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The youngest top winner of the Sweetwater Authority "Water Is Life" poster contest is Christian Chavez, grade 2, El Toyon Elementary School.

Poster Contest Winners Illustrate ‘Water Is Life’

The Sweetwater Authority 2019 “Water is Life” poster contest is one of many educational opportunities the Authority offers. The annual contest gives kindergarten through sixth grade students the chance to demonstrate how water is a precious and essential resource. By creating water-related art, students enhance their understanding of the importance of water.

The Authority invests in the education of students in its service area to foster knowledge and appreciation for the value of water, and to bring awareness to the vital service the Authority provides to its customers and community.

More than 130 students from 11 different elementary schools participated in this year’s poster contest. Submissions were judged in two categories, grades K-3 and grades 4-6. There were 19 winning posters this year. Students with a winning submission were awarded a gift certificate, an art kit and a congratulatory letter.

Of the 19 winning posters, five were deemed top winners:

Christian Chavez, grade 2, El Toyon Elementary School

Christian Chavez, grade 2, El Toyon Elementary School, National City; National School District

Adrian Haro, grade 4, El Toyon Elementary School

Adrian Haro, grade 4, El Toyon Elementary School, National City; National School District

Analynn Pascual Bermundez, grade 3, Allen Elementary School

Analynn Pascual Bermudez, grade 3, Ella B. Allen Elementary School, Bonita; Chula Vista Elementary School District

Mason Rogers, grade 3, Allen Elementary School

Mason Rogers, grade 3, Ella B. Allen Elementary School, Bonita; Chula Vista Elementary School District

Rencel Chiara Charifa, grade 5, Central Elementary School

Rencel Chiaara Charifa, grade 5, Central Elementary School, National City; National School District

See all of the winning entries in our Poster Gallery below.

Top five winners heading to regional poster contest

The five winning posters have also been entered in the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s regional poster contest. If selected, those posters will be published in MWD’s 2020 art calendar. Regional winners will also be invited to an art exhibit and recognition luncheon at MWD’s office in downtown Los Angeles, with travel sponsored by the Sweetwater Authority.

Sweetwater Authority Approves $46 Million Budget For Next Fiscal Year

The Sweetwater Authority anticipates that it will buy less imported water and supply customers with more from its own water supply in the upcoming fiscal year than in 2018-19, thanks primarily to above-average rainfall. The South Bay water agency estimates that the amount it will spend to purchase water will drop from $15.2 million in 2018-19 to $10 million in the fiscal year that begins in July. The projected decrease is reflected in the $46 million operating budget adopted by the governing board last week. Among notable increases in expenses in the 2019-20 spending plan, the Sweetwater Authority expects an 11 percent increase in employer pension contributions and an 8 percent increase in health insurance costs.

Sweetwater Authority Board approves $77M budget for fiscal year 2019-20

Chula Vista, Calif. – The Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Governing Board approved the budget for fiscal year 2019-20 at its June 2, 2019 meeting. The Board worked closely with Authority staff to produce a balanced budget that minimizes the financial impact to customers. Most notably, the budget reflects a considerable decrease in the purchase of expensive imported water as a result of above average rainfaall and a successful stored water transfer from Loveland Reservoir to Sweetwater Reservoir in February 2019.

Sweetwater Authority Receives National Award for 2018 Securing Our Water Future Public Outreach Campaign

Chula Vista, Calif. – On Monday, June 10, Sweetwater Authority (Authority) received the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Public Communications Achievement Award at the 2019 Annnual Conference & Expo (ACE) held in Denver, Colorado. The prestigious award recognizes excellence and achievement in the field of public affairs among water utilities in North America. The Authority received the award in recognition for its strategic and comprehensive outreach campaign surrounding the 2018 five-year rate study titled “Securing Our Water Future.”

Otay Water District Logo

The Ultimate Water Panel: The Biggest Water Issues Facing San Diego and the South Bay

(Chula Vista, Calif.) – Join the Otay Water District and Sweetwater Authority Board Chairs to learn more about water issues facing San Diego County and more specifically South Bay. The next Albondigas will be held on Friday, May 17 at Mangia Italiano in Chula Vista from 11:45 p.m. to 1 p.m. Topics to be covered at the event include Governor Gavin Newsom’s N-10-19 Executive Order on water supply planning, water recycling for 2019 and beyond, water legislation, and more.

 

Sweetwater Authority Wins Statewide Award For 2018 ‘Securing Our Water Future’ Communications and Outreach Campaign

Chula Vista, Calif. – On Wednesday, April 24, the Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Governing Board was presented with the California Associataion of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) EPIC Award for excellence in public relations and communications. The Authority received the award earlier this month at the CAPIO Annual Conference for its strategic and comprehensive outreach campaign surrounding the 2018 five-year rate study titled “Security Our Water Future.”

Local water agencies are planning to offer rebates or professional help to customers during Fix a Leak Week March 18-24. Photo: Traphitho - Cesar Augusto Ramirez Vallejo/Pixabay CC

Save Water During Fix a Leak Week

Local water agencies are planning to offer rebates or professional help to customers who find and repair water leaks as part of national Fix a Leak Week activities March 18-24.

Fix a Leak Week is a reminder every March to check indoor and outdoor plumbing systems for leaks.

The Water Authority offers tips on how to identify and fix leaks around your home. Check WaterSmartSD.org for tips and for more information about Fix a Leak Week.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that household leaks can waste nearly 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide. Average household leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year – the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry, according to the EPA. Repairing a leaky toilet can save up to 500 gallons of water a day. That’s enough to fill a backyard swimming pool.

Common types of leaks found in the home are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves. By fixing easily corrected household leaks, homeowners can save up to 10 percent on their water bills.

Sweetwater Authority offers rebates

During March, the Sweetwater Authority offers its customers rebates of up to $75 for leak repairs. Residential and business customers in the district may also schedule a free water audit to evaluate the water efficiency of their property.

Fix a leak during Earth Month in Oceanside

The City of Oceanside offers a Fix a Leak Workshop in conjunction with its Earth Month celebration in April.

A free three-hour workshop “Common Leaks and How to Fix Them” is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, April 26, in the Oceanside Civic Center Community Rooms.

A plumbing professional will describe how to identify and fix leaks.

Residents are encouraged to bring their questions. Attendees will receive a home water audit and leak detection kit. Attendance is free, but seating is limited. Email  to reserve a spot.

 

OPINION: Part-time Sweetwater Authority Board Members Don’t Deserve Costly Insurance Perk

Board members with local water agencies — often politicians or politically connected people — don’t always bring a lot of relevant expertise to the job. They generally meet no more than a few times a month, basically to bless staff recommendations. They do not have demanding positions. Against this backdrop, the recent 6-1 vote by members of the Sweetwater Authority board to give themselves access to heavily subsidized health insurance for their dependents is a pathetic and cynical act. The authority, which serves 190,000 people in National City, Bonita and parts of Chula Vista, approved significant rate hikes last year despite public criticism of compensation practices that provide authority workers with average salary and benefits of $176,000.

New Partnership Introduces South Bay Students to Water Industry Career Opportunities

Sweetwater Authority and Otay Water District have forged a new partnership with the Chula Vista Elementary School District to introduce fifth grade students to opportunities and issues in the water and wastewater industry – including compelling career options.

The “Hydro Station” program is designed to address a significant shortage of skilled workers entering these career fields. Water agencies are facing a wave of retirements by Baby Boomer employees and a lack of skilled workers ready to replace them. Professionals surveyed for Water & Wastes Digest’s 2018 State of the Industry Report cited workforce development as one of the most important issues for 2019. Utilities nationwide are developing new ways of reaching students to encourage their participation in the industry.

Locally, more than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sector at the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. The Chula Vista-based Sweetwater Authority, for example, anticipates a staffing crunch on the horizon. In the next five years, 50 percent of the agency’s workforce will be eligible for retirement.

Agencies restructuring educational outreach programs for 2019

(L to R) Sweetwater Authority Directors José F. Cerda, Steve Castaneda, Josie Calderon-Scott; former Director Ron Morrison; Director Dr. Matthew Tessier, Chula Vista Elementary School District Assistant Superintendent, Innovation and Instruction; and Michael Bruder, Resource Teacher, Innovation and Instruction; Director Hector Martinez; former Director Jess Van Deventer, and Director Jose Preciado receive funding at a December 12, 2018 board meeting. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

(L to R) Sweetwater Authority Directors José F. Cerda, Steve Castaneda, Josie Calderon-Scott; former Director Ron Morrison; Director Dr. Matthew Tessier; Chula Vista Elementary School District Assistant Superintendent, Innovation and Instruction; and Michael Bruder, Resource Teacher, Innovation and Instruction; Director Hector Martinez; former Director Jess Van Deventer; and Director Jose Preciado present program funding at a December 12, 2018 board meeting. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

While Sweetwater and Otay have conducted educational outreach programs since the 1990s, both agencies have experienced cutbacks due to budget constraints and navigated changes in science education standards.

Valuing the importance of education and working with local students, the two agencies are restructuring their educational outreach programs and focusing on partnerships with schools and community groups to reinvent and modernize the programs. The program design fits in with recent recommendations from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program on renewing the water workforce and creating a broader pool of prospective workers.

“We are super excited about our partnership with the Chula Vista Elementary School District and Otay Water District in service to children and their families in our service area,” said Sweetwater Authority General Manager Tish Berge. “This program is the first of its kind in our region, and we look forward to making an impact by educating our youth about the wide variety of careers that we have to offer in the water industry.”

Program launches in Spring 2019 with 5,000 fifth grade students

Otay Water District Board members hear a presentation by representatives of the Chula Vista Elementary School District on the new “HydroStation” education partnership. Photo: Otay Water District

The initial “Hydro Station” pilot program will launch in Spring 2019 with approximately 5,000 fifth grade students from the Chula Vista Elementary School District participating in the program annually.

Students will have three dedicated days focused on career opportunities in Information and Communication Technologies, Clean Energy, and the Blue Economy. Students will learn how their strengths, interests, and values may align with career options, and hands-on activities will help them make connections to specific careers.

The new Hydro Station is at the Sweetwater Authority’s Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility – an ideal location to educate students on how their strengths, interests, and values can connect with careers in the water industry while presenting opportunities to solve real-world problems through the Engineering Design Process. It will also serve to educate children and their families, as well as the community, on the thoughtful use of water resources.

The program is funded in part by a grant from the Hans and Margaret Doe Charitable Trust. Funds from the trust cover production and distribution costs of educational materials, including field trip journals students will use during their experience at the Hydro Station.

 

 

Newly Elected and Re-Elected Sweetwater Authority Board Members Sworn in for Four Year Terms; New Chair and Vice Chair Appointed

At the December 12, Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Governing Board meeting, Steve Casteneda and Hector Martinez were sworn into their four-year terms as Directors. At the same meeting, the Authority;s Governing Board appointed Casteneda as Board Chair and Jose Preciado as Vice Chair for 2019-2020 term.