It’s no small feat to provide water service to 276,000 customers everyday. That’s what the Helix Water District does every day – with a high level of energy efficiency.
For that reason, Helix was honored recently for its excellence in energy leadership as part of our 14th Energy Showcase, where we recognized eight local organizations for adopting innovations that are both good for their bottomline and for the environment.
Helix was the first ever water district to be recognized in the history of the Energy Showcase.
Cutting Energy Use by 25% in a Decade
Helix operates and maintains an extensive network of infrastructure to meet its customers’ needs, including a water treatment plant with the capacity to process 106 million gallons a day, two reservoirs and dams, 25 storage tanks, 25 pump stations, 728 miles of pipe, 6,442 fire hydrants, 16,903 valves and 56,184 meters.
Ninety percent of Helix’s electric consumption is attributable to water treatment and movement systems. Over the past 10 years, the water district cut its energy use by 25 percent. How?
To move water more efficiently, the district installed screw-shaped machinery known as Archimedes Screws to lift water through the treatment process with less power.
Other energy upgrades made by the district include installing LED lights and solar films on windows to block ultraviolet light and reduce heat. The district also closely monitors its energy-intensive operations, such as pump stations and distribution facilities, and try to avoid running these operations during peak periods.
Helix participated in our Comprehensive Audit Program to help identify energy conservation opportunities, and took advantage of incentives and rebates for energy upgrades.
Going Beyond Sustainable Operations
Helix’s commitment to conservation and sustainability is evident beyond its water treatment operations.
The district partnered with SDG&E to install electric vehicle chargers at its El Cajon operations center and its La Mesa administration office. The chargers have enabled Helix to transition to an electric fleet. It currently has six electric vehicles.
To educate the public about water conservation, Helix co-funded a 5-acre Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College, which receives over 30,000 visitors a year.
These are just a few examples of a variety of efforts Helix has undertaken to be a good steward of resources.