Sustainable Utility

At Helix, we focus on the development of a sustainable water supply. It’s important to us to help our customers on the journey to sustainable water demand. We also focus on reducing our energy demand and carbon footprint, and doing our part in adding to a sustainable future.

Our Path to Sustainable Energy Use

In April 2019, San Diego Gas and Electric honored Helix with an Energy Showcase Award. We showed leadership in advancing energy efficiency and sustainability in the San Diego region. For Helix, the award was confirmation that the district is on the right path.

Solar Energy

The solar panel array at our operations center provides 90-100 percent of the facility’s energy.

Direct Access Program

We reduced costs by an average of 18 percent by purchasing energy through the State of California’s Direct Access Program.

Energy Audit

We retained DHK Engineers in 2012 to perform an energy audit. By 2019, we had implemented 148 of the audit’s 150 recommendations.

Rates Management

We track SDG&E rate schedules and adjust our operations as needed to cut energy costs.

Load Shifting

We pump water into our distribution system and reservoir tanks at times when rates are lower.

Pump Upgrades

We equipped our pumps with power meters and can monitor and operate them remotely to maximize efficiency.

Facility Upgrades

We installed window film and energy efficient lights in our office buildings.

Electric Vehicles

We received $5,500 in state rebates and expect to save $1,000 annually in fuel costs for each of our six Prius sedans. Our next step is to convert our light-duty trucks to electricity.

EV Charging Stations

We installed 20 electric vehicle charging stations with a grant from SDG&E.

We reduced our annual energy use by 25 percent over the last 10 years.

Photo: Reverse osmosis cylinders at the Carlsbad Desalination Plant.

Our Path to a Sustainable Water Supply

The impacts of warmer temperatures include less snow in the Sierra, higher water demand and more extreme drought. For California, the path to sustainability is to have water resources resilient to drought. Helix and the other 23 water utilities serving the San Diego region have developed a model.

The San Diego region’s water supply portfolio is based on three pillars, and the pillars guided the diversification of our supply over the last 25 years.

Senior Water Rights

The Imperial Irrigation District has the most senior water rights on the Colorado River. When it agreed to transfer water to the San Diego County Water Authority, our water supply became more reliable.

Advanced Treatment

With microfiltration and reverse osmosis we can turn ocean and waste water, into high-quality drinking water. This is a drought-proof water supply.

Explore the East County Advanced Water Purification Program


Local Water Storage

The construction of Olivenhain Dam and the raising of San Vicente Dam allow us to store a 6-month water supply.


  • Metropolitan Water District of So Cal 95% 95%
  • Local Surface Water 5% 5%


  • Imperial Irrigation District 31% 31%
  • All American and Coachella Canal Lining 19% 19%
  • Metropolitan Water District of So Cal 18% 18%
  • Local Surface Water 10% 10%
  • Seawater Desalination 8% 8%
  • Recycled Water 5% 5%
  • Groundwater 5% 5%
  • San Luis Rey Water Transfer 4% 4%


  • Imperial Irrigation District 32% 32%
  • Potable Reuse 18% 18%
  • All American and Coachella Canal Lining 12% 12%
  • Seawater Desalination 9% 9%
  • Metropolitan Water District of So Cal 8% 8%
  • Recycled Water 7% 7%
  • Local Surface Water 7% 7%
  • Groundwater 4% 4%
  • San Luis Rey Water Transfer 3% 3%

Our Path to Sustainable Water Demand

Making homeowners and business owners aware of the benefits of water conservation works. 


People in the San Diego region are using half the water they used in the 1990s.


Reducing landscape irrigation by 50 percent is easy to do with Mediterranean and native plants and drip irrigation.


More than 500,000 water-efficient toilets have been installed in the region.


More than 600,000 water-efficient showerheads have been installed in the region.


More than 100,000 high-efficiency clothes washers have been installed in the region.

Learn more about water conservation.


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