Order your discounted rain barrel by March 5th

Order your discounted rain barrel by March 5th

San Diego County residents have until March 5th at 11:00pm to purchase discounted rain barrels online at www.rainbarrelprogram.org/sandiego. The County of San Diego Watershed Protection Program and Solana Center for Environmental Innovation have teamed up to offer the barrels for only $90.

Purchased rain barrels will be ready for pick-up on March 11th, from 9:00am to 1:00pm at the Lakeside River Park Conservancy, at 10354 Channel Road in Lakeside (Directions). Print your purchase confirmation email and bring it with you to pick up your barrel(s).

The county’s webpage at www.rainbarrelprogram.org/sandiego features a video on how to install your rain barrel and a list of the barrel’s features. The 50 gallon rain barrels are made in the U.S.A. using 100 percent recycled materials.  They also have a screen over the water inlet to prevent mosquito breeding. The county requires screening and proper maintenance.

After purchasing your rain barrels, go to SoCalWaterSmart.com and apply online for a $35 rebate on up to two barrels. This will save you about 50 percent off the $129 retail price. Act fast as rebates are on a first come first served basis and only last until funding is exhausted.

Prior to purchasing a rain barrel, residents living in a homeowners association (HOA) should check with their HOA to ensure CC&Rs allow for the use of rain barrels and storage of rain water in their communities.

Explore the San Diego County Watershed Protection Program

Explore Solana Center for Environmental Innovation

Thank you East County!

Thank you East County!

Helix’s Lake Jennings was voted Best Fishing and Best Camping in the East County Californian’s Best of East County Readers Poll 2016.

The weekly newspaper conducts the poll each year with its readers —  71,000 East County residents – and released the results this month. Lake Jennings was voted top fishing and camping destination last year, as well. “I’d like to repeat this every year,” said Kira Haley, Helix’s Lake Recreation Manager.

“We’ve been working hard to improve the whole experience that you have when you come to Lake Jennings,” said Haley. “The East County Californian’s Readers Poll tells me we’re focusing on the right things and making a difference. And it’s nice to be appreciated.”

Lake Jennings was also recognized this month by the East County Chamber of Commerce. The organization recognized Helix with a Business of the Year Award in the entertainment and recreation category for the district’s operation of Lake Jennings.  The chamber recognizes businesses for their accomplishments and for the tremendous and lasting impact they’ve made on our community.

Lake Jennings is known as one of the most scenic parks in all of San Diego County. It is a welcoming recreation destination located in Lakeside, California offering fishing, camping, hiking and picnicking activities.  If you have not visited the lake to experience all it has to offer, grab your fishing pole, tent, a camera and your hiking boots and come visit the lake today!

www.lakejennings.org

facebook.com

The Helix Flume Trail is open for hiking

The Helix Flume Trail is open for hiking

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and Helix Board President Joel Scalzitti cut the ribbon on February 16th, marking the grand opening of the Helix Flume Trail, a public trail that zig zags up the hillside from the old El Monte Pump Station. The county trail features interpretive signs that explain how the trail got its name — it follows the route of the old redwood flume that delivered water at the beginning of the 20th century from Lake Cuyamaca to La Mesa.

Want to hike the trail in under two minutes? Watch the county’s virtual hike video.

Driving directions to this newly opened stretch of the Helix Flume Trail

  • Take I-8 East
  • Take Exit 23, Lake Jennings Park Road
  • Turn left on to Lake Jennings Park Road
  • Turn right at 4-way stop on to El Monte Road
  • Trailhead is .6 miles ahead on the right, at the old El Monte Pump Station

Driving directions to the previously opened stretch of the Helix Flume Trail

  • Take I-8 East
  • Take Exit 23, Lake Jennings Park Road
  • Turn left on to Lake Jennings Park Road
  • Turn right at 4-way stop on to El Monte Road
  • Trailhead is 4.1 miles ahead on the right, at El Monte County Park

Read San Diego County’s Helix Flume Trail Fact Sheet

Can California’s dams adapt?

Can California’s dams adapt?

Photo: the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam last week (source: yahoo.com)

California’s State Water Project collects snowmelt from the Northern Sierra in Lake Oroville and moves the water in aqueducts to Central California farms and Southern California cities. The project’s design is based on two key tenets: that the Sierra snowpack stores up to 30 percent of the state’s water supply through the winter, and that the snow melts just in time to meet the summer water demands of crops and cities. But data tells a different story.

In 1906, the State of California’s Department of Water Resources began measuring how much water flows into the Sacramento River when the Sierra snowpack melts. The first 50 years of data show river flow peaking in April. From the mid-1950s to 2007, however, the Sierra snowpack melted earlier and river flow peaked in March (See Figure 3-20 from the California Water Plan). Warmer temperatures caused the change, and continued warming could melt the snowpack even earlier in the decades ahead (See Figure 3-23 from the California Water Plan).

This is no small change for California’s dam operators, who lower reservoir levels in January, February and March to make room for the runoff caused by winter storms. This is critical to prevent flooding in Northern California. Oroville Dam, for example, captures the precipitation that falls in the 6,000 square mile expanse of the Feather River watershed. Now, and in the decades ahead, dam operators need to capture the melting Sierra snowpack in January, February and March, and manage flood control simultaneously.

Read the Christian Science Monitor Story

Scholarship applications due March 1

Scholarship applications due March 1

Helix’s scholarship application period for high school seniors is coming to a close on March 1. There are just two weeks left to submit an application for the Dr. Lillian M. Childs Scholarship and the Robert D. Friedgen Scholarship, which are offered by Helix Water District each year. Each of the scholarships is worth $1,000.  Click on the link at the end of this article for an application.

To be eligible, seniors must graduate this spring and attend a four-year college or university next fall. Applicants must also live in Helix’s service area, which includes the cities of Lemon Grove, La Mesa and El Cajon, the community of Spring Valley, and unincorporated areas of the county.

Completed applications must by received by Helix Water District by Wednesday, March 1st at 5:00pm. Students can mail their applications to, or drop them off at, our Administration Office at 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa.

Helix Water District Application 2017

2016-17 Scholarships Flyer

Free lead testing available to schools

Free lead testing available to schools

K-12 schools in California can receive free testing for lead under new guidelines announced today by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Under the federal Lead and Copper Rule, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already requires public water systems to test for lead at customers’ taps, targeting the highest risk homes based on the age of their plumbing. There is no lead pipe in Helix’s water distribution system, including water mains and service lines to homes and buildings, and the district is in full compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule.

But the rule does not require testing for schools and businesses. The state water board’s new guidelines ensure schools that want lead testing can receive it for free by requiring community water systems, including Helix Water District, to test school drinking water upon written request by school officials.

Read the State Water Resources Control Board press release

State extends emergency drought regulations

State extends emergency drought regulations

Photo: Stranded car in floodwaters near San Rafael, California (source: abc7news.com)

The State Water Resources Control Board voted Wednesday to extend emergency drought regulations for another 270 days.

“This is an emergency?” asked State Senator Jim Nielsen. “It’s pretty hard to argue to the public, the citizens of California, that we are now in an emergency.”

A growing coalition of legislators and water suppliers that includes Nielsen, Helix Water District and the San Diego County Water Authority has called on the State Water Resources Control Board to end the emergency regulations. The coalition increased its efforts in the weeks leading up to yesterday’s vote, as rain, snow and flooding inundated California.

The coalition recommends managing current drought conditions at the regional level, as moderate and severe drought conditions are now limited to parts of Central and Southern California and extreme drought conditions are limited to areas of Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Explore the Issue
Read the San Diego Union Tribune story on the water board vote
Helix WD Feb 6 2016 Letter to Water Board
SDCWA Feb 3 2017 Letter to Water Board
ACWA Feb 3 2017 Letter to Water Board

High school video entries due April 1

High school video entries due April 1

Create a one to two minute video showing the public “what’s so special about special districts” and you could win the 2017 High School Student Video Contest sponsored by the San Diego Chapter of the California Special Districts Association (CSDA).

The objective of the contest is for high school students to create four public service announcements for CSDA that raise awareness about special districts and the services they provide in San Diego County. The association will award $1,000 to the student and $500 to their school for each of the winning videos.

Go to http://sandiegocsda.weebly.com/ for the contest flyer, rules, judging criteria and contest application. Entries are due by April 1, 2017 and you must attend a high school in San Diego County to enter. Winners are announced in May.

McMillan sworn in as Helix’s division 1 director

McMillan sworn in as Helix’s division 1 director

Photo:
Dan McMillan is officially sworn in as Helix’s division 1 director by board secretary, Sandy Janzen.

Helix Water District’s newly appointed director, Dan McMillan, was officially sworn in before his first board meeting Wednesday evening.

Helix’s board appointed McMillan by a unanimous vote Monday evening after interviewing seven candidates for the division 1 board seat left vacant by Luis Tejeda, who was elected in November but resigned December 30th over a potential conflict of interest. McMillan was the only one of the candidates interviewed who ran for the division 1 seat in November’s election, finishing second to Tejeda.

McMillan represents Helix’s division 1 customers, most of whom live north of the I-8 freeway in El Cajon. The division extends from Fletcher Hills eastward to Bostonia. The appointment is for two years and the seat will be up for election in November 2018.

McMillan is a Marine Corps veteran and brings extensive experience in local government and water to the Helix board, including 12 years on the board of Padre Dam Municipal Water District and six years as Padre Dam’s representative on the board of the San Diego County Water Authority.

Dan’s experience and perspective will be helpful. I am looking forward to working together.

Carlos Lugo
General Manager, Helix Water District