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An artist's rendering of the new Padre Dam Visitor Center at the East County Water Purification Treatment Center. Graphic: Gourtesy Padre Dam Municipal Water District water repurification water reliability

East County Advanced Water Purification Project on Track for 2025

The East County Advanced Water Purification Project is moving forward toward its anticipated completion date after the Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors approved the required environmental report.

“The approval of the environmental report for this project brings us another step closer to producing a local water supply for East County and improving the reliability of the water service for our community,” said Allen Carlisle, Padre Dam CEO/General Manager. “We are on track for the project to begin providing water to the East San Diego communities by 2025.”

The East County Advanced Water Purification Project is a collaborative partnership between the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Helix Water District, County of San Diego and City of El Cajon. The partnership’s purpose is bringing a new, local, sustainable and drought-proof water supply to the East County, using state-of-the-art technology.

Advanced technology improves water reliability for East County

The project will recycle East San Diego County’s wastewater locally, and then purify the recycled water at an advanced water treatment facility using four advanced water purification steps. The purified water will then be pumped into Lake Jennings, treated again at the Helix Levy Treatment Plant and then distributed into the drinking water supply.

The water recycling project will help diversify East County’s drinking water supply, reducing the region’s dependence on imported water. It also helps the region in achieving long-term compliance with the Clean Water Act (CWA), the primary federal law in the U.S. helping to restore and maintain the integrity of the nation’s waters by addressing pollution and improving wastewater treatment. It is one of the United States’ first and most influential modern environmental laws.

Upon its completion, the East County Advanced Water Purification Project will produce up to 12,900 acre-feet per year, or 11.5 million gallons per day of new local drinking water supply.

“This project is forward-thinking, innovative and promises to give East County greater water independence and reliability,” said San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents the East County region. “It will give us more local control over our most precious resource — and that’s great news for residents and businesses.”

Padre Dam offers tours of the East County Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Project. To schedule a tour or for more information on the East County Advanced Water Purification Program, visit www.EastCountyAWP.com.

View looking north of the First Aqueduct right of way in Valley Center. Photo: Water Authority

Historic Pipeline Project Boosts Long-Term Water Reliability

San Diego County Water Authority crews successfully completed the first of three coordinated shutdowns of the First Aqueduct in early March to launch a major renovation of dozens of structures on two pipelines, including the historic Pipeline 1 that first delivered imported water to the region in 1947.

The series of shutdowns was carefully planned for nearly four years to minimize impacts on the community and retail water agencies during retrofits of Pipelines 1 and 2, which comprise the First Aqueduct.

“The First Aqueduct has been a very reliable source of imported water for more than 70 years,” said Chris Castaing, operations and maintenance manager at the Water Authority. “These critical upgrades will make sure we can operate and maintain the pipelines for another several decades to transport water to the region for future generations.”

Started during the Water Authority’s 75th anniversary year, the $30 million First Aqueduct structure and lining renovation project is among the most complicated pipeline retrofits in agency history.

During the next two years, upgrades include replacing the lining on the steel pipe sections; removing 19 associated structures; and retrofitting 41 structures – all without jeopardizing water service to the region.

Project will enhance reliability and flexibility of regional water system

Crews complete work on and seal the top of a bifurcation structure. Photo: Water Authority

Crews complete work on and seal the top of a bifurcation structure. Photo: Water Authority

Pipeline structures that will be rehabilitated include valves, blowoffs, pump wells and access ways.

Approximately 4 miles of failing pipeline lining on the steel pipe sections will be carefully removed and replaced with new cement mortar lining. Cement mortar is the preferred material, because it protects the interior of the steel pipe from corrosion and premature failure, has a longer life, and is easier to maintain. The project also will add redundant connections to six flow control facilities between the two pipelines, greatly improving the aqueduct’s operational flexibility.

During the first shutdown between February 24 and March 5, crews isolated sections of the pipeline and took them out of service so work can be safely performed on those sections throughout the year. In late 2019, a second 10-day shutdown will allow crews to switch flows to the upgraded sections of pipe and isolate other sections for repairs.

In addition to completing the First Aqueduct structure and lining renovation project, the Water Authority also will perform assessments of 27 miles of the pipeline to determine if additional upgrades will be needed.

Historic Pipeline Project Boosts Long-Term Water Reliability

San Diego County Water Authority crews successfully completed the first of three coordinated shutdowns of the First Aqueduct in early March to launch a major renovation of dozens of structures on two pipelines, including the historic Pipeline 1 that first delivered imported water to the region in 1947. The series of shutdowns was carefully planned for nearly four years to minimize impacts on the community and retail water agencies during retrofits of Pipelines 1 and 2, which comprise the First Aqueduct.

L to R: Water Authority Deputy General Manager Sandra Kerl, Poseidon Water CEO Carlos Riva, and former Senator Barbara Boxer share a toast at Thursday's third anniversary event at the Carlsbad desalination plant. Photo: Water Authority

Carlsbad Desalination Plant Celebrates 40 Billion Gallons Served

San Diego County marked a significant milestone in regional water supply reliability Thursday at the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant – the delivery of 40 billion gallons of drinking water during its first three years of commercial operations.

This is enough water to fill 800 million bathtubs, or 1,820 Bellagio Las Vegas fountains.

The plant, which launched its commercial operations in December 2015, provides San Diego County with 50 million gallons of locally-controlled, climate-resilient and high-quality water a day, helping to minimize the region’s vulnerability to droughts.

The Carlsbad Desalination Plant has delivered 40 billion gallons of fresh, clean drinking water during its three years of operation. Photo: Water Authority

The Carlsbad Desalination Plant has delivered 40 billion gallons of fresh, clean drinking water during its three years of operation. Photo: Water Authority

Former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a long-time champion for water reliability projects like the Carlsbad facility, spoke at the third anniversary event on Dec. 13.

“This facility has helped protect public health and safety and the economy during the worst recorded drought in California history,” according to Boxer’s prepared remarks. “Here in California, we need to have a multifaceted water plan that includes conservation, recycling, recharging underground aquifers, and catching water as it falls.

“The Carlsbad Desalination Plant is a model for how desalination should be done in California, and more facilities modeled after Carlsbad are certainly going to be needed,” said Boxer. Boxer said in arid regions like Southern California where most of the population lives along the coast, seawater desalination is the only way to ensure residents’ water needs are met under extreme conditions brought on by climate change.

Most advanced and efficient desalination plant worldwide

The Carlsbad desalination facility is the largest, most technologically advanced and energy-efficient desalination plant in the nation. It was made possible through an innovative public-private partnership between Poseidon Water and the San Diego County Water Authority. The plant enhances water supply reliability in the San Diego region by meeting nearly 10 percent of the region’s water demand – or about a quarter of all the water generated in the county.

“We’re just thrilled,” said Sandra Kerl, deputy general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority. “It’s hard to believe it’s been three years and that we’re on the 40 billionth gallon. To have been a part of a project that provides a service that all of us can’t live without is really quite gratifying.”

Desalination is a cornerstone of the Water Authority’s strategies. Regardless of weather conditions, the Carlsbad plant produces a core supply of water day-in and day-out.

Visitors tour the Carlsbad desalination plant during Thursday's anniversary event. Photo: Water Authority

Visitors tour the Carlsbad desalination plant during Thursday’s anniversary event. Photo: Water Authority

Since the plant opened, it has also proved to be an educational and inspiring tool for water innovation across the country and throughout the world. Tour groups visit the plant monthly to learn about the plant’s operation and the partnership between Poseidon Water and the Water Authority.

At the Dec. 13 event, participants toasted the success of the plan with glasses filled with fresh, desalinated water from the plant. “A toast to Pacific on Tap and continued water reliability in San Diego County thanks to desalinated water!” said Carlos Riva, CEO of Poseidon Water.

For more information, go to the project website, carlsbaddesal.com, or the Water Authority’s website, sdcwa.org.

READ MORE:

CBS 8: Carlsbad desalination plant celebrates 40 billionth gallon of water

Fox 5 San Diego: County desalination plant celebrates 40 billion gallons of drinking water

KGTV 10 News: Carlsbad desalination plant celebrates milestone

NBC 7 San Diego: Carlsbad Desalination Plant Purifies 40 Billionth Gallon of Ocean Water

Times of San Diego: County Desalination Plant Celebrates 40 Billionth Gallon of Water

A new emergency generator kept water servicie running during recent wildfires in the Fallbrook PUD service area. Photo: Fallbrook PUD emergency preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Pays Off for Fallbrook PUD

When residents in De Luz were forced to evacuate about 100 homes during the Rock Fire in July, an emergency generator installed by the Fallbrook Public Utility District proved its value by providing water to help firefighters extinguish the blaze.

The generator was installed about a year ago at the Donnil Pump Station at a cost of about $140,000. Since then, several fires have sparked in the hilly backcountry community north of Fallbrook.

The quick-burning Rock Fire broke out mid-afternoon on July 28 near Sandia Creek and Rock Mountain just south of the Riverside County line. The blaze grew quickly to 74 acres within two hours. Nearby residents were advised to evacuate, affecting about 100 homes.

San Diego Gas & Electric shut off the power for safety to 530 residents in the area at 4:12 p.m., according to information on the SDG&E outage website. The outage cut power to the pump station. FPUD kept water running thanks to the new generator, which is among several recent district projects and upgrades designed to maintain water service during emergencies.

The fire grew to 225 acres, but by 7:30 p.m. the forward spread was stopped. Power was restored gradually through the night, and the evacuation order was lifted the next morning.

Important community safeguard now in place

“Now, we can cover nearly all of the De Luz area during a power outage,” said FPUD General Manager Jack Bebee. “Fire has the potential to quickly spread, so this is a very important safeguard to have in place.”

The Donnil Pump Station conveys water from the San Diego County Water Authority’s aqueduct to the high-pressure zone in De Luz. The station was built before FPUD merged with De Luz Heights Municipal Water District in 1990, and it serves as the principal pump station in that area.

The pump station was upgraded as part of the district’s capital improvement plan. Without an emergency generator, water supply to the area could be cut off during a power outage. If that occurs during a wildfire, it could reduce flows for firefighters when they need it most to protect the community.

 

 

Water reliability is vital to the region’s core industries including craft brewing. Photo: Water Authority Outreach program

Airport Ads Remind Travelers San Diego Is Brought To You By Water

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Brought to You by Water outreach and education program made its debut on advertising monitors at Lindbergh Field the day before Thanksgiving – just in time for the busy holiday travel season.

Through the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s community promotion program, the ads are expected to remain in the rotation indefinitely, reminding travelers about the importance of water reliability to the region’s quality of life. The electronic display ads are visible in multiple spots throughout baggage claim areas in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

Ads underscore important message about importance of water reliability

Water reliability is vital to the region’s core industries including craft brewing. Photo: Water Authority

The partnership between the Airport Authority and the Water Authority helps educate the region’s residents and visitors on the impact of something many take for granted – a safe and reliable water supply that sustains the region’s $220 billion economy and the quality of life of 3.3 million people.

The Water Authority is focusing on four core industries during the first phase of its Brought to You by Water program – manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and craft brewing. The initial airport ads highlight the craft beer industry, which has a $1.1 billion regional economic impact annually, and the tourism industry, which attracts 35 million visitors a year to the region.

Overall, access to reliable water supplies support $482 million per day in regional sales – the equivalent of nearly three Comic-Cons per day, according to a June report by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.

In addition to the airport ads, the Brought to You by Water program has included the creation of the Water News Network, the inaugural Water Innovation and Efficiency Award, a partnership with the hotel-motel industry to promote water-use efficiency by guests, participation in numerous community outreach events, and many other efforts designed to enhance appreciation for the region’s most precious natural resource.

For more information about Brought to You by Water, go to B2UbyH2O.org.

 

 

North County Water Symposium Highlights Efforts To Ensure Reliability

The 2018 North County Water Symposium on Wednesday highlighted efforts by the San Diego County Water Authority to ensure regional water reliability for a crowd of about 100 North County business and industry leaders. Keynote speaker Jim Madaffer, the Water Authority’s newly elected board Chair, reviewed the Water Authority’s historic achievements in water supply diversification. He also discussed continued regional development of water recycling capacity and investments in technology to maintain billions of dollars worth of water infrastructure.

Water Authority Board Chair Jim Madaffer provided the keynote address at the 2018 North County Water Symposium. Photo: Water Authority

North County Water Symposium Highlights Efforts to Ensure Reliability

Escondido — The 2018 North County Water Symposium on Wednesday highlighted efforts by the San Diego County Water Authority to ensure regional water reliability for a crowd of about 100 North County business and industry leaders.

Keynote speaker Jim Madaffer, the Water Authority’s newly elected board Chair, reviewed the Water Authority’s historic achievements in water supply diversification. He also discussed continued regional development of water recycling capacity and investments in technology to maintain billions of dollars worth of water infrastructure.

“As the Water Authority approaches our 75th year,” said Madaffer, “we are doing everything we can …  to make sure that we have a resilient water supply for the region.”

The symposium was organized by the San Diego North Economic Development Council. It featured a panel discussion on water supply and reliability for San Diego North County, with a focus on agriculture and housing. Panelists were Greg Thomas, general manager of Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District; Cari Dale, water utilities director for the City of Oceanside; Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau; and Michael McSweeney, senior public policy advisor for the San Diego Building Industry Association.

Larson highlighted efforts by farmers to increase water-use efficiency and advance recycled water use to support their multi-billion dollar industry. McSweeney said the building industry improves water efficiency when it replaces decades-old homes with new homes that use less water and less energy thanks to modern technologies.

Larson and Thomas say their respective industries share a similar challenge. Larson said fewer young adults today choose farming careers. Thomas expressed the same concerns about the water industry. “There is so much emphasis among high school students on going to college, we aren’t training enough water technology employees” to replace a “silver tsunami” of retiring Baby Boomers, he said.

Madaffer and the panelists agreed that continued dialogue and coordinated efforts among the North County region’s leaders across all economic sectors can drive economic growth while ensuring water efficiency and reliability.

NOAA's three month weather outlook predicting the amount of rainfall across the U.S. Map: NOAA.gov

Water Supplies Sufficient for 2019 Demands Despite Hot, Dry Weather

At the start of the 2019 water year, the combination of diversified water supplies and water-use efficiency means the San Diego region has enough water for 2019 and the foreseeable future despite historically low rainfall over the past 12 months.

“It has been very hot and dry, but we have invested wisely in infrastructure and regional water-use remains well below where it was at the start of the last drought,” said Jeff Stephenson, a principal water resources specialist with the Water Authority. “In fact, potable water use over the past three-plus years was 17 percent below 2013, which shows that San Diego continues to live WaterSmart.”

Still, said Stephenson, “we are looking for a wet winter locally, and in the Sierra and Rocky Mountains, to help replenish reserves for future years.”

Water managers use “water years” that run from October 1 through September 30 to track rain and snow. Local rainfall during water year 2018 totaled just over 3 inches at Lindbergh Field – 67 percent below normal and the second-lowest in San Diego history dating back to 1850.

In addition, local temperatures have been significantly above normal for most of the past five years. In many of those months, the average daily maximum temperatures were more than 4 degrees above long-term averages.

Forecasts predict continued warm weather conditions through December

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts continued warm conditions for California through December, with a 33 percent probability of above-normal precipitation locally. The U.S. Drought Monitor’s classification of San Diego County as an area of “Severe Drought” is based on weather factors – but it does not reflect water supply conditions.

More than $3.5 billion in regional water investments by San Diego County ratepayers over the past three decades mean water supplies will meet demands regardless of the weather.

New supplies and infrastructure upgrades include the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, which delivers approximately 50 million gallons of potable water per day for regional use, along with a ramp-up of water delivered to San Diego County as part of a long-term water conservation and transfer deal signed in 2003.

Other regional assets include the storage of 100,000 acre-feet of water behind the raised San Vicente Dam due to conservation efforts during the last drought. In addition, many key reservoirs statewide, including Diamond Valley Lake in Riverside County, remain near average levels for this time of year. Significantly, no shortages are expected on the Colorado River system in 2019, though long-term drought conditions continue to be a concern across the Southwestern U.S.

The Water Authority offers several programs, including a Landscape Transformation program rebate, to promote water-use efficiency. Residents and business can also attend free sustainable landscaping classes, and access online videos and tips. To learn more about those resources and others, go to WaterSmartSD.org.

Water Deal Provides Less Costly, More Reliable Supplies

A historic achievement for San Diego County passed mostly under the radar this summer when the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors approved wholesale rates for 2019. The rate increases were among the lowest in 15 years — but that’s just part of the story. The critical long-term accomplishment highlighted by the rate-setting process was that the Water Authority’s independent water supplies from the Colorado River are now both less expensive and more reliable than supplies from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. That’s a goal the region’s water officials started working towards two decades ago, and one that will bear fruit for decades to come.