Our 2020 Water Quality Report is Available

Our 2020 Water Quality Report is Available

Helix Water District’s tap water met all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and State of California health standards for drinking water in 2019. The district’s 2020 Water Quality Report documents the quality of our treated water throughout calendar year 2019 and is now available at hwd.fyi/wqr2020-english and hwd.fyi/wqr2020-espanol.

The annual Water Quality Report, also known as the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), contains important information about the sources and quality of the drinking water we provide to the cities of La Mesa, Lemon Grove and El Cajon, the Spring Valley community, and areas of Lakeside and the county.

If you have questions regarding the report, call 619-667-6248 or email wqr@helixwater.org. To have a paper copy of the report mailed to your home, call 619-466-0585.

Helix announces 2020 Landscape Contest winner

Helix announces 2020 Landscape Contest winner

​Helix Water District named Tim and Brianna Montgomery of La Mesa as the winner of its 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest, an annual competition that recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on overall attractiveness, design, efficient irrigation and appropriate plant selection and maintenance.

Compared to the Montgomery’s previous lawn, this blooming and colorful English inspired landscape uses much less water than a lawn of a similar size. This thriving landscape creates privacy from the road as well as compliments the couple’s cottage style home. Over the two-month billing period ending this May, this home used only 13 units of water, which is almost 40 percent less than the average water use of other Helix customers.  One unit is 748 gallons.

The Montgomerys purchased the home in 2014 and were not happy with the water use of the existing lawn. In addition, the low-lying grass offered little privacy from the road since their home’s front window faces two streets. After they tried to reduce the lawn’s water use, they did not like the lawn’s dried hay appearance during the warm months. Another issue was that the front yard sloped towards the house, which caused moisture to form in the home’s basement during rains.

With a landscape to renovate and a drainage issue to fix, the couple started researching water efficient landscapes. In 2017, they toured numerous gardens in East County with the California Native Plant Society’s native garden tours. The garden tours allowed the couple to see which landscapes they liked and didn’t like. Eventually, Tim and Brianna hired a landscape designer in fall 2018. The landscape designer worked with the couple to select plants that would not require too much maintenance while still matching the charm and character of their 1950s cottage style home. In addition to the plant pallet, the landscape designer created a hardscape layout, irrigation design and planting plan.

“Our landscape designer gave us the design to meet our needs and created a plan so that we could do most of the work ourselves,” said Brianna Montgomery. “We only had to hire a contractor to do hardscape work and install the new water efficient irrigation system. We did all of the other work ourselves, including grading the front, amending our soil with fresh compost, purchasing and installing the new plants, and adding mulch according to the design.”

Although just over one year old, the landscape boasts a filled-in appearance and a wide variety of vibrant and colorful plants. To offer privacy, create shade and add the element of height, the landscape has a fruitless olive tree and a bright desert willow. The low water use daisies display lovely whites and yellows that add to the lushness of this landscape. There is a charming variety of greens from the yard’s shrubs and groundcover that provide contrast with the home’s red brick, including soft blue-greens from the lavender; clumping fescue grasses and Mexican bush sage; emeralds from the rosemary; green-yellows of the rockrose; and splashes of purple, yellow, white, reds and pinks among the landscape’s many flowers.

Plants receive water from an efficient irrigation system, which includes micro sprays, drip irrigation and a smart, weather-based irrigation controller. The landscape diverts and captures rainwater from the front roof and diverts the water to the back yard through a series of French drains. The new rainwater diversion prevents moisture from forming in the home’s basement. It also provides additional water for the plants in the home’s backyard.

The new landscape is now more welcoming to the couple and neighbors who pass by. Additionally, the landscape also attracts birds, bees, pollinators, ladybugs, lizards and other wildlife that now call this landscape home. “We couldn’t have asked for a better landscape,” said Montgomery. “Our landscape fits the energy of our home and ourselves, and we loved being a part of the transformation every step of the way.”

Helix invited Brianna and Tim Montgomery to Helix Water District’s virtual board meeting on Wednesday, June 17, at 4 p.m. to recognize their work.  Following the meeting, Helix sent the Mongomerys their awards —a gift card totaling $250, an award certificate and a WaterSmart contest winner’s sign to display in the yard.

Photos of the Montgomery’s yard will appear in the winner’s section at landscapecontest.com, along with Helix’s past winners and those of other participating local water agencies, and on the district’s website at hwd.com.

The landscape contest typically runs from January through April each year; however, due to this year’s pandemic, the participating water agencies extended the contest one month. Visit Helix’s website at hwd.com, Facebook.com/HelixWater or Twitter at @HelixWater for more information.

Helix Water District treats and delivers water to over 276,000 people in La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove and parts of Spring Valley, Lakeside and unincorporated San Diego County.

Inspire others and share your yard in the landscape contest

Inspire others and share your yard in the landscape contest

Photo: 2019 Landscape Contest Winner Matt & Lauren Kirkpatrick

Helix is accepting entries through Friday, May 29, for the 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest.

In its 16th year, the contest seeks to recognize Helix Water District customers for their beautiful, colorful and water-efficient landscapes. Entries are judged for overall attractiveness, design, plant selection, efficient irrigation and appropriate maintenance. Residents who share their water-efficient landscape could win a $250 grand prize to the nursery of their choice.

To enter in this year’s contest, simply take a few photos of your water-efficient landscaping, share why you installed your landscaping, the types of plants you have and some of the benefits you see from your landscape. We would love to hear your story!

We understand that this spring is far from normal. The 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest is a great non-virtual opportunity to be outside. So get out in your yard, apply for the contest and inspire others.

For more information, visit the contest website: landscapecontest.com or contact us at 619-667-6226.

Receive a rebate on smart irrigation controllers

Receive a rebate on smart irrigation controllers

Before turning your irrigation controller back on after the rain, consider upgrading to a smart, weather-based irrigation controller – also known as a “WBIC”. You can purchase these devices online and receive a rebate for your purchase.

Conventional irrigation controllers use the same weekly schedule to water your plants, regardless of the weather. WBIC’s automatically adjust your watering schedule based on local weather conditions using your home’s Wi-Fi or real-time sensor data. They can help reduce your outdoor water use by as much as 15 percent.

WBIC’s are perfect for saving water during unpredictable gloomy weather or keeping your plants healthy during hot, dry spells – both of which are common in the Spring and early Summer months.

The best news is that your rebate may cover the full purchase price of your WBIC.

Currently, Helix customers with properties under 1 acre may receive up to a $200 rebate on a qualifying WBIC. Most eligible controllers cost between $150 and $230.

For properties larger than 1 acre, Helix customers may receive a rebate of  up to $35 per station. For example, a property with a 16-station controller would be eligible for a $560 rebate (16 stations at $35 each) for a qualifying WBIC. Most 16-station controllers cost between $200 – $600.

Installation and programming are easy. Many of the newer devices are even easier to operate than your current controller.

Take control of your irrigation this spring and upgrade to a smart, weather based irrigation controller. View eligibility and apply at socalwatersmart.com.

Helix hosting virtual food drive for COVID-19

Helix hosting virtual food drive for COVID-19

Helix Water District’s employee volunteer program, Helix Helps, is hosting a virtual food drive in partnership with the San Diego Food Bank to help feed vulnerable families and seniors impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Making sure that everyone is fed and has access to food is a top priority for communities during the pandemic. Not only are Helix employees working to ensure that district customers have access to safe and reliable water throughout this crisis, they are also looking for more personal ways to help.

Helix Helps volunteers have historically completed in-person service projects like community cleanups and tree planting. By hosting and donating to a virtual food drive, we can assist those in our community while still practicing social distancing and helping everyone stay healthy.

We invite you to join us in this community effort. Donating is easy – simply visit hwd.fyi/food, slide food items across the checkout and pay securely with a credit or debit card. The virtual food drive runs through June 30, 2020.

The Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank distributes food at more than 200 locations countywide, ensuring those in need have access to food during this difficult time. They can provide five meals for every single dollar donated. Many water agencies throughout the county are contributing to the San Diego Food Bank’s efforts.

Thank you for your generous support of the community in this time of need!

4 reasons why now, more than ever, is the time to enter Helix’s WaterSmart Landscape Contest

4 reasons why now, more than ever, is the time to enter Helix’s WaterSmart Landscape Contest

Photo: Helix’s 2018 contest winner Carey Hultgren and Paul Geldbach

Right now, there are wonderful spring blooms in yards throughout the county. Residents who are looking for a healthy activity should consider sprucing up their yard and entering the 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The contest recognizes Helix Water District customers for their beautiful, colorful and water-efficient landscapes. The contest winner will be awarded a $250 grand prize to the nursery of their choice.

Here are four reasons why you should enter in the next few weeks:

1. It’s the perfect social distancing activity

Most of us can’t stay cooped up inside all day. Getting outside and tending to your yard is the perfect way to escape the indoors. The fresh air, fragrant flowers and plants to tend make gardening the perfect outdoor activity.

2. Spring blooms make for better photos  

As we speak, plants are showing off their bright and colorful spring blooms. These new flowers will really bring out your landscape and increase your chances of winning the contest. Judging criteria includes overall attractiveness, design, efficient use of irrigation methods, plant selection and maintenance. Go ahead – get your camera out, be proud and show off your yard to share with others.

Photo:  Helix’s 2016 contest winner, Marie Venable

3. Entering the contest is easier than ever

We re-designed the contest website so that you can enter the landscape contest without leaving your home. You can even enter the contest using your phone or mobile device. Simply take photos of your water-wise landscaping, share a brief story with us about why you installed your WaterSmart landscape and then upload your story and pictures to landscapecontest.com.

Photo: Helix’s 2019 contest winner, Matt and Lauren Kirkpatrick

4. We extended the contest entry deadline to Friday, May 29

We understand that this spring is far from normal. That is why we chose to extend the deadline to enter. This gives you the time you need to spruce up your yard, maintain your plants and take some great photos of your landscape.

The 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest is looking for a winner and this year might be your year. So go on, make the most of your time at home, get outside, and inspire others.

For more information, visit the contest website:  landscapecontest.com or contact us at 619-667-6226.

 

Enter the contest

Helix Freezes Rates for 2020 in Response to Coronavirus

Helix Freezes Rates for 2020 in Response to Coronavirus

Helix Water District’s Board of Directors voted at its April 1, 2020, meeting to freeze water rates through the end of the calendar year in an effort to support customers facing financial challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our customers’ lives and incomes have been impacted by the coronavirus,” said Helix Water District Board President Mark Gracyk. “Although we don’t know how long the pandemic or its financial impacts will last, we do know that we can help our customers now by not adjusting water rates in 2020.”

The district was in the midst of its budget-setting process and a cost-of-service study when the outbreak hit. A public hearing scheduled for August 12, when the board was to consider possible rate changes, has been postponed.

Last month, the district’s board also voted to temporarily suspend late fees and water shutoffs to ensure all customers have access to safe, clean water during the public health emergency.

Customers who are experiencing difficulties paying their water bills are encouraged to contact the district’s customer service team at 619-466-0585 to make payment arrangements.

“As a not-for-profit agency, over the coming months we will be looking at all options to balance our budget while continuing to keep the water flowing,” said Gracyk. “The board is prepared to have those difficult conversations – we’re committed to supporting our customers and community during these tough times.”

Learn more about the district’s response to the coronavirus outbreak here.

 

Coronavirus Updates

Coronavirus Updates

Media releases

Jun 3 / Lake Jennings reopening with limitations

Lake Jennings will reopen in a limited capacity on effective June 5. The policies and procedures listed below assure compliance with current health orders from the county of San Diego and will remain in place until further notice.

Camping 

  • Tent camping reopens June 5.
  • RV camping continues to be permitted.

Campers

  • Only people from the same household may occupy the same campsite.
  • Six people maximum per campsite.
  • Only registered campers permitted in the campground – no visitor or day use access will be allowed.
  • All campers must wear a mask and practice social distancing where required, in compliance with the current San Diego County health orders.

Campground Amenities

  • All restrooms on site will be cleaned and sanitized with an EPA approved COVID-19 disinfectant on a regular basis. Some restrooms will be closed during the week when there are fewer campers, but there will be restrooms available 24 hours a day. All campers with self-contained camping units are encouraged to use their own restrooms at all times.
  • The campground’s playground, pavilion, play area and drinking fountains will all be closed.

Trails

  • The lake loop trail will be open to registered campers only from Sentry Point to Eagle Point.
  • There will be no access to the campground side of the property or past Eagle Point for nonregistered campers at this time.

Fishing and Recreation 

  • The recreation side of the lake reopens June 13 and will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
  • All fishermen and day use customers must be in compliance with current San Diego County health orders, including mask wearing and social distancing when applicable.
  • Masks will be REQUIRED in line and in the Bait and Tackle Shop.
  • Payment with card will be encouraged.
  • Only one customer or family will be permitted in the Bait and Tackle Shop at a time. Please respect social distancing while in line outside.
  • Fishing and day use permits must be purchased at the Bait and Tackle Shop.
  • Fishing from the campground shoreline between Sentry Point and Eagle Point will be open only to registered campers who have purchased their fishing permits between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Shore fishing will be permitted from the entrance area to Eagle Point.
  • There will be no night fishing or fish stocking at this time.

Boating

  • Boat rentals to members of the same household reopen June 20.
  • Private boat launching is available. Launch permits must be purchased at the Bait and Tackle Shop. All boaters must be in compliance with the current San Diego County health order regarding recreational boating.

We are thrilled to be able to reopen in compliance with the county regulations. We really appreciate your understanding during this challenging time while we work hard to keep our community safe.

Call Lake Jennings staff at 619-390-1623

Click here to make a camping reservation

Apr 15 / Helix Water District Hosting Virtual Food Drive

Helix Water District’s employee volunteer program, Helix Helps, is hosting a virtual food drive in partnership with the San Diego Food Bank to help feed vulnerable families and seniors impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Right now, making sure that families and seniors are fed and have access to food is a top priority for our communities,” said Helix Water District Board President Mark Gracyk. “Not only are our employees working to ensure that our customers have access to safe and reliable water throughout this crisis, they are also looking for more personal ways to help.”

“Our employee volunteer program, Helix Helps, has historically completed in-person service projects like community cleanups and tree planting,” said Gracyk. “By hosting and donating to a virtual food drive, we can assist those in our community while still practicing social distancing and helping everyone stay healthy.”

The public is welcome to participate in the virtual food drive. To donate, visit hwd.fyi/food, slide food items across the checkout and pay securely with a credit or debit card. The virtual food drive runs through June 30, 2020.

The Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank distributes food at more than 200 locations countywide, ensuring those in need have access to food during this difficult time. They can provide five meals for every single dollar donated. Many water agencies throughout the county are contributing to the San Diego Food Bank’s efforts.

In addition to the virtual food drive, Helix Water District’s board voted to freeze water rates through the end of 2020 and suspend late fees and water shutoffs for nonpayment in recognition of the economic impacts of the pandemic. Learn more about the steps the district and its employees have taken to support its customers during the coronavirus outbreak at hwd.com.

Release – Helix Water District Hosting Virtual Food Drive (PDF)

Helix Water District provides water treatment and distribution for 277,000 people in the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove, the community of Spring Valley and areas of Lakeside — east of downtown San Diego. Helix also provides treated water to neighboring Padre Dam, Otay and Lakeside water districts.

Apr 2 / Helix Water District Freezes Rates for 2020 in Response to Coronavirus

Helix Water District’s Board of Directors voted at its April 1, 2020, meeting to freeze water rates through the end of the calendar year in an effort to support customers facing financial challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our customers’ lives and incomes have been impacted by the coronavirus,” said Helix Water District Board President Mark Gracyk. “Although we don’t know how long the pandemic or its financial impacts will last, we do know that we can help our customers now by not adjusting water rates in 2020.”

The district was in the midst of its budget-setting process and a cost-of-service study when the outbreak hit. A public hearing scheduled for August 12, when the board was to consider possible rate changes, has been postponed.

Last month, the district’s board also voted to temporarily suspend late fees and water shutoffs to ensure all customers have access to safe, clean water during the public health emergency.

Customers who are experiencing difficulties paying their water bills are encouraged to contact the district’s customer service team at 619-466-0585 to make payment arrangements.

“As a not-for-profit agency, over the coming months we will be looking at all options to balance our budget while continuing to keep the water flowing,” said Gracyk. “The board is prepared to have those difficult conversations – we’re committed to supporting our customers and community during these tough times.”

Further details about the district’s response to the coronavirus outbreak are available at hwd.com.

Release – Helix Water District Freezes Rates for 2020 in Response to Coronavirus (PDF)

Helix Water District provides water treatment and distribution for 277,000 people in the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove, the community of Spring Valley and areas of Lakeside — east of downtown San Diego. Helix also provides treated water to neighboring Padre Dam, Otay and Lakeside water districts.

Mar 27 / Opinion: your tap water is the safest source of water during this pandemic

From Board President Mark Gracyk
This article appeared in the Times of San Diego on March 27, 2020

As we Americans face these unprecedented times, many of us are rushing  to stock up on bottled water and other supplies. At Helix Water District, we want to remind all of us   that your tap water is still safe and reliable.

While it’s always advisable to have a reasonable amount of emergency water on hand – the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is not a situation that will require a stockpile of bottled water. You will still have access to safe, clean water from your tap, as always.

There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through water. The illness primarily transfers from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

At Helix Water District, we  work diligently 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure your water is safe to drink, meeting all state and federal quality regulations. Our onsite lab collects and analyzes 200 water samples a day to ensure our water is safe. Our water treatment process includes disinfecting the water with ozone to chemically deactivate and physically remove viruses, bacteria and other organisms.

We also work around the clock  to ensure water reaches your home. Such an operation requires an immense distribution system and continuous maintenance and repairs. That is why the District prioritizes preventive maintenance and scheduled capital improvements. It is also the reason that when you turn on a faucet – day or night – you don’t have to worry about whether the water will be there.

While we are a non profit agency we do not skimp on safety or training. But  beyond that, all Helix staff undergo thorough emergency preparedness training. We’re ready to support our community through any crisis, whether it’s a  pandemic or wildfire. We are here for you.

Even now Helix Water District employees are testing, treating  and delivering your water to make sure you have water when and how you need it. We will continue to do so throughout the duration of this emergency and beyond when things return to normal..

Helix will continue to monitor the evolving public health emergency, just as we’re sure you are, and we will update our website and social media with important information about your water delivery. In an abundance of caution, we are closed to the public and we recommend paying online at https://hwd.com/bill-payment/ or over the phone at 855-276-8053. We may have closed our lobbies, but not our operations.

At Helix Water District, we have always been committed to operational excellence and maximum efficiency. We want to make sure our customers have the safe, reliable water they need, whenever they need it, and we will do whatever we can to make that happen.

 

 

Mar 27 / ¿Cuál es el lugar más seguro donde puede obtener agua? Como siempre, directamente del grifo.

Por el presidente de la junta Mark Gracyk

En estos momentos sin precedentes que enfrentamos los estadounidenses, muchos corren apresurados a las tiendas a abastecerse de agua embotellada y otros suministros. En Helix Water District, queremos recordarle que el agua del grifo sigue siendo segura y confiable.

Si bien siempre es aconsejable tener una cantidad razonable de agua a mano para casos de emergencia, el brote de coronavirus (COVID-19) no es una situación que requerirá reservas de agua embotellada. Usted seguirá teniendo acceso a agua limpia y segura del grifo, como siempre.

No hay evidencia de que el COVID-19 se transmita por el agua. La enfermedad se transmite principalmente de una persona a otra a través de microgotas respiratorias producidas cuando una persona infectada tose o estornuda.

En Helix Water District, trabajamos diligentemente las 24 horas del día, los 7 días de la semana para garantizar que el agua que usted consume sea segura para beber y cumpla con todas las reglamentaciones de calidad estatales y federales. Recolectamos y analizamos 200 muestras de agua por día para garantizar la eficacia de nuestro proceso de tratamiento del agua. Nuestro proceso incluye la desinfección del agua con ozono para desactivar químicamente y eliminar físicamente los virus, las bacterias y otros organismos.

También trabajamos día y noche para garantizar que el agua llegue a su hogar. Una operación de esta índole requiere de un inmenso sistema y un mantenimiento continuo. Por esta razón, el distrito da prioridad al mantenimiento preventivo y las mejoras programadas. También es la razón por la cual cuando usted abre un grifo –de día o de noche– no tiene que preocuparse por si saldrá agua o no.

Algunos clientes no son conscientes de esto porque Helix Water District es un organismo público, no obtiene ningún tipo de ganancia. Además de eso, todo el personal de Helix recibe una exhaustiva capacitación a fin de prepararse para situaciones de emergencia. Estamos preparados para apoyar a nuestra comunidad en cualquier crisis, ya sea una pandemia mundial o un incendio forestal. Estamos aquí para ayudarlo.

Incluso ahora, los empleados de Helix Water District están trabajando en el tratamiento, el monitoreo y el suministro de agua a su hogar, asegurándose de que usted tenga agua en cualquier momento y de la manera en que la necesite. Haremos esto durante el tiempo que dure esta emergencia y después, cuando las cosas vuelvan a la normalidad.

Helix continuará monitoreando la emergencia de salud pública en evolución, como estamos seguros que usted lo está haciendo, y actualizaremos nuestro sitio web y nuestras redes sociales con información importante sobre el suministro de agua a su hogar. Como medida de precaución adicional, nuestras oficinas de atención al público están cerradas y recomendamos el pago en línea en https://hwd.com/bill-payment/ o por teléfono al 855-276-8053. Podemos haber cerrado nuestras oficinas, pero no nuestras operaciones.

En Helix Water District, siempre hemos estado comprometidos con la excelencia operativa y la máxima eficiencia. Queremos asegurarnos de que nuestros clientes tengan el agua segura y confiable que necesitan, en cualquier momento que la necesiten, y haremos todo lo que esté a nuestro alcance para lograrlo

 

 

Mar 20 / Helix Water Service Will Continue Uninterrupted During Stay-At-Home Order

Helix Water District customers will continue to receive uninterrupted water service while California’s statewide stay-at-home order is in effect.

Californians are required to stay home unless they need to maintain the operation of critical infrastructure, which includes water systems, due to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

“As providers of a critical service, all district employees take on the role of first-responders during emergencies,” said Helix Water District General Manager Carlos Lugo. “Our priority is to keep everyone safe while continuing to deliver safe and reliable water to our customers.”

The district activated its Emergency Operations Plan in March to ensure continuity of water delivery, and has worked with its vendors to prioritize the delivery of vital supplies. Staff who are critical to operations and maintenance continue to report to work, with rotations and social distancing measures in place. Noncritical staff are telecommuting to minimize the potential for virus transmissions.

Further details are available on the district’s website at hwd.com.

Release – Helix Water District Water Service Will Continue Uninterrupted During Statewide Stay-at-Home Order (PDF)

Helix Water District provides water treatment and distribution for 277,000 people in the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove, the community of Spring Valley and areas of Lakeside — east of downtown San Diego. Helix also provides treated water to neighboring Padre Dam, Otay and Lakeside water districts.

Mar 19 / Helix Suspends Late Fees and Water Shutoffs to Help Customers During Pandemic

March 19, 2020 Press Release 

At their March 18, 2020 meeting, Helix Water District’s Board of Directors voted to temporarily suspend late fees and water shutoffs for nonpayment in an effort to support its customers facing financial challenges during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We recognize that many of our customers are facing financial hardships as a result of the pandemic and the related school and business closures,” said Helix Water District Board President Mark Gracyk. “We want to help by making sure that all of our customers have access to safe, clean water during this public health emergency. As we all know, handwashing is one of the best ways to limit the spread of the virus.”

The district’s temporary suspension of late fees and shutoffs for nonpayment is effective March 19 through April 30. The board will reassess whether to extend those dates in April.

District staff will continue to read meters and generate water bills during this time, and outstanding balances for accounts that run past the disconnection date will be due once the temporary suspension expires. Helix Water District is a public utility and California law prohibits giving public funds to any person or entity. Waiving one customer’s bill would put an extra and disproportionate burden on other customers and would be considered a gift of public funds.

The district encourages customers to continue to pay their bills on time but wanted to take this extraordinary measure to support those customers who are experiencing financial stress due to impacts of the pandemic.

Customers who are experiencing difficulties paying their water bills are encouraged to contact the district’s customer service team at 619-466-0585 to make payment arrangements.

“Our water supply is safe,” said Helix Water District Director of Water Quality Brian Olney. “There is no evidence that the virus is transmitted through treated water. Our water treatment process includes disinfecting the water with ozone to chemically deactivate and physically remove viruses, bacteria and other organisms.”

To ensure continuity of water delivery, the district has enacted its Emergency Operations Plan and has worked with its vendors to prioritize the delivery of vital supplies. Staff critical to operations and maintenance will continue to report to work, with rotations and social distancing measures in place. Noncritical staff will telecommute to minimize the potential for virus transmissions.

Additionally, all nonessential district construction work that would require water shutoffs has been temporarily suspended.

District facilities are closed to the public until further notice to protect both staff and customers. Customer service remains available at 619-466-0585 during business hours.

Release – Helix Water District Suspends Late Fees and Shutoffs to Support Customers During the Coronavirus Pandemic (PDF)

UPDATE: On April 15, 2020, Helix Water District’s Board of Directors voted to extend the temporary suspension of late fees and shutoffs for nonpayment until further notice.

 

Helix tap water is safe to drink

Helix wants to reassure the east county residents, businesses and public institutions we serve that Coronavirus (Covid-19) has no impact on the safety and quality of their tap water.

Our water treatment process includes disinfecting the water with ozone to chemically deactivate and physically remove viruses, bacteria and other organisms. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is susceptible to ozonation. We collect and analyze 200 water samples a day to ensure the effectiveness of our treatment process and the safety of our drinking water.

It is also important to note that there is no evidence that Coronavirus is transmitted through water. Click on the link below to see the State of California’s fact sheet on Coronavirus, water treatment and the safety of tap water.

SWRCB Fact Sheet – Water Quality & Coronavirus

Your water service is reliable

We are doing everything we can to protect the health of our staff to ensure the reliability of your water service. In addition, we stopped all maintenance-related water shutoffs over the next two weeks, with the exception of private development projects and school projects that must be completed during spring break. Project schedules are subject to change. Water will be available to customers impacted by these projects.

To ensure continuity of water delivery, the district has enacted its Emergency Operations Plan and has worked with its vendors to prioritize the delivery of vital supplies. Staff critical to operations and maintenance will continue to report to work, with rotations and social distancing measures in place. Noncritical staff will telecommute to minimize the potential for virus transmissions.

Our lobbies are closed

Out of concern for our customers and staff, we have closed our administration office lobby in La Mesa and our operations center lobby in El Cajon. If you need assistance, please call Customer Service at 619-466-0585.

How to pay your water bill

If you pay your water bill in person, please use one of these alternative payment methods.

Use our payment dropbox
We accept cash, checks and money orders in our payment dropbox, which is located in the parking lot at our administration office at 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa. Write your name and address number on an envelope, seal your payment inside and drop the envelope in the dropbox during business hours.

Pay online
Click Log In in our main menu and One Time Pay on our customer self service portal. Pay from your checking account or with a credit/debit card. Our Ultimate guide to paying your water bill online provides step-by-step instructions and videos.

Pay by phone
Call 855-276-8053

Mail a check
Mail your payment to:
Helix Water District
7811 University Avenue
La Mesa, CA, 91942

Customer shutoffs and late fees are suspended

As of March 18, 2020, Helix Water District’s board of directors voted to temporarily suspend late fees and water shutoffs for nonpayment in an effort to support customers during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, effective March 19 through April 30. On April 15, 2020, the board voted to extend the temporary suspensions until further notice.

District staff will continue to read meters and generate water bills during this time, and outstanding balances for accounts that run past the disconnection date will be due once temporary suspension expires. Helix Water District is a public utility and California law prohibits giving public funds to any person or entity. Waiving one customer’s bill would put an extra and disproportionate burden on other customers and would be considered a gift of public funds.

Customers who are experiencing difficulties paying their water bills due to the pandemic are encouraged to contact the district’s customer service team at 619-466-0585 to make payment arrangements.

Board meetings will continue

Board members and the public can access meetings by conference call.  The call-in number and access code will be at the top of each meeting agenda. Agendas are posted on our website homepage and on our board meetings webpage.

Events are cancelled

Helix Water District
Helix Water Talks on May 2 is cancelled.

Lake Jennings

  • New Moon Fishing on March 21 is cancelled.
  • Spring Carnival on April 4 is cancelled.
  • Spring Break April 3-19 is cancelled.
  • Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest is cancelled.

The Water Conservation Garden
All events and workshops are cancelled.

How we can protect each other

Stay home when you’re sick
If you have a fever, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion or shortness of breath, please stay home.

Wash your hands frequently
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.

Clean frequently-touched surfaces
Use cleaning sprays and disinfectant wipes on door handles, countertops, telephones and keyboards.

Cough or sneeze into your elbow
Cover your mouth and nose.

Learn more about Coronavirus
We recommend monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and the County of San Diego for the latest news and updates.

Questions

Please contact Customer Service at 619-466-0585.

The safest way to pay bills in a pandemic

The safest way to pay bills in a pandemic

The safest way to pay bills in a pandemic is to stay home and do it online. Helix offers a variety of electronic payment (ePayments) options and two thirds of Helix customers use them to pay their water bill. The option we recommend the most, especially for customers trying ePayments for the first time, is eChecks. Here’s how they work.

What are eChecks?

eChecks are like paper checks, but easier, because you enter your checking account information just once in Helix’s customer self service portal and you’re good to go. No more check writing.

When you receive your water bill, you authorize payment with the click of a button. Then, we use your checking account information to start the transaction process. The payment is automatically withdrawn from your checking account, and the transaction is listed on your bank statement. eChecks are generally verified within 24 to 48 hours of initiating the transaction.

You can pay once, or enjoy the convenience of an online account

We offer both options.

Use our One Time Pay option to have a look around and kick the tires. Click Log In on hwd.com, then click One Time Pay on our customer self-service portal. There are no limits on the number of times you use the One Time Pay option, but you miss out on one of the best features of eChecks. When you use the One Time Pay option, we delete your checking account information after each transaction, so you have to reenter it each time.

If you want convenience, open an online account. We’ll save your bank account information so that you only have to key it in once, and we’ll maintain your payment history online so you can check it at any time.

The benefits of eChecks

The biggest benefit of eChecks — right now — is that you can pay your water bill without leaving your home. The all-the-time benefits are nice, too. No more writing checks and searching for a stamp, or waiting until the next day to go to the post office to buy stamps. With eChecks, you enter your bank account information once, and pay future water bills with the click of a button. Another benefit of eChecks is that your payment is confirmed in 1-2 days. No more wondering and worrying if your mailed check will arrive in time.

How to get started

Step one is to open an online account with Helix. 

  1. Click the Log In button in the menu on hwd.com
  2. Click on Register
  3. Enter the account number and the last name or business name for your Helix account
  4. Choose a password and your email address

Watch our Create an Account video

How to set up eChecks

  1. Click the Log In button in the menu on hwd.com
  2. Complete the log in to your online account
  3. Click on your account
  4. Click on Payment in the blue menu bar and Pay Online in the dropdown menu
  5. Select the bill you want to pay and click on the green button
  6. Click on the green button to proceed to checkout
  7. Click on New Bank Account
  8. Click on green button to continue
  9. Enter your bank account information
  10. Click on green button to review and approve payment

Too many steps? Don’t worry. It’s easier when you actually see it all on your computer screen (which is why we made an instructional video). You only have to enter your bank account information once. To pay future bills, simply choose this payment option and this information will already be there.

Watch our Pay With an eCheck video

In December, we upgraded our customer self service portal so that it displays correctly on any device, from a desktop computer to a smartphone. And, a few weeks ago, we posted the Ultimate Guide to Paying Your Water Bill Online so you can compare our ePayments options and learn about going paperless with eBills. We explain each option and provide step-by-step instructions and videos, like we did in this article.

Stay home, stay healthy and give eChecks a try. If you have questions or need assistance, call Customer Service at 619-466-0585.