Padre Dam Staff Provide Aid to Paradise
Padre Dam employees Jesse Knowles and Austin Darley spent a week in August assisting the Paradise Irrigation District with disaster recovery in the wake of the devastating Camp Fire. 

The  Camp Fire burned through the town of Paradise, California in November 2018, causing  significant damage to Paradise Irrigation District's infrastructure. As a result, more than 10,500 customers were advised not to drink their water because of the contamination from benzene detected in distribution pipelines and water service lines.

Padre Dam employees along with four Helix Water District employees spent the week in Paradise working to ensure water safety. This included flushing water through individual  home and business connections as well as establishing temporary connections for Paradise residents. 

Paradise Irrigation District requested assistance through the California Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network, a mutual aid program that works in collaboration with the State Office of Emergency Services. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse Padre Dam for all expenses, including payroll and travel.

"Our community knows what it means to be devastated by a wildfire," said Paul Clarke, Director of Operations at Padre Dam. "We saw first-hand the challenges of keeping water flowing during the 2003 Cedar Fire. Clean, safe drinking water is a basic human need and we were honored to help our colleagues up north." 
Scheduled Rate Increases Go Into Effect
As part of the District's Five-year Business Plan and Budget, water and sewer use beginning on November 1, 2019 will include an internal rate increase that will appear on bills mailed on or after December 1, 2019. Pass-through water rates from the San Diego County Water Authority will go into effect with water use beginning January 1, 2020 and will appear on bills mailed beginning February 1, 2020. To view current and future rates, click here. 

Internal rates and pass-throughs were approved in June 2017 as part of the District's Five-year Business Plan and Budget. The District cannot make a profit from the services it provides and only charges the actual costs associated with providing services to our customers. A Cost of Service Study, completed by an independent consultant, was the basis for the approved rates and charges. 

Padre Dam has several unique factors that influence our rates. The District does not have a local supply of water, and imports 100 percent of its drinking water from the San Diego County Water Authority. The District experiences significant elevation changes over 2,000 feet and has a large service area per customer. Padre Dam maintains over $700 million worth of infrastructure, for approximately 38,852 water, wastewater and recycled water service connections.  

Padre Profile: Joe Guzzino
Any time you need it, clean, safe water is available with the turn of a knob for drinking, cooking, cleaning, landscaping and more. This is in part thanks to the work of Joe Guzzino, Padre Dam's Water Quality Specialist. Joe is responsible for performing weekly, monthly and quarterly tests to ensure that drinking water delivered to homes meets all state and federal drinking water standards.

"My job is basically making sure that the water we are providing every day to our customers is safe and reliable, and meets all compliance standards," comments Joe. "I'm in the field testing water every day, it's what I do."

Joe is responsible for weekly sampling at 41 sites throughout the District, in addition to 29 reservoirs. All of his equipment is mobile, so he can test for data including temperature, turbidity, chlorine, hardness, pH and more on-site. Each data point gives operators valuable information about the water, for example temperature can indicate how fast the water is moving through the system. This information helps ensure consistent water quality. Joe also collects samples for bacteriological tests that are performed at Padre Dam's lab.

Joe was hired at Padre Dam seventeen years ago as a Temporary Utility Worker. Since that time, he has proven himself in multiple positions in both Operations and Engineering. Joe's knowledge of many different aspects of Padre Dam's distribution system serves him in his important role.

"Something as basic as water can appear simple, but the chemistry of how water reacts to chlorine, chemicals and minerals is very complex." Joe remarked, "At the end of the day we are here for our customers and are serious about providing them with the best possible product."

Joe served in the Marine Corps and encourages veterans to consider careers in the water industry. When he's not at work, he enjoys hiking and camping with his wife.

To view additional Padre Profiles, click here. 
Join us on a District Tour
Do you ever wonder what goes in to providing customers safe and reliable drinking water services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year? Get a behind-the-scenes look at the facilities and processes of Padre Dam by joining us on a District Tour on Saturday, October 5 or Tuesday, October 15 from 8:30am - 12:30pm. This special event begins at Padre Dam's Customer Service Center and takes guests on a journey through:
  • Padre Dam's SCADA Room, where pump stations, reservoir levels and some water quality tests are controlled remotely.
  • The Ray Stoyer Water Recycling Facility, where two million gallons of recycled water is produced every day.
  • The Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Facility, which demonstrates the potential for East County to create up to 30 percent of its drinking water supply locally.
  • A local pump station, one of Padre Dam's 16 drinking water pump stations.
  • The Sky Ranch Reservoir, which helps provide water services to parts of Santee and has beautiful views.

WaterSmart Landscape Classes
Join us at Padre Dam's Customer Service Center to learn how to transform your yard into a beautiful, water efficient landscape. We will be hosting two classes developed by the San Diego County Water Authority.  

This workshop will introduce you to "a better way to beautiful" through the steps needed to turn water thirsty turf into landscape that is beautiful and sustainable.  Our landscape expert will show you the steps required to rethink, redesign and renovate your landscape with a focus on site assessments and understanding the important role of healthy soil in a successful landscape.  Register for the October 1 class here.

This workshop is recommended for those who have previously taken the "Design for Homeowners: From Start to Finish" class. Droughts are a common scenario in our region, so this session teaches you how to integrate storm water capture elements into your landscape and conserve water through simple irrigation system retrofits. Ultimately our landscape expert's goal is to help you "spend less on water and more on life."  Register for the October 8 class here.