finished videos are posted to the district website, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. The videos can also be seen on the City of San Marcos news channel, San Marcos TV. Videos are also shared through water industry news websites such as Water News Network.

Alicia Yerman, a Vallecitos public information representative, shoots and edits the video series. She schedules time to join crews at work when performing a specific task. She also plays talent scout, finding a knowledgeable employee who can describe the work on camera.

Not all staff want to talk, but Yerman is able to coax at least one Vallecitos staff member to be the ‘on camera talent,’ and she also has a knack for bringing out their best. She finds ways to make staff more comfortable being on camera—either by asking questions or placing staff members in comfortable settings.

Yerman and Public Information Representative Lisa Urabe were recently certified as drone pilots. Future videos will feature district work from a bird’s eye point of view.

Visitors learn about technology used to purify and recycle water at a recent Pure Water Oceanside open house. Photo: City of Oceanside

Pure Water Oceanside Project Construction Slated For 2020

The City of Oceanside is joining the City of San Diego and East San Diego County in adding advanced purified water to its drinking water supply. The Pure Water Oceanside project is expected to break ground next spring and begin producing advanced purified water in 2022.

The Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Helix Water District and the City of San Diego, are among the water agencies in San Diego County that are developing or expanding water recycling to increase the local water supply.

Pure Water Oceanside tour participants can try filtering water as part of the tour experience. Photo: City of Oceanside

People can try filtering water as part of Pure Water Oceanside tour activities. Photo: City of Oceanside

The Oceanside project launched in March with a “World of Water” community open house attended by more than 400 people. Building on the interest generated at the event, the city opened its doors for the public, schools and scouts to experience Pure Water Oceanside on October 15. The next community event is scheduled for November 9.

“The incredible interest, success and feedback from the community event demonstrated a true thirst for water knowledge and a strong desire to see, first-hand, water facilities located in the community,” said Cari Dale, water utilities director for the City of Oceanside. “Pure Water Oceanside is an important and smart investment and we find tremendous value in educating the public about the importance of diversifying the city’s water supply.”

Technology used to recycle and purify water on display

Water membranes like the ones that will be used as part of the Pure Water Oceanside project are on display during public tours. Photo: City of Oceanside

Water membranes like the ones that will be used as part of the Pure Water Oceanside project are on display during public tours. Photo: City of Oceanside

The tours offer a behind-the-scenes look of the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation and Mission Basin Groundwater Purification Facilities, where guests can take a hands-on approach and learn about the technology used to recycle and purify water.

Pure Water Oceanside will purify recycled water to create a new local source of high-quality drinking water that is clean, safe, drought-proof and environmentally sound. The project will produce enough water to provide 32% of the city’s water supply, or between 3 and 5 million gallons of water per day.

In addition to tours, Oceanside has developed a comprehensive public education program for the water purification project, including a video, fact sheet, FAQ and community group presentations. To experience Pure Water Oceanside and sign up for an upcoming tour, go to:

READ MORE: Pure Water Day Delivers Pure Family Fun


(L to R) Helix WD employees John Wilson, Eric Hughes, Dan Baker and Bryan Watte, and Padre Dam MWD workers Jesse Knowles and Austin Darley. Photo: Helix Water District Paradise Irrigation District

San Diego Water Pros Aid Paradise Irrigation District Following Camp Fire

Six water professionals from the Helix Water District and Padre Dam Municipal Water District spent one week in August assisting the Paradise Irrigation District with disaster recovery in the wake of the devastating Camp Fire.

The Camp Fire burned through the town of Paradise, California in November 2018. CAL FIRE reported the fire burned 153,336 acres, destroyed 18,804 structures and resulted in 85 civilian fatalities and several firefighter injuries. The Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history, according to CAL FIRE.

Ten months later, Paradise remains hard at work on recovery efforts.

The fire caused significant damage to the Paradise Irrigation District’s infrastructure. As a result, more than 10,500 customers fell under a “Do Not Drink” advisory due to contamination from several harmful volatile organic compounds in distribution pipelines.

Austin Darley and Jesse Knowles hard at work in Paradise, California. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Austin Darley (kneeling) and Jesse Knowles hard at work in Paradise, California. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Padre Dam employees Austin Darley and Jesse Knowles, and Helix employees John Wilson, Dan Baker, Eric Hughes and Bryan Watte, spent a week in Paradise working to help ensure water system safety. While most customers have water service restored, the water quality is being carefully monitored.

“The majority of the work we did revolved around keeping customers in water during a three-day testing period, and reestablishing water service through a plastic jumper after samples had been drawn,” said Darley.

State emergency assistance system activated to provide mutual aid

Helix and Padre Dam are among 14 member agencies and the Water Authority participating in the California Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network, or CalWARN, to support and promote statewide emergency preparedness, disaster response, and mutual assistance processes for public and private water and wastewater utilities.

Damage remaining from the Camp Fire in Paradise, California. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Damage remaining from the Camp Fire in Paradise, California. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

“This program is like an insurance policy that can provide assistance when an emergency becomes larger than our internal resources can deal with,” said Melissa McChesney, Padre Dam Communications Manager. “The situation Paradise Irrigation District finds themselves in is a good example of this. We also have agreements with neighboring water agencies in which we call upon each other for equipment or staffing when needed.”

The agencies identified staff with the skills and experience to help the Paradise Irrigation District. All agreed to volunteer for the mutual aid mission. Padre Dam employees Jesse Knowles and Austin Darley were selected to help.

“Jesse and I feel very blessed to work for an organization that is passionate about helping those in need,” said Darley. “It was an important reminder that recovery efforts continue long after the disaster leaves the news. Paradise is still in need of our thoughts, prayers, and help.”

Recovery effort not over for Paradise Irrigation District

Padre Dam Municipal Water District and Helix Water District crews at work in Paradise, California. Photo: Padre Dam MWD

Padre Dam Municipal Water District and Helix Water District crews at work in Paradise, California. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

“There’s a lot of work up here but the town is healing,” wrote Helix employee Dan Baker while working in Paradise. “I think I speak for all four of us when I say I’m proud to be a part of this.”

Water service for burned lots will be replaced as recovery progresses and new homes are built.

“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to assist our fellow Californians with this recovery effort,” added Darley. “Although we exist 600 miles apart we all have the same goal, to deliver safe and reliable drinking water to our residents and communities.”