Posts

The Most Powerful Renewable Energy

The world’s most relied-upon renewable energy source isn’t wind or sunlight, but water. Last year, the world’s hydropower capacity reached a record 1,308 gigawatts (to put this number in perspective, just one gigawatt is equivalent to the power produced by 1.3 million race horses or 2,000 speeding Corvettes). Utilities throughout the globe rely upon hydropower to generate electricity because it is cheap, easily stored and dispatched, and produced with no fuel combustion, meaning it won’t release carbon dioxide or pollutants the way power plants burning fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas do.

Water Utility Hero of the Week, LaMont Foster, Santa Fe Irrigation District

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. LaMont Foster, Santa Fe Irrigation District Utility Worker I, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Community Outreach Makes Challenging Infrastructure Update a ‘Walk in the Park’

In its efforts to maintain its critical infrastructure, the Vallecitos Water District undertook a challenging update to a wastewater system pipeline constrained by its precarious location.

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Carrie Selby, City of Escondido

This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Carrie Selby, City of Escondido Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Water Utility Hero-City of Escondido-Essential Workers

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Carrie Selby, City of Escondido

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Carrie Selby, City of Escondido Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Carrie Selby

Job/Agency: City of Escondido Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator

How did you become interested in working in the water industry?

I worked security at Lake Skinner for MWD in 2002, and very much wanted to advance my career but was not sure how. Until, I came across a flyer for an operator position. This interested me, so I asked one of the operators who worked there, how to get into the field. He provided me some materials and this immediately peaked my interest. I ended up applying at another agency and was hired as an Operator-In-Training. Eighteen years later, I am still in the field and currently hold a Grade 3 Certification.

How has your job changed during the pandemic?

Although we regularly practiced extremely good hygiene at the plant. We now have taken extra precautions such as, wearing facemasks, and maintaining social distancing. Temperature stations are now our new norm. We have to take our temperature prior to starting our shift.

How are you keeping safe?

I come to work in proper attire and practice extra sanitizing precautions. I always make sure to change out of anything that I wear at work prior to going home.

What are you most looking forward to after the crisis ends?

I am looking forward to getting back to traveling and adventuring out to some hiking trails. Nature is fuel to my soul! I also look forward to spending time with family.

The Water Utility Hero of the Week highlights essential work performed during the COVID-19 pandemic by employees of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies.

San Diego County Water Authority Member Agency Map

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Ron Lutge, City of Oceanside

This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Ron Lutge, City of Oceanside Chief Plant Operator, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

U.S. Rural Water Utilities Ask Congress for Financial Help

The National Rural Water Association, which represents water systems that serve fewer than 10,000 customers, is calling on Congress to extend financial aid to small utilities that are being affected by revenue losses due to the pandemic.

Key Findings: The Guardian’s Water Poverty Investigation in 12 US Cities

Water is essential to life. Yet running water is becoming unaffordable across the US, in cities large and small. Water bills weigh heavily on many Americans as utilities hike up prices to pay for environmental clean-ups, infrastructure upgrades and climate emergency defenses to deal with floods and droughts. Federal funding for America’s ageing water system has plummeted, and as a result a growing number of households are unable to afford to pay their bills; millions of homes are being disconnected or put into foreclosure every year.

City of Oceanside-Ron Lutge-Water Utility Hero of the Week-Essential Workers

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Ron Lutge, City of Oceanside

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Ron Lutge, City of Oceanside Chief Plant Operator, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Ron Lutge

Job/Agency: City of Oceanside Chief Plant Operator

How did you become interested in working in the water industry?

I became interested in the water industry in a round-about way. After leaving the military, I found it difficult to find work that was both mentally stimulating and challenging. I was looking for something that would allow me to work at an operational tempo I was used to. I definitely wasn’t looking for anything easy or slowed paced. At the time I was working at the General Electric aircraft engine overhaul facility in Ontario. Unfortunately, that industry proved to be unstable and did not offer a promising career. While searching for something new, I found Oceanside had a couple of openings for office workers. Since I had some experience working with spreadsheets and databases, I was offered a position in the water department. I figured this would keep me employed while I looked for something different. I soon discovered there were many disciplines within the water industry. I soon began researching career options in the water industry. Inspiration came from the supervisor I was working for at the time. I sat down with him and asked what were the requirements necessary to become an operator. I also received encouragement from the operators I came in contact with on a daily basis. That’s all it took. After that, I hit the ground running and have never looked back. The water profession is honorable, rewarding, and has offered me everything I have been looking for in a career – just like the military – another opportunity to continue being of service to others. And isn’t that what we as water professionals are here for – to be of service?

How has your job changed during the pandemic?

My personal day-to-day routine hasn’t really changed; I’m always busy. However, given the current health crisis we are all in, it has made me keenly aware of just how important it is to ensure our team is being taken care of, staying safe and healthy, and doing everything we can to ensure our facility stays operational to provide water to the residents of Oceanside without interruption. Because we operate our facility 24 hours a day, coupled with having a very small staff, we cannot work from home or implement rotating or staggered shifts. Everyone has to be ready, prepared, and available to work.

How are you keeping safe?

By following the guidance recommended by health officials to limit exposure in public, at work and home: social distancing, face coverings, sanitizing, washing hands, etc. By practicing these simple protocols we keep each other safe and minimize ourselves or others getting sick.

What are you most looking forward to after the crisis ends?

A return to some semblance of normalcy – whatever that may be.

The Water Utility Hero of the Week highlights essential work performed during the COVID-19 pandemic by employees of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies.

San Diego County Water Authority Member Agency Map

Fallbrook PUD Board Members Tour Construction Project

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, public agencies have found creative solutions to holding meetings in compliance with the State of California’s meeting laws. Recently, Fallbrook Public Utility District board members stepped away from their video screens, using the opportunity to take a field trip to view a new project while conducting a traveling board meeting.
The Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project is a joint project with Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, and will eventually supply about 30% of the District’s water, and virtually all of Camp Pendleton’s water.