East County AWP Public Hearings

East County AWP Public Hearings

You are invited to attend a public hearing on the East County Advanced Water Purification project, which will create a new, local, sustainable and drought-proof drinking water supply.

Using state-of-the-art technology, the project will purify recycled water from San Diego’s East County to augment water supplies in the Lake Jennings reservoir. The project will produce up to 30% of East County’s drinking water supply.

The water will be delivered to properties within Helix Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District and Lakeside Water District’s service areas and those in the northern portion of Otay Water District’s service area starting in 2026.

The State Water Resources Control Board will conduct the public hearings. These hearings will begin with a brief presentation about the project followed by an opportunity for public comments.

Hearing No. 1
February 2, 2023
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Helix Water District Boardroom
7811 University Avenue, La Mesa, CA 91942

Hearing No. 2
February 7, 2023
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Padre Dam Municipal Water District Boardroom
9300 Fanita Parkway, Santee, CA 92071

Hearing No. 3
February 8, 2023
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Helix Water District Boardroom
7811 University Avenue, La Mesa, CA 91942

For information on how to participate in the public hearings, please view the public hearing notice linked below.

In addition to the SWRCB public hearings, you can take a virtual tour of the project, get construction updates and sign up to have project updates emailed to you at eastcountyawp.com.

 

Read the public hearing notice

View the Title 22 engineering report

Learn more about Helix’s involvement in the East County Advanced Water Purification project

Take a video tour of the East County Advanced Water Purification project

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Register for Spooky Camp-o-Ween at Lake Jennings

Register for Spooky Camp-o-Ween at Lake Jennings

October is right around the corner, meaning Spooky Camp-o-Ween is back! Registered campers can participate in some spooky and fun activities during one of two weekends: October 21-23 or October 28-30.

During check-in on Friday, pick up some Creepy Crafts and then enjoy the evening around the campfire. Saturday has every kid’s favorite, campground trick-or-treating, followed by the campsite decorating contest, where you have the chance to win a free camping weekend that includes boat rental and fishing permits – but only if you have the spookiest and most creative campsite, of course.

The site-wide scavenger hunt will also be going on all weekend, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled and don’t forget to wear your very best costume!

Reservations fill up quickly, so visit www.lakejennings.org or call (619) 390-1623 to reserve your spot now.

Friday

Check-in, Creepy Crafts, sign up for trick-or-treat.

 

Saturday

Trick-or-treat through the campground from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Campsite Decorating Contest judging at 6:30 p.m.

 

All weekend

Spooky Scavenger Hunt.

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How did Lake Jennings get its name?

How did Lake Jennings get its name?

You have probably driven along the Chet H. Harritt Dam on Lake Jennings Park Road. You have likely even visited Lake Jennings. If you ever wondered who Lake Jennings and its dam are named after, then keep reading. Helix Water District named the lake and its dam after two people who left an impressive legacy for the communities we serve.

Water lawyer William Jennings

William Jennings

William Jennings was one of the most well-respected and known water lawyers in California and served Helix Water District from 1936 to 1969. As a lifetime resident of San Diego, Jennings played an influential role in helping San Diego secure imported water sources to benefit the region.

William Jennings grew up during San Diego’s early 1900s. As a farmer’s son and living on multiple farms, he saw firsthand the importance of water in our region. He started practicing law in 1930 and later began serving in local government with the City of La Mesa and the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce. In 1936, Jennings started working in water, serving as General Counsel with the La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley Irrigation District, which was later renamed Helix Water District. He also served as a board member for the San Diego County Water Authority.

During his career, he guided and negotiated water decisions that included the formation of the San Diego County Water Authority, the construction of the San Diego Aqueduct, our region’s annexation into the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and the legislation that started the State Water Project, which delivers water by aqueduct from Northern California to Southern California.

Helix first General Manager Chet Harritt

Chet H. Harritt

In 1908, Chet H. Harritt went to work for the Cuyamaca Water Company, which owned and operated the San Diego Flume. Helix still uses parts of the original flume system today to bring water from Lake Cuyamaca to East County. He became the water company’s superintendent, in charge of water operations. When the La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley Irrigation District purchased the company in 1926, Harritt became the district’s first general manager. The photo below, taken in 1947, shows Harritt smoking a cigar and opening a valve to bring Colorado River water to East County for the first time.

Historic photo of 1947 Colorado River Water arriving to Helix

November 1947. Chet Harrit pictured left, opening a valve that will bring Colorado River water to the region for the first time. 

From 1936 until 1948, Harritt and Jennings worked together on water supply issues. While Harritt developed the infrastructure and resources needed to deliver a reliable water supply for East County, Jennings negotiated agreements with neighboring water agencies to pool resources and finance projects to deliver imported water into the San Diego region.

Their legacies benefit us today. Lake Jennings is a reservoir for the water supplies that Jennings secured for East County. The Chet Harritt Dam provides our region with the access and reliability to which Harritt devoted his career. Finally, their commitment to public service and leadership instilled a culture at Helix Water District that staff and elected officials embrace every day. 

Lake Jennings is one of two reservoirs owned by Helix Water District. The lake can store up to 9,790 acre-feet of water and is open to the public for boating, fishing, camping and hiking.

Lake Jennings is located at 9535 Harritt Road in Lakeside.

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See this year’s winning photos of Lake Jennings

See this year’s winning photos of Lake Jennings

Helix Water District is proud to announce the winners of the 2022 Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest, with this year’s first place in the adult category going to photographer John Wozny of El Cajon for his image titled “Casting a Sunset.”

Now in its 11th year, the contest drew 47 entries from throughout San Diego County. This year’s entries highlighted the unique beauty of camping, fishing, hiking, spotting wildlife and enjoying the view at Lake Jennings. The contest was open for photos taken between March 1 and May 31, 2022. The following photographers took top honors:

Adult Category:

First Place – John Wozny; “Casting a Sunset”

Second Place – Crystian Baird; “No Shoes, No Problem”

Third Place – John Wozny; “The Eagle has Landed”

Youth Category:

First Place – Lucas Sides; “Lunch”

Second Place – Lucas Sides; “A Day at the Lake”

Third Place – Lydia McQuiddy; “Blue Sky Day”

The district honored the winning photographers at an awards ceremony on Wednesday, June 15, during its board meeting. The winning photos are also available on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/helixwater

1st Place, Adult

John Wozny
“Casting a Sunset”

2nd Place, Adult

Crystian Baird
“No Shoes, No Problem”

3rd Place, Adult

John Wozny
“The Eagle has Landed”

1st Place, Youth

Lucas Sides
“Lunch”

2nd Place, Youth

Lucas Sides
“A Day at the Lake”

3rd Place, Youth

Lydia McQuiddy
“Blue Sky Day”

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Spring into these two contests

Spring into these two contests

Helix Water District’s WaterSmart landscape contest and Lake Jennings spring photo contest are open and actively seeking entries. If you enjoy the beautiful blooms of spring, green vegetation and perfect weather, then right now is a great time to enter for a chance to win prizes.

Through these two contests, Helix Water shares the beauty of Lake Jennings and water-efficient lifestyles with the 277,000 people we serve. Your contest entry can inspire others and make lasting changes for our community. We encourage you to enter in one or both contests this year.

WaterSmart Landscape Contest

Entries Due: Friday, May 13

The annual WaterSmart landscape contest recognizes Helix customers for their beautiful, colorful and water-efficient landscapes. We would love to hear your story and help inspire others. This year’s contest winner will receive a $250 grand prize to the nursery of their choice.

 

To enter, 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. For more information and to enter, visit the contest website at landscapecontest.com or contact us at 619-667-6226.

Backyard garden patio with patio chairs and shrubs
Winner of Helix's 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest

Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest

Entries Due: Tuesday, May 31

The Lake Jennings spring photo contest shares the beauty of our reservoir with the local community. Contest participants can get a free day pass to access, explore and photograph the scenic reservoir located in Lakeside. The contest is open to photos taken at Lake Jennings between March 1 and May 31, 2022.

 

This year’s contest theme is Life at the Lake. Photos can capture any aspect of the lake including camping, fishing, lake vistas, wildlife and wildflowers. The district will award prizes in two divisions, adult and youth. First place winners in each division will receive $150, second place winners will receive $100 and third place winners will receive $50.

For a complete set of contest rules and how to visit Lake Jennings, visit lakejennings.org/photo-contest.

Shows lake with sun setting over hillside and green grasses

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Helix Launches 2022 Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest

Helix Launches 2022 Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest

Helix Water District has launched its 11th annual Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest to share the beauty of its reservoir with the local community. The contest is open to photos taken at Lake Jennings between March 1 and May 31, 2022.

Contest participants can get a free day-pass to access, explore and photograph the scenic reservoir located in Lakeside. The 2022 contest theme is Life at the Lake. Photos can capture any aspect of the lake including recreation, fishing, lake vistas, wildlife and wildflowers.

The district will award monetary prizes in two divisions, adult and youth. First place winners in each division will receive $150, second place winners will receive $100 and third place winners will receive $50. Awards will be presented at a public board meeting in June.

Judging will be performed by a panel of Helix Water District staff. It will be based on this year’s theme, visual appeal, technical quality and creativity.

Participants must submit entries digitally to [email protected] by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31. There is a limit of three photo submissions per photographer, and photos may not contain watermarks. The complete set of rules and entry and model release forms are available at http://www.lakejennings.org/photo-contest/.

“We encourage photographers of all skill levels to visit Lake Jennings and enter in the 2022 Spring Photo Contest,” said Lake Recreation Manager Kira Haley. “Lake Jennings offers visitors plenty of beautiful things to photograph like its scenic views, clear water, numerous trails, fishing and plenty of wildlife. It is also very accessible too, we are only 20 minutes from downtown.”

Photographers planning their visit should check the Lake Jennings website for up-to-date information on hours and access at lakejennings.org.

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Helix Launches 2022 Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest

3 ways to experience Lake Jennings right now

Lake Jennings is our drinking water reservoir and sits tucked into serene hillsides above Lakeside, CA. At 344 acres, the lake boasts scenic views, lots of wildlife and some of the best fishing in San Diego County. Lake Jennings is an excellent place to camp, hike and fish; but most of all, it’s a great place to explore, relax and get away. Here are three ways for you to see and experience Lake Jennings

What we are recommending:

 

1.   Book a campsite

The campground has scenic views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Bring a tent or your RV – we have 35 full-hookup sites, 17 partial-hookup sites and 39 non-hookup tent sites. Need a place to sleep? Reserve one of our five tipi sites that sleep up to 6 people. Book your stay with us at lakejennings.org.

Use our campground amenities

We take pride in our campground with well-kept, clean restrooms and hot showers. We also have plenty of activities available for kids and adults, including ladder golf, horseshoe, bocce ball, life-sized Jenga, cornhole and tetherball. Firewood, ice and propane are available for purchase at the campground entrance station.

What to eat

Our campsites include fire rings so you can build a campfire, roast hot dogs and marshmallows and make s’mores. Don’t feel like cooking? Lake Jennings is close enough to town that you can order food through your favorite delivery app.

Two little grils walking down walkway with expansive lake in background
Person hold s'more in front of campfire at Lake Jennings campground.
Person hold s'more in front of campfire at Lake Jennings campground.

2.   Explore by boat

Come enjoy a weekend away from it all, boating on scenic Lake Jennings with hidden cove picnic spots. Rent a paddleboat or rowboat and embark on an adventure. Lake Jennings is open to boating Friday through Sunday and most holidays.

Launch your own

Our new boat dock makes launching your boat easy. There is plenty of space to launch, dock and park, so you can get out and relax on the water. The lake is open to fishing and boating Friday through Sunday from 6 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Rent one of ours

We have motorboats, rowboats, paddleboats and kayaks available for rental. Our motorboats are  specially made, 16-foot Carolina Skiffs, equipped with a four or six horsepower motor. These boats are stable and comfortable for fishing and exploring the lake. We also have paddleboats that seat up to four people and single-person kayaks available for rental.

For a list of hours and prices, visit lakejennings.org/see-and-do/boating/.

Two men fishing from a driftboat in a cove at Lake Jennings.
Sister and younger brother in front seat of fishing skiff on Lake Jennings.
Man kayaking and fishing in rental kayak at Lake Jennings.

3.   Explore by foot

See the wildlife

Lake Jennings connects to San Diego’s backcountry making it a great place to see our native flora and fauna and very scenic views. The lake attracts hundreds of bird species, including bald eagles. We also get numerous mammals like deer, coyotes and bobcats.

Hike our trails

We have three main trails for you to explore and dozens of smaller trails around the lake. Check out the Flume Trail with access to the Flume bench, which provides breathtaking views of El Monte Valley and follows the path of a historic wooden water flume. You can walk 5.3 miles around the lake on the Lake Loop Trail from Friday through Sunday. Pack a camera, too. There will be plenty of scenery and wildlife to see along the way.

Fish from the shore

With miles of fishable shoreline, you will have plenty of places to cast out and catch the big one. Check with the bait and tackle shop staff to see what is biting and where. Shore fishing is open Friday through Sunday and available on the campground side of the lake every day.

Plan your visit

Come experience Lake Jennings today. It’s a refreshing place that feels miles away even though it’s close to home. For reservations, hours, hiking maps, and more information, please visitlakejennings.org.

Lake Jennings on a sunny morning.

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Catch our Trout Opener This Friday

Catch our Trout Opener This Friday

Many of us are enjoying the cooler weather and enjoying the outdoors without the heat. To local anglers, cooler weather means trout season.

On Friday, November 19, we’re launching Trout Season at Lake Jennings.

We are kicking the season off by stocking the lake with 2,000 pounds of trout. We’ll continue to stock 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of trout biweekly for a season total of 20,000 pounds. This year’s stock will be coming from Wright’s Rainbows in Idaho. Follow our link to see our complete stocking schedule.

Trout are hearty, delicious freshwater fish that many anglers enjoy – and there are many great ways to catch them at Lake Jennings.  You can fish from shore, get out into deeper water on our fishing dock, or rent kayaks or a 16-foot skiff with an outboard motor and explore the lake. Our rental boats are on a first-come, first-served basis. You can launch your own boat, too.

Lake Jennings is more than just a great fishing spot. The lake is also where Helix stores imported water from the Colorado River and Northern California, and local water from Lake Cuyamaca and El Capitan Reservoir. The water is on its way to our water treatment plant and east county homes. 

We also stocked our bait shop for trout season and do a fishing report, so you know where the fish are biting and what they’re biting.

This Week’s Fishing Report:

The report this week is that people are still catching catfish from the shoreline in Hermit and Siesta coves and near the old boat launch. Nightcrawlers and mackerel were doing the trick. Fishers off the t-dock were catching bass and panfish. Mealworms and nightcrawlers worked for the bluegill. 

The recommendation for the trout arriving this weekend is mini jigs. This all-purpose lure catches trout, bass, crappie and bluegill. For Lake Jennings, a typical setup for trout is 4 pound test with a 1/16 ounce jig. If you have trouble casting such a light jig, attach a bobber 5-6 feet above the jig. Popular jig colors for trout season are pink, orange and chartreuse.

You should also consider spending the weekend at the lake. To reserve a campsite (tent or RV) go to lakejennings.org or call 619-390-1623.

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Take a 360-degree virtual tour of east county’s future water supply

Take a 360-degree virtual tour of east county’s future water supply

We are excited to share a new, 360-degree virtual reality video tour of the East County Advanced Water Purification Program, which will create a new, local, sustainable and drought-proof water supply.

Take the 360-degree virtual tour – you’ll be greeted by the program’s Big Deal animated mascot and then immersed into a guided tour of the program’s water facilities. Look all around by simply moving your computer mouse or phone to anywhere in the video.

If you have a virtual reality headset for your cell phone, take the tour one-step further by “stepping into” the video! Virtual tour locations include the Ray Stoyer Water Recycling Facility, the East County AWP Demonstration Facility and Lake Jennings. Community groups, schools and scouts can view the video using program-provided virtual reality googles beginning in October – simply reach out to program representatives to schedule.

Scheduled to be complete in 2025, the East County AWP is a partnership between Helix Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, the City of El Cajon and the County of San Diego that will produce up to 30 percent of east county’s drinking water supply. The East County AWP will use four advanced water purification steps to produce water that is safe and near-distilled in quality. After the advanced water purification process, the purified water will be blended with water in Lake Jennings and treated again at the R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant before being distributed as drinking water.

To watch the 360-degree virtual reality video and learn more about the program, check it out via your desktop or the YouTube app to experience all features.

 

 Take the 360-degree virtual tour of ECAWP

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