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Vermiculture and vermicomposting using earthworms to help you turn kitchen scraps into compost has multiple environmental benefits including the prevention of stormwater runoff. Photo: Sippakorn Yamkasikorn/PixabayCC

Worms Boost WaterSmart Landscaping

One of the most valuable tools for managing water retention and avoiding stormwater runoff while improving your landscaping soil harnesses the power of worms – earthworks, to be specific.

Vermiculture and vermicomposting are eco-friendly tools using earthworms to transform organic waste into nutrient-rich compost. This process benefits gardeners and the environment.

In the San Diego region, spring’s mild weather is an ideal time to start vermicomposting. Moderate temperatures facilitate optimal worm activity and compost processing. During the hotter summer months, compost bins must be kept in cooler, shaded areas to prevent overheating and ensure worm survival.

Vallecitos Water District 2023 Landscape Contest winner Dean Williams of Carlsbad is a big believer in vermiculture and vermicomposting. In this video, he shows how easy it is to learn how to put worms to work in your landscaping.

Understanding Vermiculture and Vermicomposting

Vermiculture refers to the cultivation of earthworms. The normal activity of earthworms breaks down organic waste. The result is vermicompost, also known as worm castings, a highly nutritious form of compost.

Vermicomposting is the practice of using earthworms to convert organic wastes into high-quality compost and worm castings. This method is an efficient, odorless, and space-saving way to recycle kitchen scraps, keeping them out of landfills where they contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

How Using Worms Works

Adding common kitchen food waste to your vermicomposting system keeps it out of our landfills where it produces greenhouse gases. Photo: Sarah Chai/Pexels

Adding common kitchen food waste to your vermicomposting system keeps it out of our landfills where it produces greenhouse gases. Photo: Sarah Chai/Pexels

As the video shows, setting up a vermicomposting bin is simple and can be done indoors or outdoors. The bin is stocked with material such as shredded newspaper, cardboard, or coconut coir and stocked with earthworms. When organic waste is added, such as food scraps, weeds, or plant trimmings, the worms digest this material and convert it into compost.

Recommended types of worms for vermicomposting are red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) and red earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus). Both thrive in compost bins and are efficient at processing waste.

Vermicomposting’s Environmental Benefits

Nutrient-rich compost produced by vermiculture helps soil retain rainwater in your garden, preventing it from picking up pollutants and washing them into stormdrains. Photo: Pixabay/CC

Nutrient-rich compost produced by vermiculture helps soil retain rainwater in your garden, preventing it from picking up pollutants and washing them into storm drains. Photo: Pixabay/CC

Vermicomposting helps protect the watershed and preserves soil in several ways.

  • Safe, Nutrient-Rich Soil Amendment: Vermicompost improves soil structure and enhances nutrient availability. It can reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.
  • Water Conservation: By improving soil structure and water retention, vermicompost helps conserve water.
  • Stormwater Runoff: Healthy, vermicompost-amended soils absorb water more efficiently. It lessens the amount of runoff washing pollutants into watersheds.
  • Waste Reduction: Vermicomposting diverts organic waste from landfills, helping avoid the production and release of greenhouse gases.

San Diego County Vermiculture Resources

Residents looking for more information and resources can visit the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation website. The Center also holds classes in vermiculture. Check the schedule for available classes.

The County of San Diego also offers information on vermiculture, and offers a compost bin discount program.

Smart Water Management

As vermicompost increases the ground’s capacity to absorb rainwater, it lessens the burden on stormwater management systems. With less water flowing into stormwater drainage systems, vermiculture helps diminish flood risks.

Vermiculture and vermicomposting offer a holistic approach to environmental stewardship for San Diego residents. It’s an easy, practical way for individuals to help preserve resources, enhance soil health, and support sustainable gardening. Vermiculture and vermicomposting offer simple tools to confront the challenges of climate change, including risks to our region’s long-term water supply.

Board members Mark Gracyk and Joel Scalzitti, Board Vice President Don McMillan, Lily Martinez, and Board President Kathleen Coates Hedberg. Scholarship programs throughout San Diego County and California for 2024 are now open. Photo: Helix Water District 2024 scholarhip applications

2024 Scholarship Applications Open for Aspiring Water Professionals 

Water agencies across San Diego County and California water associations offer multiple college scholarship opportunities in 2024 to help candidates secure their education as water and wastewater professionals.

The acceleration of industry retirements, as well as the increasing need for a skilled workforce trained to implement new technologies, result in an increased effort to develop more skilled individuals for water and wastewater industry jobs, including in San Diego County. For more information, visit sandiegowaterworks.org.

Scholarships are available for community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and graduate-level programs. The following examples are due in the coming weeks for study in the 2023-2024 academic school year.

San Diego regional water scholarships

 Helix Water District will recognize two outstanding graduating high school seniors living within the district’s service area with $1,000 scholarships for university studies next fall.

The Robert D. Friedgen Scholarship and $1,000 Dr. Lillian M. Childs Scholarship honor two past leaders of Helix Water District. Friedgen retired in 1998 after 19 years as the district’s general manager and Childs retired in 1999 after 20 years on the board of directors.

Applicants must graduate in spring 2024 and attend a four-year college or university starting in fall 2024. Students submit a two-page essay exploring potable reuse and the East County Advanced Water Purification project. The scholarship committee reviews each applicant’s grades, extracurricular activities, volunteer and work experience, academic and career goals, and financial need.

Deadline: 5 p.m. on March 15, 2024. Learn more about eligibility and find the online application here.

Vista Irrigation District scholarship winners (left to right): Monica Lozada, Naia Riggenbach, Sarai Rojas, Samantha Harris, Colin Gastauer. (Not pictured: Riley Robbins) Photo: Vista Irrigation District. 2024 scholarship

Vista Irrigation District scholarship winners for 2023 (left to right): Monica Lozada, Naia Riggenbach, Sarai Rojas, Samantha Harris, Colin Gastauer. (Not pictured: Riley Robbins). 2024 scholarship applications are now open. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

Vista Irrigation District invites local high school seniors to compete for up to six scholarships from the District in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $3,000. The purpose of the scholarship program is to increase knowledge and awareness of how water-related issues influence our daily activities.

Students who compete for a scholarship must complete an essay and provide a one-page personal statement related to their background and/or goals. Selection criteria also include community involvement or volunteer service, and letters of recommendation from high school faculty.

Applications must be received via email or at the district’s office by 4 p.m. on Friday February 23, 2024. Eligible students must live or go to school within the Vista Irrigation District service area. Find the application link here.

Contact Brent Reyes at (760) 597-3107 ">or email Reyes with questions or to request application information.

Scholarships were issued to local students by the Vallecitos Water District to help them continue their higher education. (L to R): Board Vice President Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson, scholarship winners Phlavia Oyrem, Caitlyn Hansen, and Julianna Stipica-Kelecic, Board President Jim Hernandez, scholarship winners Daniel Baza, Evan Fox, and Board Member Erik A. Groset. Not pictured: Board Members Craig Elitharp and Jim Pennock, scholarship winner Brook Sannella. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Scholarships were issued to local students by the Vallecitos Water District in 2023 to help them continue their higher education. (L to R): Board Vice President Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson, scholarship winners Phlavia Oyrem, Caitlyn Hansen, and Julianna Stipica-Kelecic, Board President Jim Hernandez, scholarship winners Daniel Baza, Evan Fox, and Board Member Erik A. Groset. Not pictured: Board Members Craig Elitharp and Jim Pennock, scholarship winner Brook Sannella. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Vallecitos Water District invites local high school seniors and students at Palomar College and California State University San Marcos to compete for scholarships from the district. Up to six scholarships may be awarded in amounts up to $1,000 per scholarship. The purpose of the scholarship program is to encourage students to learn more about water-related issues impacting their community.

Eligible students must live or go to school within the Vallecitos Water District’s service area. Students must complete an essay and provide a personal statement related to their background and/or goals. Selection criteria also include community involvement or volunteer service, a financial needs worksheet, and letters of recommendation from faculty or an associate.

">Email Chris Robbins for application materials. Applications for the 2024 scholarship must be emailed or delivered to the District office by the deadline*.  Note: The 2024 scholarship deadline has not yet been announced.

The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board awarded the 2022 Work for Water Scholarship to two local students: David Inchaurregui Jr. of Chula Vista and Kassandra Beltran of National City. Photos: Sweetwater Authority 2024 scholarship applications

The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board awarded the Work for Water Scholarship to two local students: David Inchaurregui Jr. of Chula Vista and Kassandra Beltran of National City. Photos: Sweetwater Authority

Sweetwater Authority’s “Work for Water” scholarships are now open for applications.

Two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to new or currently enrolled students at the Center for Water Studies at Cuyamaca College or another accredited college, community college, or trade school with a career goal in the water industry.

The application deadline has not been determined. For questions regarding the scholarship, application, or uploading documentation, email or call Alessandra Angelone, Senior Public Affairs Representative, at (619) 409-6721.

The Mark Watton Scholarship Fund through the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges supports students attending the Center for Water Studies at Cuyamaca College. It honors former Otay Water District General Manager Mark Watton’s four decades of service to the district.

Applicants must be currently enrolled for at least six units at Cuyamaca College, verify financial need, and complete the general application and essay. Scholarships of $1,000 are available. Application dates are March 25 to May 4, 2024.

Students should ">contact scholarship specialist Shirley Hughes with questions.

In addition, National University partners with the San Diego County Water Authority to offer a 25% tuition reduction scholarship to employees and employees of all member water agencies. The San Diego County Water Authority Tuition Reduction Scholarship benefits working adults who want to reach specific educational goals but find it challenging to fit classes into their busy life. The tuition-reduction scholarship can be applied to most associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs. Click for more information.

Professional association scholarships

Statewide scholarships are available through several organizations. 2024 scholarship applications

Statewide scholarships are available through several organizations.

The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) offers four undergraduate 2024 scholarships, one graduation 2024 scholarship and a fellowship opportunity to qualified applicants attending a University of California or California State University campus. Students must be juniors or seniors pursuing an undergraduate degree in a water-resources related field such as engineering, agriculture, environmental studies, or public administration. Criteria include scholastic achievement and motivation to the vocation of water-resources management.

ACWA began its scholarship programs in 1961 to motivate committed students to join the effort to ensure California’s water quality through sound management policies. The scholarship program is all about investing in future water leaders.

Deadline: March 1, 2024. Application Link. Questions? Call 916-441-4545 or email .

The California-Nevada section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) awards more than $20,000 in scholarships in support of students and professionals pursuing careers in a drinking water-related field. Two $5,000 graduate scholarships, four $2,500 undergraduate scholarships, and two $1,000 scholarships in support of training as a drinking water treatment/distribution operator are available.

Environmental and civil engineers; water, wastewater, and recycling treatment plant operators; distribution system operators; chemists; laboratory technicians; biologists, ecologists, and environmental scientists; and others whose roles support safe and reliable drinking water are all suitable 2024 scholarship candidates.

Deadline: March 15, 2024. Application Link. For information, call 909-481-7200 or email 

The Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) Canham Graduate Studies 2024 scholarship provides $25,000 for a graduate student in the water environment field. The scholarship is for education-related expenses such as room and board, tuition, and books. The scholarship may not be used to cover stipends or wages.

The applicant must be a WEF member, complete an online application, and be enrolled in a graduate program. Recipients must commit to working in the water industry for two years following graduation.

Deadline: March 31, 2024. Apply online here. For questions, email

 

Vallecitos Water District Board of Directors (left to right): President Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson, District 5; Vice President Jim Pennock, District 1: Director Erik A. Groset, Division 4; Director Jim Hernandez, Division 2; Director Craig Elitharp, Division 3. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Boyd-Hodgson Named 2024 Vallecitos Board President

The Vallecitos Water District Board of Directors selected its leadership for 2024 at its December board meeting.

2024 President Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson, District 5. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson

Dr. Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson was selected to serve as president. Boyd-Hodgson represents Division 5 which includes San Elijo Hills, Discovery Lake, and part of Lake San Marcos. She is a neuroscientist by training and mother of four.

Boyd-Hodgson’s priorities include water equity, water education, diversifying water supply, and providing clean, reliable water at the lowest possible rate. In 2023, she chaired the Personnel/Policy/Public Awareness Committee and served on the Finance Committee.

During her tenure on the Board, Boyd-Hodgson has been instrumental in establishing the Vallecitos Water District internship program with Palomar College, the scholarship program for area youth, and codifying single-use plastics reduction at the district.

 

Pennock Will Serve as Vice President

2024 Vice President Jim Pennock, District 1. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Jim Pennock

Jim Pennock was selected as Vice President. Pennock was first elected to the Vallecitos Water District board in 2020. A resident of San Marcos since 1995, Pennock’s involvement in the community includes having served on the Budget Review Committee, Student and Neighbor Relations Commission, and Planning Commission.

Pennock has also coached youth sports in San Marcos for the past 26 years. Pennock currently works in the insurance industry, and has owned his own insurance agency for the last 26 years.

Boyd-Hodgson and Pennock are joined by three directors on the 2024 board. They are Director Jim Hernandez, Division 2; Director Craig Elitharp, Division 3; and Director Erik A. Groset, Division 4.

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

Wastewater Collection System Worker II Jesse Halbig explain how the crew put a remote camera into the sewer system to inspect the condition of the sewer pipes. Photo: Vallecitos Water District Water Academy

Vallecitos WD Water Academy Draws A Crowd

Vallecitos Water District (VWD) customers got a first-hand look at what it takes to operate their water and wastewater systems at a Water Academy Tour hosted on November 2. Forty-six customers participated in the day-long program.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Supervisor Matt Wiese explains how staff monitor functions at the Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility. Photo: Vallecitos Water District Water Academy

Wastewater Treatment Plant Supervisor Matt Wiese explains how staff monitor functions at the Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

After being welcomed by VWD General Manager Glenn Pruim and Assistant General Manager James Gumpel with an overview of the District, certified water and wastewater specialists took Water Academy participants through tours of the Sustainable Demonstration Garden and its water meters, its equipment and water operations control room, the Twin Oaks Reservoirs and the Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility.

Other tour highlights include demonstrations of specialized equipment used by the District’s water professionals, and a visit to the Water Operations Department’s computerized control room to see how the District ensures that the drinking water is safe.

At the Sustainable Demonstration Garden, participants learned about conservation techniques for their landscaping.

At all stops, customers had the opportunity to have their questions answered by staff and District board members, including at a group lunch.

Reservoir, Reclamation Facility Tours A Highlight

Water Systems Operator II Toby Luna demonstrates how water is tested. Photo: Vallecitos Water District Water Academy

Water Systems Operator II Toby Luna demonstrates how water is tested. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Participants boarded a chartered bus for a first-hand look at the District’s 33-million-gallon and 40-million-gallon capacity Twin Oaks Reservoirs, currently said to be the largest of their kind in the world. The grand finale of the tour is a visit to the District’s Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility in Carlsbad, capable of recycling up to 74% of the wastewater generated in its service area. At this facility, participants learned how microorganisms help clean the water and see how recent plant upgrades to increase capacity benefit the community by lowering the overall demand for water.

“It’s a privilege for our team of certified water and wastewater specialists to provide Vallecitos Water District customers a first-hand look at what it takes to operate the Vallecitos Water District and provide reliable, exceptional, and sustainable water and wastewater service to the more than 100,000 residents in our service area,” said Chris Robbins, VWD Public Information/Conservation Supervisor.

 

 

 

EPA WaterSense-Excellence Award-QWEL-water conservation

Water Authority Wins National 2023 EPA WaterSense Excellence Award

The U.S. EPA recognized the San Diego County Water Authority with a 2023 WaterSense Excellence Award for advancing water efficiency through its Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper program, better known as QWEL. The Water Authority received one of 25 Excellence Awards on October 5 at the national WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas.

This is the fourth EPA WaterSense award won by the Water Authority. The 2023 award is for Excellence in Promotion and Outreach of the QWEL program. Since the early 1990s, the Water Authority has offered an array of programs and incentives to promote water-use efficiency, and the suite of offerings continues to evolve as needs and conditions change.

“Over the past three decades, the Water Authority has been dedicated to helping the San Diego region save water every day, in every way,” said Mel Katz, chair of the Water Authority Board of Directors. “Water-efficient landscaper trainings in English and Spanish are among the most impactful strategies to help our community thrive in a changing climate. We thank EPA WaterSense for its partnership and guidance as we advance water-saving practices that sustain San Diego County’s beautiful landscapes.”

Flo-EPA WaterSense-QWEL-Water Conservation-Spokesgallon

Flo, the EPA WaterSense “spokesgallon” poses with the award received by the San Diego County Water Authority

The Water Authority has offered the QWEL certification program free of charge to people who live and work in the Water Authority’s service area since 2015. In 2022, almost 300 new participants were certified through the program and half of the QWEL-certified individuals attended webinars to renew their certifications. After conducting more than 25 in-person and online exams, there4 were nearly 460 certified participants for the year.

To reach San Diego’s Spanish-speaking residents, the Water Authority recruited and trained bilingual instructors and offered virtual training in Spanish, attended by more than 40 new participants.

EPA WaterSense-QWEL program-water efficiency-Water Authority

San Diego County Water Authority Principal Water Resource Specialist Lisa Prus (L) Water Resources Specialist Debby Dunn (center) and Wenda Alvarez, with WSA Marketing, accepting the 2023 EPA WaterSense Excellence Award October 5, in Las Vegas.

In 2023, the Water Authority transitioned from QWEL to a new program to achieve similar goals, in partnership with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Through the California Landscape Contractors Association, MWD offers one-of-a-kind certification and education opportunities for landscape professionals in Southern California. The program combines the CLCA Water Management Certification Program with the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper program to offer the landscape industry an opportunity to obtain two nationally recognized EPA WaterSense Professional Certifications with one course and one written test. New courses will be offered in the San Diego region starting December 2023.

WaterSense Excellence Award winners include member agencies

The EPA also recognized two Water Authority member agencies for for their support of WaterSense and water efficiency in 2022, including the San Dieguito Water District and the Vallecitos Water District. Collectively, the Excellence Award winners contributed to annual savings nationwide of 1.1 trillion gallons of water.

WaterSense, a voluntary partnership program sponsored by EPA, is both a label for water-efficient products, programs, and homes and a resource for helping consumers learn ways to save water. More than 2,100 manufacturers, builders, retailers, utilities, government, and nonprofit organizations partner with WaterSense to promote water-efficient products, homes, and programs.

“With extreme weather affecting water supplies and quality, saving this precious resource is more important than ever,” said Veronica Blette, Chief, WaterSense Branch. “The 2023 award winners helped Americans look to WaterSense and save not just water, but the energy required to heat and treat it, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy use.”

Since 2006, over 40,000 certified water-efficient plumbing and irrigation products have helped consumers and businesses nationwide save 7.5 trillion gallons of water; the amount of energy needed to pump, treat, and heat water by 880 billion kilowatt hours; and $171 billion in water and energy bills. These savings also helped prevent 337 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to planting 5.6 billion trees.

(Editor’s note: For more information about WaterSense, visit www.epa.gov/watersense. For rebates, classes, and water-saving tips go to: sdcwa.org/your-water/conservation/.)

Vallecitos Videos Win National EPA WaterSense Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored the Vallecitos Water District with a WaterSense Partner of the Year Award for its video series promoting WaterSense and water efficiency in 2022. Vallecitos was one of nine Partner of the Year Award winners across the U.S.

WaterSense is a voluntary partnership program sponsored by the EPA. It identifies and labels water-efficient products, programs, and homes to help consumers learn ways to save water. More than 2,100 manufacturers, builders, retailers, utilities, government, and nonprofit organizations partner with WaterSense to promote water-efficient products, homes, and programs.

Vallecitos produced twelve videos released monthly in 2022, based on the EPA’s monthly feature topics. Each video focused on educating consumers about creating a WaterSense home. Among the topics covered by the 12 videos in the series are bathroom water consumption, efficient energy use, and one of the favorites, the “Shower With Power” video released in September 2022.

The video series produced by the Vallecitos Water District public affairs team was distributed by the U.S. EPA WaterSense program to help educate the public about water conservation nationwide. The videos can be downloaded for free on the EPA WaterSense partner platform.

Vallecitos began using video in 2019 to document the district’s workforce and infrastructure improvements on its social media platforms and has also engaged the public with discussions of critically important water management issues. It has won multiple awards for its work.

“We rely on video as a powerful communication tool at the Vallecitos Water District,” said Chris Robbins, Vallecitos Water District Public Information/Conservation Supervisor. “It’s how people like to consume information today,”  “We invest a great deal of effort to make sure each video is an effective resource. This award from the EPA affirms we’re taking the right approach.”

Vallecitos Water District Videos Win National EPA WaterSense Award

The video series produced by the Vallecitos Water District public affairs team was distributed by the U.S. EPA WaterSense program to help educate the public about water conservation nationwide. The videos can be downloaded for free on the EPA WaterSense partner platform.

EPA WaterSense-Vallecitos Water District-Videos

Vallecitos Videos Win National EPA WaterSense Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has honored the Vallecitos Water District with a WaterSense Partner of the Year Award for its video series promoting WaterSense and water efficiency in 2022. Vallecitos was one of nine Partner of the Year Award winners across the U.S. Awards were presented at the American Water Works Association Water Smart Innovations event in Las Vegas on October 5.

The Vallecitos Water District was one of nine Partner of the Year Award winners across the U.S. Awards were presented at the American Water Works Association Water Smart Innovations event in Las Vegas on October 5, 2023. Photo: Vallecitos Water District WaterSense Awards

The Vallecitos Water District was one of nine Partner of the Year Award winners across the U.S. Awards were presented at the American Water Works Association Water Smart Innovations event in Las Vegas on October 5. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

WaterSense is a voluntary partnership program sponsored by the EPA. It identifies and labels water-efficient products, programs, and homes to help consumers learn ways to save water. More than 2,100 manufacturers, builders, retailers, utilities, government, and nonprofit organizations partner with WaterSense to promote water-efficient products, homes, and programs.

Vallecitos produced twelve videos released monthly in 2022, based on the EPA’s monthly feature topics. Each video focused on educating consumers about creating a WaterSense home. Among the topics covered by the 12 videos in the series are bathroom water consumption, efficient energy use, and one of the favorites, the “Shower With Power” video released in September 2022.

The video series produced by the Vallecitos Water District public affairs team was distributed by the U.S. EPA WaterSense program to help educate the public about water conservation nationwide. The videos can be downloaded for free on the EPA WaterSense partner platform.

Consumers turn to video for water education

The Vallecitos Water District has embraced video as an important communication tool with its customers. Photo: Vallecitos Water DIstrict

The Vallecitos Water District has embraced video as an important communication tool with its customers. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Vallecitos began using video in 2019 to document the district’s workforce and infrastructure improvements on its social media platforms and has also engaged the public with discussions of critically important water management issues. It has won multiple awards for its work.

“We rely on video as a powerful communication tool at the Vallecitos Water District,” said Chris Robbins, Vallecitos Water District Public Information/Conservation Supervisor. “It’s how people like to consume information today,”  “We invest a great deal of effort to make sure each video is an effective resource. This award from the EPA affirms we’re taking the right approach.”

Vallecitos Public Information Representative Alicia Yerman collaborated with Beth Livingston and Veronica Blette of the EPA on the productions including scripting, storyboards, and visual elements. Vallecitos also offers live video of its board meetings and other public discussions on its YouTube channel.

San Dieguito Water District recognized as Excellence Winner

The EPA also recognized 25 Excellence Award winners for their support of WaterSense and water efficiency in 2022, including the San Dieguito Water District and the San Diego County Water Authority. Collectively, the Excellence Award winners contributed to annual savings nationwide of 1.1 trillion gallons of water.

WaterSense and its more than 2,000 utility, manufacturer, retail, builder, and other organizational partners make it possible for consumers and businesses to save water, energy, and money by producing and promoting water-efficient products, homes, and programs. Since 2006, WaterSense partners have helped save 7.5 trillion gallons of water and $171 billion on consumer utility bills.

WaterSense encourages everyday water efficiency

Each video focused on educating consumers about creating a WaterSense home. “Shower With Power” is one of the favorites, released in September 2022. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Each video focused on educating consumers about creating a WaterSense home. “Shower With Power” is one of the favorites, released in September 2022. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

WaterSense is a program sponsored by the EPA, designed to encourage water efficiency in the U.S. through the use of a special label on consumer products. The goal of the program is to protect the future of the nation’s water supply by encouraging a nationwide ethic of water efficiency to conserve water resources for future generations and reduce infrastructure costs.

The WaterSense label makes it simple to find water-efficient products, new homes, and programs meeting the EPA’s criteria for efficiency and performance. WaterSense-labeled products and services are certified to use at least 20% less water, save energy, and perform as well as or better than regular models.

(Editor’s note: The Vallecitos Water District and the San Dieguito Water District are two of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Water News Network Best Public Service Website for Sixth Year at San Diego Press Club Awards

For the sixth consecutive year, the San Diego County Water Authority’s Water News Network website was recognized as the Best Public Service/Consumer Advocacy Website. The Water News Network was awarded for its public outreach and education at the San Diego Press Club’s 50th annual Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Gayle Falkenthal (L) and Lisa Urabe display the San Diego County Water Authority and Vallecitos Water District's multiple San DIego Press Club Journalism Awards. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority Press Club Awards

Water News Network Best Public Service Website for Sixth Year at San Diego Press Club Awards

For the sixth consecutive year, the San Diego County Water Authority’s Water News Network website was recognized as the Best Public Service/Consumer Advocacy Website. The Water News Network was awarded for its public outreach and education at the San Diego Press Club’s 50th annual Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Among the largest annual competitions in the United States, San Diego’s finest reporters, photographers, writers, artists, and communicators were honored with the region’s top awards.

The Water News Network was awarded first place as the Best Public Service or Consumer Advocacy Website. The WNN has won the award every year since the website launched in mid-2018.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria congratulated winners at the San Diego Press Club Journalism Awards. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority Press Club Awards

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria congratulated winners at the San Diego Press Club Journalism Awards. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

The award for best public service website is one of five awards the WNN received during a ceremony October 3 at Balboa Park. At the event, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria recognized the contributions of the San Diego journalism community and the San Diego Press Club over its 50-year history.

Awards for reporting and video production

Water Authority Senior Public Affairs Representative Ed Joyce and former public affairs department intern Noah Harrel received second place for original reporting in the Online and Daily Newspapers: Military category for  “Marine Corps Veteran Shawntrel McCoy Finds Perfect Fit in the SkillBridge Program.”

Writer Gayle Falkenthal received third place in the Online and Daily Newspapers: Public Service/Consumer Advocacy category for Special Water Rates Program Reduces Costs for San Diego County Growers.”

The WNN team took home a third-place award in the PR, PIO, and Trade Publications Video category, for its Landscape Optimization Program video series.

Water Authority and Vallecitos Water District team honored

A joint entry from the Water Authority and the Vallecitos Water District public affairs team of Chris Robbins, Lisa Urabe, and Alicia Yerman won First Place in the Television/Online Video, Community Service/Public Affairs Reporting category for its Landscape Optimization Program video series, published in the Water News Network and on the Vallecitos Water District YouTube channel.

WNN water news

In its sixth year of operation, the Water News Network is viewed as a reliable source of factual information upholding the standards of journalism to benefit the Water Authority, its 24 member agencies, its stakeholders, and the residents of San Diego County.

The San Diego Press Club honors the region’s best communicators in media each year at the Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Water News Network 2023 San Diego Press Club awards:

Websites, Public Service or Consumer Advocacy Site: First Place, Water News Network

Online/Daily Newspapers, Military: Second Place, Marine Corps Veteran Shawntrel McCoy Finds Perfect Fit in the SkillBridge Program, Ed Joyce and Noah Harrel

Online/Daily Newspapers, Public Service/Consumer Advocacy: Third Place, Special Water Rates Program Reduces Costs for San Diego County Growers, Gayle Falkenthal

PR, PIO, and Trade Publications, Video: Third Place, Landscape Optimization Program Video Series, Water News Network Team

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