Emergencies come in different sizes — from a pipe break causing a water quality issue on one street, to an earthquake impacting all of San Diego County. Our focus, throughout an emergency, is maintaining a safe water supply and providing the critical information our customers need.

Our Emergency Plan

Water Supply

Backup power supplies at our water treatment plant and pump stations assure that we can continue treating and distributing water when the electrical grid goes down.


Our EOC (emergency operations center), where we coordinate operations and communications with customers, agencies and media runs on solar power and a backup generator.

Shared Resources

Helix, other water agencies and cities have shared resources agreements, so equipment and key people can be allocated where and when they are needed.


Helix’s field operations, GIS and customer service staff coordinate to quickly identify impacted customers and broadcast recorded phone messages to them using Text-Em-All’s web-based software.


A link on our homepage will take customers to a blog post continuously updated with critical information. We will respond to customers who submit questions and comments.


We will continuously update Twitter with critical information and respond to customer questions.

Cedar Fire in 2003

 (Photo: San Diego Union Tribune)

Your Emergency Plan

You want to get prepared for an emergency right now, and know how to locate and make sure friends and families are OK when it happens. 

Know Your Hazards

Wildfire, Earthquakes, Floodplains

The County of San Diego’s Know Your Hazards tool shows you the wildfire, earthquake, flooding and tsunami hazard levels at your home address. Click the launch button, click OK, enter your address and click on each hazard layer, one at a time.
Go to https://www.readysandiego.org/content/oesready/en-us/know-your-hazards.html

Dam Inundation Zones

Dam inundation zones and maps provide information for emergency planning.
Go to https://fmds.water.ca.gov/maps/damim/

Get Prepared

Sign Up for Emergency Notices

Registering your cellphone with AlertSanDiego, a County of San Diego phone app that assures you are notified when an emergency impacts your neighborhood or the region.
Register at https://www.readysandiego.org/alertsandiego/

Make a Plan

Use the County of San Diego’s Personal Disaster Plan to prepare for, respond to and recover from an emergency. It’s a fill-in-the-blanks template and also tells you how to assemble your emergency kit.
Go to https://www.readysandiego.org/content/oesready/en-us/make-a-plan.html

Monitor the Emergency

When wildfires and other emergencies happen, go to our website at hwd.com or Twitter for the latest news. Helix, Cal Fire and other government agencies use Twitter to reach residents with updates and information. Here is how you install Twitter on your smartphone.

On an iPhone

1. Click on App Store icon
2. Search for Twitter
3. Click “Get” then “Install”
4. Sign up
5. Create a username

On an Android Phone

1. Click on Play Store icon
2. Search for Twitter
3. Click “Install”
4. Sign up
5. Create a username

Follow Helix

1. Click in “Search Twitter” field
2. Type “helixwater”
3. Click “Follow” on Helix’s Twitter page

Other Helix Information Sources

If possible, we will continuously update critical water supply information and respond to customer questions on the following channels.




Other County Information Sources

The county provides information on evacuations, shelters, road closures and other disaster-related services on the following channels:



SD Emergency smartphone app 



Know How to Store and Disinfect Water

How to Store Water

  • Store in a cool, dark place at least a week’s supply of drinking water for each family member (one gallon per person per day)
  • Store at least 2 gallons of water in your vehicle
  • Store additional water for hygiene, cooking, and pets
  • Replace your stored water every six months
  • Clean, heavy, opaque bottles with screw on lids are preferable for storing water

How to Disinfect Water

The USEPA and Red Cross recommend the following methods:

  • Boil for 5-10 minutes, or
  • Add 8 drops of non-concentrated household bleach solution per gallon of water or 5 drops of concentrated household bleach per gallon of clear water, mix well and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, add 5-10 more drops of bleach. A slight smell or taste of chlorine indicates water is adequately disinfected, or
  • Add 20 drops of 2% USP tincture of iodine per gallon of water. If water is cloudy, add 20 more drops and let stand 30 minutes, or
  • Use commercial purification tablets and follow package instructions

Alternate Water Sources

  • Ice
  • Water heater
  • Toilet tanks (not the bowl) if the water hasn’t been treated
  • Swimming pools (for hygiene purposes only). Drinking swimming pool water is not recommended because chemicals can build up to harmful levels


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.