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.