Helix Water District

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

HELIX REMOVES LAST LARGE SEGMENT OF CAST IRON PIPE FROM CITY OF LEMON GROVE

 

Source:  Helix Water District

Photo:  from right: Helix Boardmember Mark Gracyk, who represents Lemon Grove, Boardmember DeAna Verbeke, Board President Joel Scalzitti and Lemon Grove assistant city manager and public works director Mike James.  Via Helix Water District

June 13, 2017 (Lemon Grove) - Helix Water District Board President Joel Scalzitti operated the excavator this morning, lowering a segment of PVC pipe into the trench at the corner of Mt. Vernon Avenue and Golden Avenue in Lemon Grove.  The pipe was signed by the Lemon Grove City Council and Helix board members, and its installation marks the removal of the last large segment of cast iron pipe in the water distribution system serving the city of Lemon Grove.

HELIX WATER TO HOLD SPECIAL MEETING ON BUDGET AND RATES TONIGHT

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2017 (La Mesa)—Helix Water District’s board will hold a special meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at the district headquarters (7811 University Avenue, La Mesa) to consider the proposed fiscal year 2017-18 budget of $88,282,730. Click to view the complete board package.  Scroll down for details on a proposed rate increase, most due to a hike in rates from the County Water Authority:

HELIX WATER DISTRICT ANNOUNCES WINNER IN ITS 2017 WATER-WISE LANDSCAPE CONTEST

 

Source: Helix Water District

May 12, 2017 (La Mesa) - Helix Water District has named Chandrika “Dusty” Patel-Lynch of La Mesa as this year’s winner of its WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The annual contest recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes which are judged on overall attractiveness, appropriate plant selection and maintenance, design and efficient irrigation methods.

EXPERT FORUM: WHAT'S IN YOUR FAUCET? ISSUES OF WATER QUALITY MAY 18

 

Source:  Helix Public Outreach from Helix Water District

May 4, 2017 (El Cajon) - The Water Conservation Garden will be holding the second event in their Expert Forum series on Thursday, May 18th at 5:30pm.

A variety of panelists, including Helix Water District's Director of Water Quality, and points of view about drinking water quality will be presented, including ocean water desalination, the pros and cons of bottled water, recycled water and ways that our water is tested.

RESERVE YOUR SEATS: HELIX WATER TALKS ON JANUARY 28TH

 

East County News Service

January 24, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Helix Water Talks is the Helix Water District’s new series of facility tours and panel discussions to give customers an inside look at how it provides a safe and reliable water supply – from the science and engineering to the policies and operations. The series begins with “On Demand: How We Deliver Water” on January 28 in El Cajon.

See below for details:

TEJEDA RESIGNS FROM HELIX WATER BOARD: WED. MEETING TO INCLUDE DISCUSSION OF REPLACEMENT AND MOVING MEETING TIMES TO EVENINGS

By Miriam Raftery

January 3, 2017 (La  Mesa) – Newly elected Helix Water District board member Lu Tejeda has resigned, effective December 30, 2016.  In a an e-mail to Board President Joel Scalzitti, Tejeda said new business opportunities could present a conflict of interest.

The remaining board members will address Tejeda’s resignation and next steps to fill the vacancy at a meeting on Wednesday, January 4 at 2 p.m.  The agenda will also include consideration of a proposal by new member Dan Gracyk to move board meetings to evenings, as members of the public have long requested.

WHO LEAKED CONFIDENTIAL PERSONNEL FILES AT HELIX WATER DISTRICT?

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 1, 2016 (La Mesa) – Someone with access to confidential files at Helix Water District violated state law and district policy by anonymously mailing part of a board candidate’s personnel file to East County Magazine.

We will not violate privacy rules by publishing the contents.  However, we did speak with the candidate, Louis Tejeda, who gave permission for us to disclose the leaking of his confidential record: a notice of proposed disciplinary action sent 21 years ago, when he was an employee of the district.

SAVING HIVES AND LIVES: BEES' RELOCATION BETTER THAN THEIR DESTRUCTION

 

By Ted Salois, Helix Water District

October 11, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - Jesse Adcock knows bees.  He moves among them with the ease and acceptance of a good friend—because he is one, even though the bees don’t know it.  

His “self-taught” expertise with the busy, buzzing, honey-makers tells him how to approach a sizable nest while remaining safe.  His choice of clothing--t-shirt, shorts and sandals--shows confidence in his judgment.  “When I first arrive at a hive, I listen to the sound the colony is making,” Adcock said.  “I can tell by the tone whether they’re angry or likely to become aggressive.”  

HELIX WATER BOARD CANDIDATES CLASH IN LIVELY CANDIDATE FORUM

 

Listen now: click the audio link to hear the candidate forum originally aired on East County Magazine's  Show on KNSJ radio on September 30, 2016.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Mark Gracyk,  Dan McMillan, Lou Tejeda and John Linden

October 5, 2016 (Lemon Grove)—Four contenders vying for two seats on the Helix Water District Board shared their goals at East County Magazine’s candidate forum  at the Lemon Grove Library on September 21st.  Incumbent John Linden defended repeated  rate hikes as necessary, while challengers  Mark Gracyk, Dan McMillan, and Louis Tejeda pledged to fight for holding the line against future rate hikes and/or trying to reduce water rates.

Candidates fielded questions from  the audience and from East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery on a wide range of issues including water quality, the future of Lake Jennings, the  land deal for sand mining El Monte Valley, their financial backgrounds and more.

Audio: 

Helix Water District Candidate Forum 2016

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: JOHN LINDEN, HELIX WATER BOARD DIRECTOR

 

You can listen now  to a podcast of our interview by clicking the audio link: https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/sites/eastcountymagazine.org/files/au..., or click "read more" and scroll down for highlights.

By Miriam Raftery

Mark your calendars for our candidate forum with Helix Water Board candidates and Lemon Grove Mayoral candidates on Wednesday, September 21 at the Lemon Grove Library.Meet candidates at 5 p.m. with the forum starting at 5:30.

September 16, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – John Linden has served on the Helix Water District Board since 2000.  He’s proud of his service and of the Helix district’s long history since its establishment back in the 1880s.  He’s running for reelection in district 1, against three challengers. We sat down for an interview with Linden that originally aired on KNSJ radio.

Audio: 

Interview with John Linden, Helix Water District Director

HELIX WATER TO CONSIDER FEES, CHANGES AT LAKE JENNINGS CAMPGROUND

 

East County News Service

August 17, 2016 (La  Mesa) – At today’s 2 p.m. meeting of the Helix Water District Board (7811 University Ave., La Mesa), directors will consider addition of fees and other changes at Lake Jennings, including adding kayak rentals and a tee-pee rental venue at the campground.  These are the latest improvements proposed by a committee led by director Joel Scalzitti.    As a result, the lake that some board  members sought to close due to budget shortfalls is now operating at a profit.  View board package and agenda.

At its last meeting, the board voted 3-2 for hefty rate hikes of 10.1%, effective on water use after  November 1,2016 and billings starting January 1,2017. That action has inspired five challengers to run against two board members who voted for this hefty rate hike as well as earlier recent increases—moves that fueled outrage in public comments and emails sent to the board.

HELIX WATER BOARD VOTES 3-2 FOR 10.3% RATE HIKE WITHOUT PUBLIC HEARING: CANDIDATES BLAST INCUMBENTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 3, 2016 (La Mesa) – With scarcely any public notice, Helix Water Board passed a 10.3% rate hike by a slim one-vote majority. The stated reason was because water use has dropped due to customers conserving water--just as the district asked them to do.

Directors Kathleen Coates-Hedberg and Joel Scalziti voted against jacking up rates, while directors John Linden, Chuck Muse and Deana Verbeke voted for the rate hike over public objections.

HELIX WATER DISTRICT APPROVES THREE WATERING DAYS PER WEEK

 

East County News Service

April 8, 2016 (La Mesa) - At their April 6, 2016 meeting, Helix Water District’s Board of Directors approved a three day per  week limit on landscape irrigation, rescinding the two-day limit in effect since June 2015, when the State Water Resources Control Board mandated a 25 percent reduction in statewide water use.

PADRE DAM ACCEPTS EAST COUNTY ADVANCED WATER PURIFICATION STUDY

 

Padre Dam and Helix Water Districts to develop new source of drinking water that is safe, locally-controlled and drought-proof

East County News Service

February 18, 2016 (Santee) - Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors accepted the East County Advanced Water Purification Program study at its February 3 board meeting. Additionally, the Board authorized a contract for $3,497,500 with Kennedy/Jenks Consultants to provide as-needed engineering services for the program.

DROUGHT RELIEF MAY BE IN SIGHT FOR HELIX WATER USERS

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 16, 2016 (La Mesa) — On February 11th, the state adopted new regulations to reduce conservation mandates for water agencies that have taken steps to boost local water supplies .  Helix Water District is expected to get a credit for water bought from the new Carlsbad Desalinization plant, as well as due to high inland temperatures.  The district must apply for the break, but if approved, Helix could see its conservation mandate reduced to reducing water use by 12% instead of 20% through October 2016.

Helix customers have reduced water use 23% compared to 2013, far exceeding the Governor’s 20% required reduction for the district. If the restrictions on water use are eased, next up the board could consider easing or eliminating penalties on water users who exceed the limit—welcome relief for homeowners on larger lots struggling to keep large trees alive as hot weather arrives early.

STATE MAY GIVE HELIX WATER USERS A BREAK ON CONSERVATION MANDATES

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 16, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Ratepayers in the Helix Water district have been under a state mandate to reduce water use by 20% under the Governor’s orders imposed last year during the drought.  But a new draft regulatory framework just released by the Staste Water Board would cut that to 12%, if approved.

HELIX WATER WINS TRANSPARENCY AWARD FOR GOVERNANCE, DROPS MEMBERSHIP IN GOOD GOVERNANCE ORGANIZATION

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 10, 2015 (La Mesa) – Helix Water District has received the “District Transparency Certificate of Excellence” from the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF), a nonprofit that promotes special districts that excel in governance and management.

Ironically, however, just one week after that announcement, Helix board president DeAna Verbeke asked staff not to renew the district’s membership in the California Special Districts Association (CSDA), which supports the SDLF and its goals.  The CSDA promotes good governance and improved local services for independent special districts(such as water and fire boards) that deliver public services.

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