Emergencies Can Happen at Any Time

Emergencies Can Happen at Any Time

Californians know that the next emergency could come at any time, from small events like a broken water main on your street, to wildfires in dry years, mudslides and flooding in wet years, and the constant, looming threat of earthquake. When emergencies happen, our focus at Helix is maintaining the water supply for our customers and first responders. Here are five steps we’ve taken to ensure that we’re always ready.

Planning

Helix recently completed a five-year update of our Urban Water Management Plan, which forecasts water demand in east county for the next 25 years, based on population growth and economic development, and explains how we will provide an adequate water supply, even during a multi-year drought. Our wholesale water suppliers – the San Diego County Water Authority and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California – completed their own Urban Water Management Plans, and the San Diego region has the water it needs through at least 2045.

Emergency Storage

Helix stores a 75-day water supply for our customers in Lake Jennings and the City of San Diego’s El Capitan Reservoir; the San Diego County Water Authority stores a 6-month emergency water supply for the San Diego region in Olivenhain Reservoir, Lake Hodges and San Vicente Reservoir; and, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California stores a 6-month water supply for all of Southern California in Diamond Valley Reservoir near Hemet.   Helix also collaborates with neighboring water districts and has multiple ways to access and deliver water to our customers.

Photo: Lake Jennings

Reserve Equipment

Helix maintains its own warehouse stocked with the equipment and parts we need to respond to emergencies even when supply chains break down. We also have shared resources agreements with other water agencies and cities, to make equipment and key people available when and where they are needed.

Emergency Generators

We equipped our treatment plant and pump stations with emergency generators to ensure that we can continue treating and distributing water to customers throughout a local or regional power outage.

Inside Calavo Pump Station, looking at five pumps.

Photo: Calavo Pump Station

Proactive Maintenance

We proactively maintain our infrastructure, vehicles, heavy equipment and tools so that we are always ready to respond.

We Also Have a 5-Step Plan for Customers

We want you to be ready for the next emergency, too. At hwd.com/emergencies, we present a 5-step plan to get you ready. We show you how to:

Get alerts on your cellphone when emergencies happen

Make a communications plan for your family

Assemble an emergency kit

Monitor updates during an emergency

Disinfect water yourself

Go to hwd.com/emergencies

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We're on social media every day with the latest news from Helix. It's also where you'll find us, and the latest news, during an emergency.

Want to learn more about rebates? Join us for Water Chats

Want to learn more about rebates? Join us for Water Chats

On Thursday, September 30, Helix Water District is hosting a virtual event on Facebook Live about customer rebates.

Customers often ask us how to use less water to save money. Installing water-wise devices, from showerheads to sprinklers, is one of the easiest ways to reduce your water use. Rebates help make those upgrades more affordable and, in some cases, even make upgrades and products free.

Our event will share why you should participate in these programs, give you details on which rebates pay, and where to go to keep using water efficiently.

Rebates don’t stick around forever and we want to help you take advantage of these programs today.

Join us for our virtual Water Chats and start saving.

5:30 – 6:15 p.m.
Thursday, September 30, 2021
Facebook Live

5:30 p.m.      Hello!
5:35 p.m.      Welcome and introductions
5:40 p.m.      Presentation
6:05 p.m.      Q&A
6:15 p.m.      Good night!

Click here to watch on Facebook Live

 

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We're on social media every day with the latest news from Helix. It's also where you'll find us, and the latest news, during an emergency.

Read the latest edition of our Helix Highlights newsletter.

Read the latest edition of our Helix Highlights newsletter.

Our September-October newsletter highlights the investments your water bills have paid for and how they are providing reliable water supplies and a resilient water delivery system. We also share our Helix Helps Customer Assistance Program, as well as easy steps every resident can take to use water efficiently.

Articles include:

Water Shortage in Effect for Arizona Nevada and Mexico.

What does this mean for Helix customers?

Helix Valves Program Controls More Than Flows

Learn about the benefits of our valve program.

Emergency Preparedness at Helix

We share how we have prepared and how you can get prepared, too.

Do your part, be WaterSmart

Six ways to be WaterSmart at home and in the garden.

Helix Helps Customer Assistance Program

We’re offering a one time credit of up to $300 for eligible customers.

Read the Sep/Oct Newsletter

 

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We're on social media every day with the latest news from Helix. It's also where you'll find us, and the latest news, during an emergency.

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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We're on social media every day with the latest news from Helix. It's also where you'll find us, and the latest news, during an emergency.

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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We're on social media every day with the latest news from Helix. It's also where you'll find us, and the latest news, during an emergency.

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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We're on social media every day with the latest news from Helix. It's also where you'll find us, and the latest news, during an emergency.

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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We're on social media every day with the latest news from Helix. It's also where you'll find us, and the latest news, during an emergency.

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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We're on social media every day with the latest news from Helix. It's also where you'll find us, and the latest news, during an emergency.

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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We're on social media every day with the latest news from Helix. It's also where you'll find us, and the latest news, during an emergency.