How wildfires affect California’s water supply

How wildfires affect California’s water supply

From the Public Policy Institute of California —
Summer marks the traditional beginning of California’s fire season, although the warming climate has stretched the season considerably. Until the winter rains arrive, wildfires will burn forests and grasslands throughout the state. Since January 1, about 3,700 fires have consumed more than 111,000 acres of land—outpacing 2017, the most destructive and deadly fire season in state history.

Read the Public Policy Institute of California Blog Post

Helix Water District Opposes Water Tax and SB 998

Helix Water District Opposes Water Tax and SB 998

At the July 18, 2018 board meeting, Helix Water District’s board of directors voted unanimously to adopt resolutions opposing two water industry bills currently in the state legislature. Both are anticipated to be considered during the upcoming August legislative session.

Water Tax – SB 623 and Budget Trailer Bill

A proposed statewide tax on drinking water is being advanced through Senate Bill 623, a two-year bill introduced in 2017 by William Monning (D-Carmel), and a 2018 Brown Administration budget trailer bill related to safe drinking water. The public goods tax would be added to water bills and used to fund drinking water solutions for disadvantaged communities.

As currently structured, SB 623 would raise an estimated $160 million in annual revenue. Of that total, approximately 85 percent would be collected through a tax on drinking water provided to residential, businesses, industrial and institutional customers; the remaining 15 percent would be collected through a tax on confined animal facilities, bulk or packaged fertilizer materials, and dairies and producers of milk.

Supporters of the tax cite the urgent need to provide safe drinking water to disadvantaged communities and find a reliable solution to important public health issues.

Learn more about support for the budget trailer bill and SB 623

Opponents of the tax agree with the goal but believe that a tax on drinking water works against the goal of keeping water affordable and that alternative funding solutions should be utilized.

Learn more about opposition to the budget trailer bill,
SB 623 and alternative funding solutions here

On July 18, 2018, Helix Water District’s board of directors adopted Resolution 18-29, opposing (unless amended) a tax on drinking water.

Read the resolution and reasoning here

Prohibitions on Shutoff – SB 998

Senate Bill 998, introduced by Bill Dodd (D-Napa) would create a statewide program that would establish state-wide limits on how a water provider handles residential water service disconnections for non-payment, including establishing a cap on reconnection fees.

Supporters of the bill state that it would protect low-income families from having their water service disconnected as water prices statewide continue to increase.

Learn more about support for SB 998 here

Opponents of the bill are concerned that the cap on reconnection fees have no direct relationship with a water provider’s actual costs to reconnect service, triggering Proposition 218 concerns, and preventing disconnections would result in a loss of revenue for non-profit water providers, requiring other customers to shoulder the burden of these missed payments.

Learn more about opposition to SB 998 here

On July 18, 2018, Helix Water District’s board of directors adopted Resolution 18-30, opposing Senate Bill 998.

Read the resolution and reasoning here


Our annual Water Quality Report is available now

Our annual Water Quality Report is available now

Helix Water District’s annual Water Quality Report is now available in English and Spanish.  This year’s report documents our water quality throughout calendar year 2017.



The report contains important information about the source and quality of Helix’s drinking water. As in years past, our tap water met all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state of California drinking water health standards.

For questions regarding the report, call 619-667-6248 or email To have a paper copy of the report mailed to your home, call 619-466-0585.

Water bond on November ballot as Proposition 3

Water bond on November ballot as Proposition 3

Photo: future location of Sites Reservoir in Northern California (Los Angeles Times)
From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)
The Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018 will appear as Proposition 3 on California’s November 6 ballot. Proposition numbers were recently assigned by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. If passed, Proposition 3 would be the third water bond adopted by California voters in the last four years.

Proposition 3 would make available $8.9 billion in general obligation bonds to fund projects for water supply and quality, watershed restoration, fish and wildlife protection, sustainable groundwater management and repair of existing dams and canals.  Proposition 3 funds would augment $1.6 billion for water-related projects already approved by voters on June 5 with the passage of Proposition 68.

$8.9 Billion

Proposition 3
On November 2018 Ballot

$1.6 Billion

Proposition 68
Passed by Voters in June 2018

$2.7 Billion

Proposition 1
Passed by Voters in 2014
On June 27-28, the California Water Commission completed the scoring of eight proposed water storage projects seeking funding from Proposition 1, which was passed by voters in 2014. The goal of building new dams and reservoirs is to collect more water during wet years and have it available during dry periods. The amount of time taken to award the funds has been a controversial subject.

“We are now on the doorstep of awarding funding from Proposition 1 to water storage projects across California,” Commission Chair Armando Quintero said. “We eagerly look forward to next month when we can make preliminary awards to these diverse projects that collectively will add 4.3 million acre-feet of water storage capacity to California.”

Read About the Water Storage Projects Receiving Proposition 1 Funding

How we maintain a reliable water supply (video)

How we maintain a reliable water supply (video)

Maintaining a reliable water supply for our customers requires the continuous, 24/7 operation and maintenance of Helix’s water distribution system:













Procurement, installation, maintenance and replacement of each of the thousands of components in our water distribution system is the responsibility of Helix’s operations staff. They are the best at what they do, and nobody works harder.

May 20-26 is National Public Works Week

May 20-26 is National Public Works Week

From providing clean water to disposing of solid waste, to building roads and bridges or planning for and implementing mass transit, to removing snow on roadways or devising emergency management strategies to meet natural or manmade disasters, public works services determine society’s quality of life.
May 20-26, 2018 is National Public Works Week, a reminder to recognize the public works professionals responsible for the construction, operations and maintenance of the critical infrastructure we all rely on every day.

We would like to say “Thank You” to all the men and women who put safe water at our fingertips, keep us warm, light our homes, manage our waste and get us where we’re going, including the public works staff at the cities of La Mesa, Lemon Grove and El Cajon, and, especially, all of the professionals right here at Helix Water District.

Photo: Helix Field Operations Staff


The numbers below show a glimpse of what we accomplished in Fiscal Year 2016-17. It gives you an idea of what we do at Helix Water District each day.


Feet of pipeline


Feet of pipeline


Service laterals installed


Service laterals


in System




Specialty valves


In System


Hydrants Maintained




in System


3/4″ – 2″ meters


Meter maintenance




per day


Customer service
field dispatches



Will Congress ban Delta tunnels lawsuits?

Will Congress ban Delta tunnels lawsuits?

On April 10, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Board of Directors voted to spend $10.8 billion for the construction of two tunnels to transport water under the Sacramento River Delta. This week, Congressman Ken Calvert of Riverside County inserted language into a federal spending bill that would prohibit any and all state or federal lawsuits against the project.

Read the Sacramento Bee Story

Colorado River Basin Snowpack 43% of Average

Colorado River Basin Snowpack 43% of Average

The outlook for the most important river in the Southwestern U.S. remains grim this summer after April storms failed to produce much snow in the mountains that feed the waterway, forecasters said Monday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the Colorado River is expected to carry only 43 percent of the average amount of water into Lake Powell, one of two huge reservoirs that store and distribute the river.

Read the Colorado Public Radio Story

May 15 Snowpack 
Upper Colorado River Basin
May 6-12 is Drinking Water Week

May 6-12 is Drinking Water Week

You probably don’t even have Drinking Water Week on your calendar. But, for the American Water Works Association, Drinking Water Week is right up there with our other holidays, a time for us to come together and celebrate the things that really matter – like water.

 5 Reasons to Celebrate Your Tap Water


Your tap water is regulated and monitored to ensure its quality

We take over 200 tests per day at our treatment plant and use dozens of continuous monitoring devices. And we test more than 150 field samples per week to ensure that the water in our pipes maintains its quality all the way to your faucet. Quality is our highest concern.


Your tap water costs a tiny fraction of what it costs to buy your own

Your Helix tap water costs a penny a gallon, and that includes the base charge. Now go to the store. The single-use plastic bottles cost 100 times more, and the fill-your-own-container vending machine costs 20 to 50 times more.  That’s why you should fill and refill your own water bottle – with tap water.


Your tap water is efficient

At 8.34 pounds per gallon, water is just about the heaviest commodity to move, and we deliver millions of gallons of it every day – through the 728 miles of pipe in our water distribution system, which your water bills help maintain.  Imagine, for a second, if we delivered it in trucks. How much would that water cost? How much energy would it take? How would our roads handle the traffic, and how would you handle the congestion? Tap water is as efficient as it gets.


Your tap water is reliable

Need water? You got it. At your fingertips. Just turn on the faucet. That’s our product, our service and our promise.


Your tap water has never been better than it is now

Like the electronic device you are reading this on, technology is only getting better, faster, and smarter. As technology improves, so does water treatment, water quality monitoring and the reliability of our distribution system. We’re not in to drones and driverless cars – just the best water we can possibly provide.

World Water Day Through a California Lens

World Water Day Through a California Lens

From the Public Policy Institute of California —

Happy World Water Day―a day that brings attention and, hopefully, action to some of the world’s most pressing water challenges. This year’s theme is “exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.” It’s a concept that shows the deep linkages among many water problems—and the need to tackle these problems jointly.

California’s complex array of water challenges make it something of a policy lab for trying out a “portfolio approach” that addresses issues in an integrated way. Although California has one of the world’s largest economies, the state faces many of the same water problems seen around the world.

Read the article at

How to manage forest to protect water

How to manage forest to protect water

Have you ever been to Ashland, Oregon? It’s a small town of just 21,000 people, but it has an international reputation as the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Today, Ashland is developing a new reputation — as a leader in forest management and a model for other cities that need to protect their water resources against the ever-growing risk of wildfire.

Wildfires drop ash on to rivers and reservoirs and leave behind a burn area vulnerable to erosion. Adding sediment to water reduces water quality and increases treatment costs. And, over decades, sediment builds up behind dams, reducing the amount of water they can store.

Read more about Ashland’s solution

MWD exploring $10B investment in Delta tunnels

MWD exploring $10B investment in Delta tunnels

Photo: Sacramento River, just south of Sacramento, flowing into the Delta. (Source: USFW)

From the Sacramento Bee —
In a dramatic twist on the Delta tunnels saga, Southern California’s powerful water agency is exploring the feasibility of owning the majority stake in the controversial project, a move that raises fears of a “water grab.”

Under the plan floated Monday by three board members, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California would pour an extra $6 billion or more into the tunnels plan beyond what it has already pledged, enabling the twin tunnels to get built at the same time. Last week, facing a significant funding shortfall, the Brown administration announced it was scaling back the project to just one tunnel for now.

Read the Sacramento Bee Story

Map Below
Map shows proposed route of twin tunnels to transport water from the Sacramento River under the Delta to the California Aqueduct, which transports the water to Southern California. (Source: KQED)