Sustainable Utility

At Helix, we are focused on the development of a sustainable water supply, and helping our customers on the journey to sustainable water demand. We are also focused on reducing our energy demand and carbon footprint, and doing our part to usher in a sustainable future.

Our Path to Sustainable Energy Use

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

Solar Energy

The solar panel array we installed over our operations center in El Cajon in 2011 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. In 2019, we had implemented 148 of the audit’s 150 arecommendations.

Rates Management

We constantly monitor SDG&E rate schedules and alter our operations as needed to minimize energy costs.

Load Shifting

We pump water into our distribution system and reservoir tanks during off-peak periods when SDG&E 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 have installed window film and energy efficient lights in our operations center and administration office.

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’s Power Your Drive program.

We have 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 average temperatures include less snow in the Sierra, higher water demand for agriculture and urban landscapes, and more extreme drought. For California’s cities, the path to sustainability is to develop a portfolio of water resources resilient to drought, and through the San Diego County Water Authority, Helix and the other 23 water utilities serving the San Diego region have collaboratively developed the 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, and when it agreed to transfer water to the San Diego County Water Authority it significantly increased the reliability of our water supply.

Advanced Treatment

With microfiltration and reverse osmosis we can turn water from the Pacific Ocean, and our own wastewater, into drinking water of the highest quality. This is a drought-proof water supply.

Local Water Storage

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

1991

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

2015

  • Metropolitan Water District of So Cal 57% 57%
  • Imperial Irrigation District 19% 19%
  • All American and Coachella Canal Lining 15% 15%
  • Recycled Water 5% 5%
  • Groundwater 3% 3%
  • Local Surface Water 1% 1%

2035

  • Imperial Irrigation District 30% 30%
  • Metropolitan Water District of So Cal 18% 18%
  • Potable Reuse 15% 15%
  • All American and Coachella Canal Lining 12% 12%
  • Seawater Desalination 7% 7%
  • Recycled Water 7% 7%
  • Local Surface Water 7% 7%
  • Groundwater 4% 4%

Our Path to Sustainable Water Demand

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

91 GPCD

Helix customers are using 91 gallons of water per capita per day, down from 106 gallons in 2011. Average per capita water use in the San Diego region used to be over 200 gallons per day.

13%

The San Diego County Water Authority expects conservation to contribute up to 13 percent of the region’s water supply in 2020.

50%

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

600,000

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

530,000

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

100,000

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

Learn more about water conservation.