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Local Contest Opportunities For Sweetwater Authority Customers Highlight Importance of Water

Chula Vista, Calif. – Sweetwater Authority (Authority) is currently offering two contest opportunities for customers. Both the annual High School Photo Contest and WaterSmart Landscape Contest are now open for entries.

“The Governing Board is proud to offer these yearly contest opportunities to customers as a way to celebrate the importance of our most precious resource – water,” said Board Chair Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. “These contests further the Authority’s goal of serving our community through education and outreach.”

Oportunidades de Concursos Locales Para Los Clientes de Sweetwater Authority Destacan La Importancia Del Agua

Chula Vista, Calif. – La agencia de agua Sweetwater Authority (Sweetwater) ofrece a sus clientes la oportunidad de participar en dos concursos. Las inscripciones están abiertas para el concurso fotográfico anual para escuelas secundarias y el concurso de jardines WaterSmart.

“La Mesa Directiva se enorgullece de ofrecer estas oportunidades de concursos anuales a los clientes, como forma de celebrar la importancia de nuestro recurso más preciado: el agua,” declaró la presidenta de la Mesa Directiva Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. “Estos concursos promueven el objetivo de Sweetwater de servir a nuestra comunidad a través de la educación y el alcance comunitario.”

Sweetwater Authority Opens 2022 High School Photo Contest

The Sweetwater Authority calls on high school student photographers to enter its 2022 High School Photo Contest. This year’s contest challenges students to creatively photograph the many ways people use water.

The 2022  theme is “Water In Daily Life.” Water supports our daily lives. It flows into our homes, helping to quench our thirst, cook, clean, grow food, and keep us healthy. Students are encouraged to answer this question with their work: What ways do you interact with water?

High School Photo contest-First Place, Black and White in 2021: Mariah Journigan, Bonita Vista High School, “Shelter In Place.”

Sweetwater Authority Opens 2022 High School Photo Contest

The Sweetwater Authority calls on high school student photographers to enter its 2022 High School Photo Contest. This year’s contest challenges students to creatively photograph the many ways people use water.

The 2022 theme is “Water In Daily Life.” Water supports our daily lives. It flows into our homes, helping to quench our thirst, cook, clean, grow food, and keep us healthy. Students are encouraged to answer this question with their work: What ways do you interact with water?

“The Governing Board is proud to offer this yearly contest as a way to celebrate the importance of our most precious resource – water,” said Sweetwater Authority Board Chair Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. “This contest furthers the Authority’s goal of serving our community through education and outreach.”

2021 Second Place winner, Color: Chula Vista High School sophomore Araceli Romo portrayed her love for watercolor painting in “Watercolor Wonderland.” Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Entrants must be high school students who live in or attend school in the Sweetwater Authority service area. Photos must be taken in 2021 or 2022 within the Sweetwater River Watershed or Sweetwater Authority’s service area boundaries covering National City, Bonita, and western and central Chula Vista.

Photos may be in black and white or color. Entrants can submit up to three photos in each category. Students can edit the photos for minor adjustments only and must retain a natural, realistic appearance.

Judging criteria for the photo competition

The 2021 winner in the Color category was Kayla Rosenberg, a freshman at Hilltop High School. She said her entry “Sunshine Shower” portrayed the family dog’s sense of fun. Photo: Courtesy Sweetwater Authority

In addition, each photo must include a short essay of 50 to 100 words describing how the photo related to the contest theme. Judging will be performed by a panel of Sweetwater Authority staff and community experts. Judging criteria includes creativity, technical quality, adherence to the theme, visual appeal, and the narrative to explain the significance of the photo.

Winners receive cash prizes: $400 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. Fifty students submitted entries in last year’s competition – see the winners here.

Deadline for submission is 5 p.m. Friday, March 18. Submission forms are available at www.sweetwater.org/photocontest. Submissions must be emailed to . Photos must be in JPEG form, 10 MB or less, and 300 PPI resolution, sized to 8×10 inches.

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

Sweetwater Authority Governing Board Approves Next Steps in Chula Vista Bayfront Development

Chula Vista, Calif. – The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board voted and approved capacity fees for the South Bay Gaylord Pacific Hotel and Convention Center at its January 12 meeting. This is a significant step in moving to the next phase of the permitting process and progress in the Chula Vista Bayfront Development project.

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

Winter Weather Perfect Time for WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series

December rainfall and cooler temperatures in San Diego County make it the perfect time of year for homeowners to create low-water-use landscaping to fit their needs. The San Diego County Water Authority offers its first 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series of free online classes starting Wednesday, February 2. The classes provide homeowners site-specific knowledge, skills, and confidence to transform their thirsty turf yard into a beautiful, climate-appropriate, water-efficient space.

Registration for the four-class series closes on Monday, January 17. Register at WaterSmartSD.org. There is no fee to participate, but course participation is limited.

Custom plans and one-on-one professional guidance

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This landscape makeover winner shows how contouring your landscaping can help retain and conserve water. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Water Authority Water Resources Specialist Joni German said the course will give participants a customized roadmap to follow.

“We have different templates and themes to design the garden you want,” said German. “Do you need turf for the kids or pets? A meditation space? Or do you want to screen out undesirable views? With our help, you design the landscape that fits your lifestyle.”

Ideal time for new plants

German said with soils now soft and spongy, it’s the ideal time of year to add new plants and creating a new water-wise landscape.

As part of the course, participants will receive a site visit prior to the class, a preliminary onsite CAD drawing of their property to work with during the class, and one-on-one coaching from landscaping professionals.

Turf rebate programs offer rebates of up to $3 per square foot toward project costs for upgrading existing turf. To date, several hundred homeowners have transformed their landscapes into beautiful, climate-appropriate mini-watersheds which yield benefits including stormwater runoff reduction and lessening green waste in addition to saving water.

Positive participant feedback for free program

Eileen Koonce says she was able to install her own landscaping with the help she received from instructors. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Eileen Koonce says she was able to install her own landscaping with the help she received from course instructors. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

German said the program has evolved through the years in part due to feedback from previous participants, including information about capturing rainwater and cutting back on irrigation.

“People frequently say to us, ‘I can’t believe this program is free!’ Recent participants tell us the time flies, and they go from feeling overwhelmed to confident about their landscape projects,” said German.

Vallecitos Water District Development Services Coordinator Eileen Koonce participated in the course as a new homeowner to reduce her water usage by removing her thirsty front lawn.

Koonce said she enjoyed working with the instructors.

“They bring the language down to the do-it-yourselfers,” said Koonce. “They walk you through every part of it and if you have questions, they can help you out. You feel empowered because you can understand the process.”

Landscaping design and planining

Landscaping designers can expedite your landscape makeover plans. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Koonce tackled most of the design work herself with the help of instructors, who are licensed landscape architects. Instructors helped Koonce pick out the plants and choose an irrigation system.

After participants sign up for the four-class course, a site visit will take place with a local, licensed landscape specialist who will create a professionally-drawn site plan of your specific project area. The plans becomes a personal road map to navigate through the classes. Before the class concludes, homeowners get one-on-one coaching to help select plants and finalize their plan.

Watch the preview video

Homeowners with questions about the course can email or call (858) 598-5085 for information. Space is limited so homeowners are encouraged to apply now at WaterSmartSD.org. 

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

Water Agency Workers Embrace Holiday Giving

The tradition of generous holiday support by the San Diego region’s water and wastewater agencies flourished again in 2021. Employees pitched in to help a wide array of nonprofit community services.

Holiday giving-City of Poway-donations-holiday giving

Water Agency Workers Embrace Holiday Giving

The tradition of generous holiday support by the San Diego region’s water and wastewater agencies flourished again in 2021. Employees pitched in to help a wide array of nonprofit community services.

This year, the Charitable Giving Committee and Employee Association of the San Diego County Water Authority joined forces to support The Arc of San Diego. The Arc of San Diego serves adults and children with disabilities, empowering them to achieve their goals and reach their maximum potential.

The Arc of San Diego put together an Amazon holiday wish list for some of its clients with various items and brief bios on the recipients.

“Our employees eagerly pitched in to play Santa for these deserving families,” said John Kross, chair of the Water Authority’s Charitable Giving Committee. “It was even more meaningful to us when we learned a little about our recipients from Arc of San Diego. It reminded us what these small acts of kindness mean in the lives of our neighbors during the holidays. Our Charitable Giving Committee and Employees Association have a long legacy of philanthropic support, and we are more dedicated to our efforts than ever since the pandemic made life challenging for so many people.”

Bringing joy to kids and families in need

Sweetwater Authority employees collected toys for a familu through the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program. Photo: Sweetwater Authority Workers embrace holiday giving

Sweetwater Authority employees collected toys for a family through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Sweetwater Authority employees have been active participants in the Salvation Army Angel Tree program for nearly two decades, providing toys to children in its service area. Every year, employees take a tag that contains information about the recipient (age, gender, toy request). The employee shops for the item and brings them back unwrapped to the office. The Salvation Army pickups and delivers the donated toys. This year, employees donated enough toys to help make Christmas bright for 20 South County families and kids.

The Helix Water District employee volunteer program, “Helix Helps,” collected toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program at each of its facilities. Photo: Helix Water District Workers embrace Holiday Giving

The Helix Water District employee volunteer program, “Helix Helps,” collected toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program at each of its facilities. Photo: Helix Water District

Each holiday season, the Marine Corps partners with local nonprofits and businesses to collect toys for distribution to less fortunate children throughout the community. The Helix Water District employee volunteer program, “Helix Helps,” collected toys from collection boxes at each of its facilities and donated both in-person and virtually from November 22 through December 16. Under the Helix Helps program, Helix employees, families, and friends volunteer their time to help support the communities the district serves year-round.

The Toys for Tots drive continues virtually. Individuals can shop for toys virtually or donate directly to the Toys for Tots campaign at toysfortotsbox.com

City of Escondido Environmental Programs/Utilities team employees drop off this year's donations Photo: City of Escondido

City of Escondido Environmental Programs/Utilities team employees drop off this year’s donations. Photo: City of Escondido

City of Escondido employees, including the water and wastewater divisions, put together “Souper Sacks,” bags of non-perishable food, and fun surprises distributed through the city’s senior program at the Park Avenue Community Center. This year’s effort brought 292 Souper Sacks. In addition, nearly 300 items included gift cards, toys, blankets, pajamas, and clothing were donated for students and families at the Escondido Union School District by the city’s “PJ Angels.”

(Left to right): Poway employees Alex Limas, Fernando Ramirez, Kathy Clancy, Santa Claus (a seasonal employee), Randy Slusher and Chad Weigel with holiday donations. Photo: City of Poway

(Left to right): Poway employees Alex Limas, Fernando Ramirez, Kathy Clancy, Santa Claus (a seasonal employee), Randy Slusher and Chad Weigel with holiday donations. Photo: City of Poway

The City of Poway’s Water and Wastewater Utilities employees collaborated with the Kiwanis Club “Holiday With A Hero” event to provide more than 100 Poway children with food, blankets, towels, first aid kits, shoes, and toys.

OMWD Engineering Supervisor Steve Weddle and Accountant Tammi Bowman are ready to load up donations from Olivenhain Municipal Water District employees. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

OMWD Engineering Supervisor Steve Weddle and Accountant Tammi Bowman are ready to load up donations from Olivenhain Municipal Water District employees. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Olivenhain Municipal Water District employees are playing Santa Claus for humans and canines alike in 2021. Donations were gathered for a single mom and her four children, two local seniors, and two veterans in its annual Adopt-A-Family effort. Employees also collected a box load of donations for A New Life Rescue, an organization finding homes for abused and neglected dogs in San Diego.

OMWD employees also collected donations in support of the international organization Water For People, a volunteer-based nonprofit working to support disadvantaged communities by providing sustainable, lasting solutions. This winter, OMWD employees raised over $4,669 in donations to help this cause.

(Editor’s note: The Sweetwater Authority, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Helix Water District, City of Poway, and City of Escondido, are five of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Sweetwater Authority Governing Board Welcomes New Leaders

Chula Vista, Calif. – At the December 8 Sweetwater Authority Governing Board meeting, new leadership was appointed for the 2022 term.

The Governing Board appointed Alejandra Sotelo-Solis as Board Chair and Paulina Martinez-Perez as Vice Chair.

“It is an honor to have been elected as chair to help lead this body alongside Vice Chair Paulina Martinez-Perez,” said Chair Sotelo-Solis. “This is the first time in history at Sweetwater Authority that two Latina women are in side-byside executive leadership positions and I’m looking forward to continue working to address our district’s water needs, conservation efforts and helping to address the needs that COVID-19 has posed for our rate payers. We are stronger together.”

Paulina Martinez-Perez

Sweetwater Authority Vice Chair Paulina Martinez-Perez. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Alejandra Sotelo-Solis

Sweetwater Authority Board Chair Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

 

 

Four San Diego County Student Artists Featured in 2022 Calendar

Four talented San Diego County student artists from the region’s schools are among the 37 Southern California students whose artwork will appear in the 2022 “Water Is Life” Student Art Calendar.

Produced by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the “Water is Life” Student Art Calendar showcases student artwork with imaginative water conservation and water resource stewardship messages. Student artists from the Helix Water District, Otay Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District and the Sweetwater Authority are featured in the 2022 calendar.