Water Bill Assistance for Impacted Customers

Water Bill Assistance for Impacted Customers

We have three resources to share with customers who may be behind on their water bills. These resources can help customers pay off their overdue balances and avoid falling behind.

It will take just a few minutes to do.

Helix Helps Customer Assistance Program

The Helix Helps Customer Assistance Program offers a one-time credit of up to $300 to help Helix customers in single-family homes who are behind on their water bill and can demonstrate loss of income due to the pandemic.

Helix Water District partnered with a local nonprofit, Home Start, to administer the program. Customers can apply directly through Home Start at home-start.org

Customers who apply will need to provide documentation that their household experienced a loss of income directly related to COVID-19. The full list of criteria and required documentation is available at home-start.org. Please note that assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Home Start will contact applicants based on when they received their application.

County of San Diego’s Emergency Rent and Utilities Assistance Program

The County of San Diego is offering an Emergency Rent and Utilities Assistance Program for low-income renters who are behind on their rent and utilities. Renters must have experienced a financial hardship directly or indirectly related to COVID between April 2020 and March 2021. For program eligibility and criteria, apply at SDHCD.org or call 858-694-4801.

Payment Arrangements

To avoid shutoff for nonpayment, call Helix customer service at 619-466-0585 and make payment arrangements. You can pay your past due balance in installments over a period of up to 12 months.

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See the winning photos of our Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest

See the winning photos of our Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest

Helix Water District is proud to announce the winners of the 2021 Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest, with this year’s first place in the adult category going to photographer Johnathan Bradley of Lemon Grove for his image titled Open Field.

 

Now in its 10th year, the contest drew 61 entries from throughout the county. This year’s theme was Life at the Lake, and each of the entries highlighted the unique beauty of camping, fishing, hiking, spotting wildlife and enjoying the view at Lake Jennings. The contest was available to photos taken between March 1 and May 31, 2021, and also included 11 entries from March 2020 who entered before the pandemic closed the lake and the contest. The following photographers took top honors:
Adult Category:

First Place – Johnathan Bradley, Open Field

Second Place – Johnathan Bradley, Sun Star

Third Place – Jeff Morin, Ladies on a Lunch Break

Honorable Mention – Erik Hyman, Deep Pier

Youth Category:

First Place – Aaron De’Souza – Cacti by the Lake

Second Place – Gabriel Heilpern, Fishing on the Lake

Third Place – Lillian Heilpern, Trees with Reeds

 

 

The district honored the winning photographers at an awards ceremony via Zoom on Wednesday, June 23 at 3 p.m during its Committee of the Board meeting. The winning photos are also available on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/helixwater
1st Place, Adult
Jonathan Bradley
“Open Field”
2nd Place, Color
Jonathan Bradley
“Sun Star”
3rd Place, Adult

Jeff Morin
“Ladies on a Lunch Break”

Honorable Mention, Adult
Eric Hyman
“Deep Pier”
1st Place, Youth
Aaron D’Souza
“Cacti by Lake Jennings”
2nd Place, Youth
Gabriel Heilpern
Fishing on Lake Jennings
3rd Place, Youth
Lilian Heilpern
“Trees with Reeds”

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Helix announces 2021 Landscape Contest winner

Helix announces 2021 Landscape Contest winner

Once an unused pool, now a water-wise backyard oasis

Helix Water District announced Rosalie Dosik of Mt. Helix as the winner of its 2021 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The annual competition recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on overall attractiveness, design, efficient irrigation and appropriate plant selection and maintenance.

Rosalie’s bright and textured winning landscape represents years of dedicated passion for gardening and water-efficient plants. The garden is an Asian-fusion theme complete with wooden structures, pathways, rock and vibrant color. Instead of thirsty plants, it uses many low water species that are well adapted for our semi-arid region climate.

Backyard garden patio with patio chairs and shrubs

The backyard garden did not always flourish as it does today. When Rosalie and her husband bought the house in 1997, a large pool filled the backyard. The pool evaporated quickly in the summer and overflowed towards the house during winter rains. Rosalie wanted a landscape that she could enjoy more than the rarely used pool. In 2012, Rosalie decided to have the pool demolished and filled with decomposed granite, and adding a layer of healthy topsoil. Now, Rosalie enjoys her backyard oasis on a daily basis. 

Viewers can see several rock streams flowing down the landscape into a gravel rock “pond.” The gravel area creates negative space, a concept that allows the eye to rest so visitors can better sense and appreciate the landscape. Keeping with an Asian garden style, the garden includes many meandering pathways, each offering different scenery and views.

garden with trees and crane statues
patio furniture in vibrant but low water use garden

“Now, one can meander through the garden and enjoy the scenery. There are birds and wildlife galore. The entire backyard is cooler and more serene,” said Rosalie Dosik. “I have rabbits who visit each day and I am even seeing monarch butterflies.”

Rosalie, an artist, is also an avid gardener and volunteers as a docent at the Water Conservation Garden. She stumbled across the garden in 2004 after visiting the adjacent Heritage Museum. After looking down at the garden from the museum patio, Rosalie knew she had to visit. On her many return visits, she wrote down the names of plants she liked and started gardening with them at home.

The landscape also irrigates efficiently. Gear-driven rotors apply water to the densely planted areas, while narrow areas and potted plants use drip irrigation. A smart, weather-based irrigation controller that automatically adjusts for rain and weather controls all of the irrigation.

Rosalie loves to have her friends over and entertain on the patio, where they can all enjoy the views of the garden. “You can look left and right and just look at what is flowering; of course right now, everything is flowering,” said Rosalie.

Helix invited Rosalie to Helix Water District’s virtual board meeting on Wednesday, June 23, at 3 p.m. to recognize her work.  Following the meeting, Helix sent Rosalie her award — a gift card totaling $250 and an award certificate.

pathway down low water use garden

Photos of the Dosik 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 runs from January through mid-May each year. 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 277,000 people in La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove and parts of Spring Valley, Lakeside and unincorporated San Diego County.

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K-8 Student Poster Contest Winners Highlight Water is Life

K-8 Student Poster Contest Winners Highlight Water is Life

Above: The first place poster in the 4th-8th grade category, drawn by Kaylee Martin, a 5th grade student at Highlands Elementary.

We honored local student artists for their winning Water Is Life posters at a virtual awards ceremony during our June 16, 2021, board meeting.

Each year, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, one of our wholesale water providers, holds a regional poster contest for students in kindergarten through eighth grade to increase student’s awareness about water.

We promote the contest to all K-8 schools within our service area. This year, 231 students from 17 schools submitted posters depicting how to use water wisely. The following students took top honors:

Grades K – 3

First Place – Sofia Cardenas Loera, Lighthouse Christian Academy, Grade 3

Second Place – Tiffany An, Christ Lutheran School, Grade 3

Third Place – Stella Stackhouse, Avocado Elementary, Grade 2

Honorable Mention – Lucas Regimbal, Christ Lutheran School, Grade 3

Honorable Mention – Sanora Atoe, Lexington Elementary, Grade 3

Grades 4 – 8

First Place – Kaylee Martin, Highlands Elementary, Grade 5

Second Place – Valeria Ramirez, St. John of the Cross, Grade 6

Third Place – Hannah Maass, Christ Lutheran School, Grade 8

Honorable Mention – Maddy Amezwa Cruz, Literacy First Junior Academy, Grade 8

Honorable Mention – Sarah Cervantes, Christ Lutheran School, Grade 8

 

View all the winning posters on our Facebook page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Helix Water District Planning Document Reveals Sufficient Water Supplies

Helix Water District Planning Document Reveals Sufficient Water Supplies

Photo: Reverse osmosis cannisters at the Carlsbad Desalination Plant.

Helix Water District Board of Directors just adopted its 2020 Urban Water Management Plan following a public hearing. The 2020 Urban Water Management Plan supports the district’s long-term planning efforts to ensure that it has enough water supplies to meet existing and future water needs.

The timing of the plan’s submission comes as Governor Newsom has declared droughts in 41 California counties, and other regions are experiencing water cutbacks. Despite reduced local rainfall and runoff, decades of planning means the San Diego region has sufficient supplies for dry years like this one.

Over the last 30 years, Helix has worked with its wholesaler the San Diego County Water Authority and neighboring water agencies to prepare for water shortages, including droughts. Thanks to investments in water supply reliability, Helix and the rest of San Diego County have sufficient water supplies to meet demand, even through multiple dry years.

“The district’s Urban Water Management Plan shows why and how we have sufficient water supplies through multiple dry years,” said General Manager Carlos V. Lugo. “It highlights our region’s investments in long–term, reliable supplies including conserved Colorado River sources, our locally controlled desalination plant and future water reuse projects. It also includes our water conservation programs and customer efforts that reduce daily water demands and keep our communities using water efficiently.”

Table shows total water supply exceeds water demand through up to five consecutive years of dry conditions

Table: Helix Water District’s 2020 Urban Water Management Plan projects that the district’s supplies will exceed demands, even through five consecutive dry years.

Graph shows that the combined regional water supply provided by local water agencies, the San Diego County Water Authority and MWD exceeds demand through 2045.

Graph: Helix Water District’s 2020 Urban Water Management Plan projects that the district will continue to have access to more water supplies than needed to meet demands.

Helix Water District’s 2020 Urban Water Management Plan was a collaborative process that took over a year to complete. The final document is approximately 900 pages and evaluates land use, water supplies, population forecasts and water conservation trends to determine if the district will have enough water over a 25-year planning timeframe. The 2020 Urban Water Management Plan includes risk and resiliency assessments of the district’s supplies and infrastructure against threats such as earthquakes, drought and climate change. As part of its planning process, the district also updated its water shortage contingency plan, which outlines specific actions the district can take to navigate varying stages of water shortage conditions.

California water utilities are required to prepare and adopt an Urban Water Management Plan every five years and submit its updated plan to the California Department of Water Resources. The Urban Water Management Plan aims to prevent water supply disruptions, encourage long-term planning and promote water conservation. This plan is one of many documents that guides the district in maintaining safe and reliable water for its customers and communities.

Read our 2020 Urban Water Management Plan

 

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Water Bill Assistance for Impacted Customers

Funding Available for Customer Assistance Program

Last month we launched our first ever financial customer assistance program to help customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have good news. We are helping those in need and we still have funding to help even more.

The Helix Helps Customer Assistance Program offers a one-time credit of up to $300 to help Helix single-family residential customers who are behind on their water bill and can demonstrate loss of income due to the pandemic.

Because the district is legally prohibited from using water rates to assist customers, the board dedicated $500,000 from surplus land sales to fund the program. The Helix Helps Customer Assistance Program is expected to assist at least 1,400 households in need.

Helix Water District partnered with a local nonprofit, Home Start, to administer the program. Customers can apply directly through Home Start at home-start.org.

Customers who apply will need to provide documentation that their household experienced a loss of income directly related to COVID-19. The full list of criteria and required documentation is available at home-start.org. Please note that assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Home Start will contact applicants based on when they received their application.

In March 2020, the Helix board voted to suspend late fees and shutoffs for nonpayment. The Helix Helps Customer Assistance Program is just one more way that Helix is working to support our customers in need. 

Please share this program with friends, family, neighbors and anyone financially impacted by the pandemic.  

 

 

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Honoring our Public Works Professionals

Honoring our Public Works Professionals

Helix is celebrating National Public Works Week and the accomplishments of public works employees. Their dedication and work make our lives better and our communities safer.

National Public Works Week takes place the third week of May and recognizes public works employees who build, manage, maintain and improve critical infrastructure that we all depend on and use each day. Public works are roads, water systems, flood control, wastewater collection, airports, parks, sidewalks and much more.

Examples of water use including industries, and services that we all depend on

As a water provider, Helix Water District knows the importance of public works. Water keeps us going from the time we turn on the faucet in the morning, throughout our day and when we need it at night. Even though we all depend on water, most of our infrastructure, like pipes, valves, tanks, pump stations, and other facilities, is underground or out of view. This makes it easy to take our safe and reliable water system for granted.

As we celebrate public works week, we want to encourage you to see what it takes to safely and reliably deliver water to your homes and businesses 24/7.

Watch our video below and thank your public works professionals.

Video Transcript: Understanding the Delivery System

We don’t necessarily understand or see the inner workings of water delivery from the source water to your tap. We all too often take that process for granted.

It’s more complicated than you actually might think.  Our water comes from several sources: 1) in the Colorado River; 2) up in northern California from the state water project; 3) from desalinated water in Carlsbad; and 4) we’re blessed here in the Helix Water District to have several reservoirs and a treatment plant.

We’re very fortunate in that we own Lake Cuyamaca up in the foothills in the Lagunas, and when we do get rain in the area, we take advantage of that.  We capture the water in Lake Cuyamaca, run it down into Lake El Capitan where we share rights with the city of San Diego, and from there we draw water into our treatment plant.

So when the water falls from the sky, we’re actually able to treat that water and put it through our distribution system through our pump stations, and our pipes, and our treatment systems right to your tap.  

The water delivery system is quite complex.  It starts from your raw water coming into the system through major transmission lines.  Those transmission lines feed into our treatment facility.  The water is treated to an incredibly high level that meets and or exceeds oftentimes, state and federal mandates.  From there it goes through a series of pump stations to feed up to pump water reservoirs or tanks, the stuff that you see in your community, the big steel structures, and then from there the water gravity feeds to the actual houses.  And I like to kind of compare that to somebody’s individual irrigation system where if we have a sprinkler system watering your plants, there’s a lot just involved in maintaining and repairing those things.  So this water system is on a much larger scale, 733 miles with a wide variety of materials.  So we have to be prepared to really respond, assess, maintain all of that in a moment’s notice.  It’s quite a complex process but we, we love what we do.

Our pipeline is distributed throughout the neighborhoods.  Our pump stations make sure those pipelines are always under pressure.  The tanks make sure we always have adequate supply and can and serve our customers, and every customer has a small pipeline that’s tapped to our mains in the streets.  So when you open your faucet you’re always receiving water, really from our tanks and distribution system.  

The Helix Water District is a, is a large agency.  We serve over 270,000 customers, you know through 56,000 connections.  We have a lot of infrastructure.  The infrastructure in today’s dollar amounts to about $1.6 billion.  We have over 700 miles of pipelines, 25 tanks, 25 pump stations, and about 56,000 services that we feed.

As public servants, our job is to make sure that your water is delivered.  As part of that goal, you never know we’re here and that means we’re doing a great job.

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Learn How to Hire a Landscaper from The Water Conservation Garden

Learn How to Hire a Landscaper from The Water Conservation Garden

Good landscapers are always in high demand. They can make your property flourish, and help you save money and use water efficiently.

One of the most frequently asked questions we get from our customers is where they can go to hire a good landscaper.

Fortunately, there is a class on that. The best part is, the class is FREE.

Sign up with our friends at The Water Conservation Garden for a free one-hour class on what you need to know to hire a landscaper. You will learn which questions to ask, what to look for and how to plan.

The class is held via Zoom on Wednesday, May 26, from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

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No drought emergency in San Diego region thanks to decades of investments in reliability

No drought emergency in San Diego region thanks to decades of investments in reliability

Photo: Reverse osmosis cannisters at the Carlsbad Desalination Plant (Source: Treatment Plant Operator Magazine).

On Monday, Governor Newsom issued a state of emergency proclamation for 41 of California’s 58 counties in response to worsening drought conditions and water shortages. All of the counties are in northern and central California. Why not Southern California? That’s a good question, and we wrote this article to answer it.

Why Not Southern California?

A state of emergency was not proclaimed for Southern California because we are not experiencing water shortages, and that is because we have additional water supplies.

Colorado River
While northern and central California rely exclusively on the snow that falls in the Sierra, the Colorado River provides southern California with snowmelt from the Rockies in Colorado, the Uinta Range in Utah and the Wind River Range in Wyoming.

In 2003, the San Diego County Water Authority, the wholesale water supplier for the San Diego Region, and Imperial Irrigation District agreed to transfer 200,000 acre feet of Colorado River water to the San Diego region annually. That’s enough water for 400-600,000 homes and Imperial Irrigation District has the most senior water rights on the Colorado River.

Local Water Storage
Residents and businesses in the San Diego region funded — through their water bills — the construction of Olivenhain Reservoir and the raising of San Vicente Dam. We can now store enough water within the region to meet six months of demand. And, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California built Diamond Valley Reservoir near Hemet to store a six month water supply for all of Southern California.

Water Conservation
Helix, the San Diego County Water Authority and Metropolitan launched water conservation programs in the 1990s. Today, San Diegans use half the water we used 30 years ago.

Desalination
Your Helix water bills also helped fund the construction of the Carlsbad Desalination Plant, which is the largest desalination plant in the U.S. It converts Pacific Ocean water into 50 million gallons of drinking water every day. A second desalination plant is the planning phase in Orange County.

Potable Reuse
The Groundwater Replenishment System in Orange County recycles wastewater, purifies it and adds it to the groundwater to provide the region with a drought-proof water supply. Now, Helix is partnering with Padre Dam Municipal Water District, the city of El Cajon and the County of San Diego to develop a similar project to provide up to 30 percent of East County’s water. The city of San Diego’s Pure Water Project will be even larger. Oceanside and Los Angeles are also building water purification facilities.

What About Helix Customers?

Helix just released its draft 2020 Urban Water Management Plan for public comment and review. This document supports the district’s long-term planning efforts to ensure that we have enough water supplies to meet existing and future water needs.

“We are prepared and in a good position,” said Helix Water District General Manager Carlos Lugo. “Over the last few decades, our customers paid for investments in diversified water supplies to protect us during dry periods and emergencies. Our customers have also become more efficient in how they use water.  Those efforts have paid off as we anticipate having enough water for our customers, even after five dry years.”

Graph shows that the combined regional water supply provided by local water agencies, the San Diego County Water Authority and MWD exceeds demand through 2045.

Graph: Helix Water District’s 2020 draft Urban Water Management Plan projects that the district will continue to have access to more water supplies than needed to meet demands.

What About Water Use Restrictions?

Helix has a Water Shortage Contingency Plan, but because we are not experiencing water shortages, we are not activating the plan. What is in effect are Helix’s Permanent Water Efficiency Measures, which are on our website:

A. Do not wash down paved surfaces, including but not limited to sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts or patios, unless required for public safety or sanitation.

B. Eliminate runoff from irrigation on to hardscape, streets, structures or adjacent properties. Water waste caused by overspray from sprinklers or low head drainage is prohibited.

C. Do not water for at least 48 hours after rain.

D. Do not water turf on public street medians.

E. Use recirculated water in ornamental fountains and water features.

F. Wash vehicles using a hose with a positive shutoff nozzle and a bucket, and avoid washing vehicles during hot conditions when additional water is required.

G. Restaurants and other food service establishments may serve water upon request only.

H. Hotels, motels and other commercial lodging establishments must offer guests the option of not laundering towels and linens daily

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