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Vallecitos Water District Recognized for Algae Control

The Vallecitos Water District won an Excellence in Innovation and Resilience Award with environmentally-friendly algae control technology. Known for its sustainable approach to water treatment, the award-winning utility chose to control algal blooms with LG Sonic technology. The award recognizes efforts in the innovative application of technology to the wastewater field and was handed by California Association of Sanitation Agencies.

Vallecitos Water District Valve Maintenance Program Ensures Reliable Service

Just as owners perform routine maintenance to keep their cars running smoothly, water systems need regular maintenance to provide reliable service. The Vallecitos Water District’s Valve Maintenance Program ensures these vital components in its water distribution remain in good working condition throughout the District.

Regular valve maintenance prevents unanticipated shutdowns of water service to Vallecitos Water District customers. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Vallecitos Water District Valve Maintenance Program Ensures Reliable Service

Just as owners perform routine maintenance to keep their cars running smoothly, water systems need regular maintenance to provide reliable service. The Vallecitos Water District’s Valve Maintenance Program ensures these vital components in its water distribution remain in good working condition throughout the District. Valves left without proper maintenance for long periods can become a serious problem, especially in an emergency water shutdown.

VWD’s Construction Department manages the program. Two-person teams use maps to familiarize themselves with the location of the 4,959 valves in the system, not including fire hydrants and fire services. Critical valves serve hospitals and businesses. Between 300 and 500 valves are serviced monthly, following American Water Works Association standards.

Small but vital parts monitored

Construction worker Justin Shutt explains valves are isolation and shutoff point for water mains along streets.

“If we have a main break, where a main ruptures, we need to be able to isolate those certain sections without taking too many people out of water” by shutting the valves, said Shutt.

Valve Maintenance Technician John Truppa runs the valve maintenance program. He trains crew members how to use the valve exerciser machine, read maps properly, and respond to customer calls. Customer service is a priority. When a customer reports a water line leak in their home, the valve maintenance crew helps by shutting off the water at the meter.

The Vallecitos Water District’s geographic information system provides a written record of valve location, condition, maintenance, and inspection records for each valve serviced. Reliable recordkeeping is vital to ensure all valves receive regular maintenance and are replaced before coming to the end of their service life to reduce the percentage of failures and inoperable valves. The District monitors valve life span to replace them prior to failure. Areas prone to water main breaks and valves on mains serving large groups of customers get added attention.

Taking turns

 Between 300 and 500 valves are serviced monthly by two person teams. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Between 300 and 500 valves are serviced monthly by two-person teams. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Valve maintenance involves performing a prescribed number of turns to “exercise” or test the valve. Turns are calculated in part by the size of the main. Larger transmission water mains require more valve turns, both up and down. Turning speed is also important. If valves are closed too quickly, it creates “water hammer,” or sudden pressure forcing water down the line, potentially triggering water main breaks. You may have heard a water hammer in your house when you shut off a household valve suddenly.

Ounce of prevention

The District's geographic information system (GIS) provides a written record of valve location, condition, maintenance, and inspection records for each valve serviced. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

The Vallecitos Water District’s geographic information system provides a written record of valve location, condition, maintenance, and inspection records for each valve serviced. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Regular valve maintenance prevents unanticipated shutdowns of water service to Vallecitos customers.

“We want to take as few people out of water at a time as we possibly can,” said Shutt. “We keep up on the upgrades and make sure the valves are working the way they’re supposed to.”

The proactive approach by the Vallecitos Water District ensures the reliable delivery of quality water to its customers while ensuring all systems are working properly.

Water-deliveries-Hauck Mesa-Storage Reservoir-

New Reservoir to Protect Local Drinking Water Deliveries in North County

A major construction project to improve drinking water supply reliability in North San Diego County will start in February after the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors today approved an $11.4 million contract for the work to Pacific Hydrotech Corporation of Perris, Calif.

The Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir project includes demolition of an abandoned steel tank, building a 2.1 million-gallon storage reservoir connected to the Valley Center Pipeline, and construction of an isolation vault and an underground flow control facility. The project is expected to be completed by winter 2022.

Infrastructure improvements ensure water delivery

Strategic infrastructure improvements by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies are part of the regional effort to ensure continued delivery of water to support the region’s $245 billion economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents. The Water Authority just completed a $30 million series of upgrades on the historic First Aqueduct in North County to ensure these facilities continue to serve the region for many more decades.

“These upgrades are investments in our future,” said Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher. “Ever-changing conditions mean the work is complex and challenging, but continued vigilance helps ensure that we can meet our region’s water needs both today and for decades to come.”

As part of the asset management program, it is critical to actively replace and repair the Water Authority’s assets, which include pipes, valves, facilities, equipment and other infrastructure.

Operational flexibility

The new Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir will provide operational flexibility, enhanced system reliability for the day-to-day operations of the aqueduct system, and help ensure water deliveries can be maintained even if power supplies are interrupted.

The Water Authority will continue to work closely with the Valley Center community, Valley Center Municipal Water District, and nearby homeowners to minimize short-term construction impacts.

For more information on the Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir project, go to www.sdcwa.org/hauck-mesa-storage-reservoir.

New Reservoir to Protect Local Drinking Water Deliveries in North County

January 28, 2021 – A major construction project to improve drinking water supply reliability in North County will start in February after the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors today approved an $11.4 million contract for the work to Pacific Hydrotech Corporation of Perris, Calif.

WaterSmart Contractor Incentive Program Benefits San Elijo HOA

A major landscape makeover is helping a San Diego County neighborhood save money during these uncertain economic times. The WaterSmart Contractor Incentive Program helps qualified landscape contractors as well as large homeowners associations, save money and improve water-use efficiency in large landscapes by retrofitting irrigation devices.

Brian Idekler of O'Connell Landscape Maintenance installs a flow control sensor for the San Elijo HOA. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

WaterSmart Contractor Incentive Program Benefits San Elijo HOA

A major landscape makeover is helping a San Diego County neighborhood save money during these uncertain economic times. The WaterSmart Contractor Incentive Program helps qualified landscape contractors as well as large homeowners associations, save money and improve water-use efficiency in large landscapes by retrofitting irrigation devices.

The Water Authority and the Vallecitos Water District recently worked with the San Elijo Community Association and O’Connell Landscape Maintenance to install water-efficient devices throughout its entire association property. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

The San Diego County Water Authority and the Vallecitos Water District recently worked with the San Elijo Community Association and O’Connell Landscape Maintenance to install water-efficient devices throughout its entire association property. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

The San Diego County Water Authority and the Vallecitos Water District recently worked with the San Elijo Community Association and O’Connell Landscape Maintenance to install water-efficient devices throughout its entire association property, including 2,500 stations and 50 controllers. In addition, rebates allowed O’Connell Landscape to convert spray irrigation and rotor irrigation to drip irrigation, and add flow sensors.

Van Dyke Landscape Architects and its team of certified landscape irrigation auditors assessed the irrigation system in order to make recommendations for the system upgrades. Van Dyke performed initial irrigation audits to determine what types of irrigation upgrades would benefit San Elijo’s terrain and soil types best.

WaterSmart Incentive Program

Recommendations lead to significant improvements

Through its report, the landscape architects recommended areas of opportunity for the San Elijo HOA to save its homeowners money and water long-term. Through the WSCIP, the project earned $24,000 in rebates. The amount of water savings from weather-based controllers can range from 10% to 30% of actual water applied, and another 20% to 40% water savings by changing to a pressure-regulated point source drip system.

O’Connell Landscape Maintenance performed the irrigation work for the San Elijo HOA. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

O’Connell Landscape Maintenance performed the irrigation work for the San Elijo HOA. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

“The smart irrigation controllers help send an alarm when there is a break, and the controller will stop the master valve and stop the leak,” said Fabian Alejo, account manager for O’Connell Landscape Maintenance. “The smart controller makes it easier for us to monitor flow, water usage, and leaks.”

Alejo said that the software that comes with the controller allows crews to get alarms in real time.

“Getting the alarms in real time pinpoints exactly the controller and the station number where we have a high water or no flow reading, allowing us to make repairs immediately where water is being wasted,” said Alejo.

Van Dyke landscape architect Nick Concra managed the rebate process.

“The rebate program is incredible,” said Concra. “HOAs using this program can save a lot of money, and a lot more than they think.”

Participants in the WaterSmart Contractor Incentive program call it “priceless.” Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Yale Hooper, principal landscape architect with Van Dyke, said the teamwork among the participants with the Water Authority and Vallecitos Water District makes the program so successful.

“From our perspective as landscape architects, these programs are priceless,” said Hooper. “If I were a contractor or HOA, these are ‘must do’ programs.”

Vallecitos Water District Helps San Marcos Coffee Farmer Brew Success

San Diego County agriculture is well-known for citrus and avocados. Kyle Rosa is counting on coffee joining this list. Rosa, owner of Bluetail Coffee Grove, started growing coffee on a 2.5-acre farm in San Marcos last year. After 15 years in the finance industry, Rosa and his wife moved from San Francisco to start their new venture. The new farmer quickly turned to the Vallecitos Water District for help establishing smart water use and efficient systems to irrigate his six different specific types of coffee.

San Marcos coffee farmer Kyle Rosa walks through his 2.5 acre property. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Vallecitos Water District Helps San Marcos Coffee Farmer Brew Success

San Diego County agriculture is well-known for citrus and avocados. Kyle Rosa is counting on coffee joining this list.

Rosa, owner of Bluetail Coffee Grove, started growing coffee on a 2.5-acre farm in San Marcos last year. After 15 years in the finance industry, Rosa and his wife moved from San Francisco to start their new venture. The new farmer quickly turned to the Vallecitos Water District for help establishing smart water use and efficient systems to irrigate his six different specific types of coffee.

The Vallecitos Water District offers a free agricultural irrigation audit to ensure its farming customers are using water aligning best with their crop’s specific needs and water-efficiency standards.

“No one has ever done this in the continental United States,” said Rosa. “To be able to be a pioneer and work on something that has never been done and to learn from mistakes is exciting.”

Agriculture audit gauges efficient water use

Coffee farmer Kyle Rosa (left) and Lance Andersen examine irrigation emitters at his San Marcos farm. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Coffee farmer Kyle Rosa (left) and Lance Andersen examine irrigation emitters at his San Marcos farm. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Lance Andersen, agricultural program manager from Mission Resource Conservation District, performed the audit. MRCD provides free agricultural evaluations to farmers and growers through a partnership with Vallecitos and the San Diego County Water Authority. The agricultural audit examined 2,000 of the Bluetail Coffee Groves trees and 4,000 emitters to see how much water is currently used.

Auditors study how evenly water is flowing across the planting area, so growers can make informed decisions on irrigation scheduling and water management. Post-audit, farmers receive a Google image to assist in the best placement for soil moisture sensor stations to monitor irrigation in real time.

“Lance has been able to give us some pointers as he walked through the farm,” said Rosa. “We have some areas of improvement to add swales to retain water when it rains on our slopes and to prevent soil erosion.”

MRCD also provided information about financial assistance available for the installation of the soil moisture sensors.

Vallecitos Water District assisted Rosa in securing an agricultural rate for his irrigation. He worked with Chris Robbins, Vallecitos Water District supervisor of public information/conservation to start the process.

“He could not have made it any easier for me,” said Rosa.

Bluetail Coffee Grove is an organic farm. Rosa’s farm is undergoing the organic certification process, which takes three years.

Coffee farm plans for eco-tourism

Kyle Rosa and Lance Andersen perform a walk through as part of an agricultural irrigation audit. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Kyle Rosa and Lance Andersen perform a walk through as part of an agricultural irrigation audit. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Rosa has ambitious plans to put San Marcos on the coffee map.

“Coffee has a similarity to wine, where the method of creating a cup of coffee is so diverse and so labor-intensive,” explained Rosa. “When you finally get a cup of coffee, everybody has different tastes. Being able to produce those different tastes for a variety of people while having complex notes within our coffee is really what we are striving for.”

Rosa says he hopes his initial business model will work, allowing him to open his farm to eco-tourism.

“The goal is to expand the coffee to have an eco-tourism set up at the farm, where we can roast and try coffee right here and pull the cherries right off the tree and taste the coffee right here for yourself right in beautiful San Marcos, California.”

Before then, Rosa will open a retail store, Breakers Coffee + Wine in the Del Mar Heights area, expected in Spring 2021.

Solar Project Saves Energy, Costs for Vallecitos Water District

The Vallecitos Water District is pursuing greater use of renewable resources, increasing capacity to the electrical grid, and reducing long term operational costs with an innovative solar power project.