Helix Water District

FITCH AFFIRMS AN AA+ CREDIT RATING FOR HELIX WATER DISTRICT

Source:  Helix Water District

August 26, 2021 (La Mesa) - On Tuesday, August 3, Fitch Ratings, a global independent credit rating organization, affirmed Helix Water District's AA+ rating with a stable outlook.


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LAKE JENNINGS NAMES WINNERS IN SPRING PHOTO CONTEST FOR 2021 “LIFE AT THE LAKE” THEME

East County News Service
 
Photos courtesy of Helix Water District
 
June 28, 2021 (Lakeside) – In the 10th annual Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest, 61 photographers submitted entries. This year’s theme was “Life at the Lake.”

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HELIX WATER DISTRICT STUDENT POSTER CONTEST WINNERS HIGHLIGHT WATER IS LIFE

Source:  Helix Water District

June 17, 2021 (La Mesa) - Helix Water District honored local student artists for their winning Water Is Life posters at a virtual awards ceremony during Helix Water District’s board meeting on June 16, 2021. 


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT TO USE LEGAL SETTLEMENT TO REDUCE FUTURE RATES

District to hold rate hearing on April 28
 
Source: Helix Water District 
 
March 19, 2021 (La Mesa) -- Helix Water District will use $2.8 million received from the San Diego County Water Authority as part of a legal settlement with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to reduce future water rates for the district’s customers.

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HELIX WATER DISTRICT LAUNCHES 2021 LAKE JENNINGS SPRING PHOTO CONTEST

Source: Helix Water District

March 4, 2021 (Lakeside) -- Helix Water District has launched its 10th annual Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest to share the beauty of its reservoir with the local community. The contest is open to photos taken at Lake Jennings between March 1 and May 31, 2021.


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT TO VOTE WED. ON MOVING MEETINGS TO 2 P.M.

By Miriam Raftery

February 12, 2021 (La Mesa) – Helix Water District Board President Joel Scalzitti wants to move public board meetings to 2 p.m.. The issue will be on the agenda on Wednesday, Feb. 17.


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT INCUMBENTS ALL WIN RE-ELECTION AFTER DISTRICT DELAYS RATE INCREASE DUE TO COVID-19

By Jonathan Goetz 
 
Photos (L – R): McMillan, Scalzitti & Gracyk (source: Helix Water District)
 
November 9, 2020 (La Mesa) – Directors Dan McMillan, Joel Scalzitti and Mark Gracyk will all return to the Helix Water District Board, after voters rewarded the incumbents for delaying rate increases due to COVID-19, when many ratepayers are struggling financially. Instead, Helix is dipping into its reserves.
 
McMillan defeated Doug Sterling with 75% of the vote.  Scalzitti took 57% of the vote in a four-candidate race, topping Vickie Knight Butcher who got 27%, Lu Tejeda 12%, and Tyler Logan 4%. Gracyk ran unopposed. 

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DIRECTOR JOEL SCALZITTI SEEKS REELECTION TO HELIX WATER DISTRICT BOARD, CITES PASSION FOR PUBLIC SERVICE

View video interview with Joel Scalzitti: https://youtu.be/-O30iV7VXKw

By Miriam Raftery

Joel Scalzitti, past president of the Helix Water Board, is running for reelection in district 5, which includes portions of El Cajon, Granite Hills, Bostonia and Lakeside. 

He’s served on the board for over 10 years, owns  local businesses including a water service company for freeway construction, a donut shop and a deli.  He also serves as a member of the San Diego County Water Authority Board and the Advanced Water Purification board. He’s also served on several Helix Water District committees, including the audit committee, water quality and resources committee, and a committee on parks. In addition, he led efforts to keep the Lake Jennings campground open.

He’s one of four candidates in the race, including Vickie Knight Butcher,  Luis Tejeda, and Tyler Logan. (View our interview with Butcher.)  Tejeda and Logan do not have ballot statements or campaign websites that we could find.

Scalzitti has depth of experience in water issues and says he has a "passion for public service."  Here are highlights of Joel Scalzitti’s responses to our questions:


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SCALZITTI FACES CHALLENGER WITH A “RESERVOIR” OF EXPERTISE IN HELIX WATER BOARD DISTRICT 5 RACE

By Miriam Raftery

October 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Helix Water District Director Joel Scalzitti faces three challengers—including Vickie Butcher, who brings a “reservoir” of knowledge on water issues as well as decades of experience in water policy and infrastructure to the race. The other two challengers have no ballot statements and an online search found no campaign webpage or Facebook site.

District 5 covers the eastern portion of the Helix district including portions of El Cajon, Granite Hills, Bostonia and Lakeside. View map.


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT’S DEMONSTRATION WATER-WISE GARDENS ARE COMPLETE

 

Source:  Helix Water District

View video: https://youtu.be/OuJTPTgV3_8

July 16, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Helix Water District’s new demonstration landscape, located at its administration office in La Mesa, is complete. The project beautifies the neighborhood and inspires others to install WaterSmart landscaping.

The demonstration landscape includes three unique water-wise gardens on the streets around the building, including a Mediterranean garden on University Avenue, a desert landscape on Lee Avenue and a California native landscape along the building’s main entrance on Quince Street. Each is full of flowers, colors and textures.


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HELIX WATER TO VOTE WED. ON RAISE FOR GENERAL MANAGER

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

 

July 14, 2020 (La Mesa) – Helix Water District’s board of directors will vote this Wed., July 15 at 5 p.m. on a proposal to give a 5 percent annual raise for General Manager Carlos Lugo. The raise would be effective Feb. 1, 2021 for each year though 2023.


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT’S ANNUAL WATER QUALITY REPORT AVAILABLE ONLINE

Source: Helix Water District

June 30, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Helix Water District’s 2020 Water Quality Report, which documents the quality of its treated water throughout 2019, is now available in English at hwd.fyi/wqr2020-english and Spanish at hwd.fyi/wqr2020-espanol.

The annual water quality report contains important information about the sources and quality of customers’ drinking water. As in years past, Helix Water District tap water met all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state of California health standards for drinking water.


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REGIONAL COLLABORATION ON WATER PURIFICATION PROJECT EXPANDS LOCAL, DROUGHT-PROOF SUPPLY OF DRINKING WATER

Source: Helix Water District

May 29, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Helix Water District’s Board of Directors authorized its General Manager to sign water purchase agreements for the East County Advanced Water Purification (ECAWP) project at a special meeting on May 27.

The project is a collaborative, regional effort that will diversify the district’s water portfolio, provide a drought-proof supply and further enhance reliability by purifying treated wastewater using the district’s Lake Jennings and other facilities.

The $681 million project, led by the ECAWP Joint Powers Authority, will recycle daily wastewater flows from Santee, El Cajon, Lakeside, Winter Gardens and Alpine. Treated water will undergo membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and advanced oxidation to produce water that is near-distilled in quality.


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT HOSTS VIRTUAL FOOD DRIVE

 
Source: Helix Water District
 
April 17, 2020 (La Mesa) -- 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. 
 
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.
 
“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.”
 

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HELIX WATER DISTRICT SUSPENDS LATE FEES AND SHUTOFFS TO SUPPORT CUSTOMERS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Source: Helix Water District
 
March 20, 2020 (La Mesa) -- 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. 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.

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EXPLORE THE HISTORY OF WATER IN EAST COUNTY ON JANUARY 25

Source: Helix Water District

Photo: Dignitaries rode boats to celebrate opening day of the San Diego Flume in 1889, which brought water from Lake Cuyamaca to meet the needs of East County residents.

 January 15, 2020 (La Mesa) -- At the next Helix Water Talks, on Saturday, January 25, Helix Water District will take customers through 130 years of local history including how the need for a robust water infrastructure played into development of East County and how Helix Water District was formed to meet that need.

The doors open at 8:30 a.m. at Helix’s administration office in La Mesa. The free event includes coffee and bagels, a presentation and an hour-long, 3-floor tour of the district’s collection of historical photos.

“The history of Helix Water District and our role in developing and providing water for East County over the last century is fascinating,” said Helix Water District General Manager Carlos Lugo. “Our customers really enjoy this event.”


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HELIX WATER CONTINUES TO EVALUATE LOCAL DRINKING WATER PROJECT

Source: Helix Water 

 

Image: rendering of East County Advanced Water Purification Project. Source: Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s ECAWP website.

 

November 20, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- On November 5, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, city of El Cajon and County of San Diego formed a Joint Powers Authority to serve as the governing body for the East County Advanced Water Purification project.  A Helix Water District representative will serve as an ex officio, non-voting member of the JPA board. 


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HELIX WATER CUSTOMERS VENT OVER HIGHER BILLS, BUT MOST WERE MISPERCEPTIONS, DISTRICT SAYS

By Mike Allen
 
October 30, 2019 (La Mesa) -- Customers of Helix Water District complaining about their bills doubling and tripling found out their perceptions weren’t in line with reality.
 
The venting about the bills began about a week ago on the online community forum website Nextdoor, instigated by one customer who said her family’s water bill increased 130 percent over bills she received in the last four years.

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SEE AND LEARN HOW WATER IS DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME OCT. 26

Source: Helix Water District 

October 21, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- This Saturday, October 26, Helix Water District is hosting Helix Water Talks, a behind-the-scenes look at how their field operations crews maintain the vast water distribution system that delivers water from their treatment plant in Lakeside to 276,000 people in El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Spring Valley. 


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HELIX AND PADRE DAM HELP RESTORE WATER IN PARADISE

East County News Service
 
Photo courtesy of Helix Water District
 
September 4, 2019 (Paradise, Calif.) --The wildfire that killed 85 people last year in Paradise, California burned down nearly the entire town, destroying over 19,000 structures.  It also left more than 10,000 residents without water deemed unfit to drink. The fire burned through pipes and also contaminated most water mains with chemicals.

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SMART LEAK DETECTOR REBATES FOR HELIX WATER AND SWEETWATER CUSTOMERS CAN HELP REDUCE BILLS

By Miriam Raftery

August 18, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Through a new pilot program, customers of Helix Water and Sweetwater Authority can received a $100 rebate on a qualifying smart leak detector purchased August 1st or later, while supplies last.  Learn more and apply here.


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT VOTES 4-1 TO APPROVE RATE HIKE FOR RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES

Board President Dan McMillan votes against the measure

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

August 17, 2019 (La Mesa) -- Water from the Helix Water District (HWD), which serves some 276,000 residents throughout East County San Diego, is going to get a little more expensive in spite of ample water supply in storage.


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WHAT’S ON TAP IN THE HELIX WATER DISTRICT?

By Miriam Raftery

 

July 9, 2019 (La Mesa) – Ratepayers in the Helix Water District may want to be aware of several newsworthy matters including a new report on water quality, a July 25 Helix Water Chat on water supply, and upcoming votes on water rates. 


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT BEGINS BUDGET PROCESS FOR NEXT YEAR AND DENIES FEE WAIVER TO NEW PROPERTY OWNER

 

 

By Allan Acevedo

 

April 23, 2019 (La Mesa) – Helix Water District’s Board of Directors held a sparsely attended meeting last Wednesday that covered major topics including establishing guidelines to develop next year’s budget—including possible rate hikes.  Other issues covered included reconciling current policies with unfunded state mandates and reviewing specific actions on parcels.

 

The District provides drinking water for over 273,000 people in the communities of La Mesa, Lemon Grove, El Cajon, Spring Valley and portions of Santee, Lakeside and San Diego County.

 


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT APPROVES $8 MILLION PAY-DOWN OF PENSION LIABILITIES

 
 
Source: Helix Water District
 
March 19, 2019 (La Mesa) -- The Helix Water District Board of Directors approved on February 13, 2019 a one-time, $5 million payment in 2019 and an additional $3 million in payments over the next four years to reduce the district’s unfunded employee pension liabilities.

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HELIX WATER DISTRICT LAUNCHES 2019 LAKE JENNINGS SPRING PHOTO CONTEST

 

 

Source:  Helix Water District

March 19, 2019 (Lakeside) - Helix Water District has launched its eighth annual Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest to share the beauty of its reservoir with the local community. The contest is open to photos taken at Lake Jennings between March 1 and May 31, 2019.


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HELIX WATER BOARD TO HEAR FINAL REPORT ON COMPENSATION STUDY AT PUBLIC WORKSHOP MARCH 27

 
 
Source: Helix Water District
 
March 19, 2019 (La Mesa) - On March 27, 2019, the Helix Water District Board of Directors will hear the final report on the compensation and benefits study conducted for the district by Reward Strategy Group. The public workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m.  on March 27 at Helix’s administration office, 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa. 

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CONTRACTOR RESPONSIBLE FOR GAS LINE DAMAGE ON JAMACHA, HELIX WATER SAYS

 

 

East County News Service

Paul Kruze contributed to this report

September 20, 2018 (Rancho San Diego) – Damage to a gas pipeline in Rancho San Diego on September 17th was caused by a third-party contractor, Orion Construction, according to a statement issued by Helix Water District.


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT ANNOUNCES WINNER OF 2018 WATERSMART LANDSCAPE CONTEST

 

Source: Helix Water District

June 1, 2018 (La Mesa) -- Helix Water District has named Carey Hultgren and Paul Geldbach of La Mesa as the winner of its 2018 WaterSmart Landscape Contest, an annual competition that recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on design and overall attractiveness, appropriate plant selection and maintenance, and irrigation methods.


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WATER TESTING FOR LEAD COMES UP CLEAN IN CAJON VALLEY UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

East County News Service

June 18, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – A new state program authorizes school districts to work with local water districts to provide free lead testing of drinking water at all school sites.  The results are in for Cajon Valley Union School District campuses, which draw water from three water agencies: Helix Water District, Otay Water District and Padre Dam Municipal Water District.


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