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Water Blogged

Read everything water...blogged. Scroll below to find article topics spanning from water treatment and system technology updates to conservation tips and employee news—and more.

Employee Spotlight: Gavin Devries

For most people, visiting the South Pacific island of Fiji sounds like a dream vacation. For Gavin Devries, Manager of Capital Planning at SJW, it was an opportunity to make a difference in the world by using his professional skills and education to serve his country as a civil affairs officer in the United States Army Reserve (USAR) over the summer.

Devries began his journey with the U.S. Army in 2007, during the height of the Iraq War, where he served as a civil engineer for the medical service corps. Here, he worked with multi-national forces and local Iraqis on water and wastewater

Keeping your Water Flowing During the PG&E Shutoff

SJW staff monitoring system

We know last week was a challenge for many of you who lost power due to the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutdown. On our end, we worked day and night to make sure you had water — no matter the power situation. Here’s a peek at what took place behind the scenes. We:  

  • Deployed 14 portable generators to key locations to ensure power.
  • Installed an additional 11 stationary generators at various water pumping stations.
  • Installed 12-volt gel-cell batteries at two remote reservoirs to maintain communication.
  • Collaborated with our fuel providers and transporters to confirm readiness and

Big Reliability Win for San Jose Water Customers

A big congrats to our incredible Asset Management team for winning an Uptime Award for Best Reliability Engineering for Maintenance Program from Reliabilityweb!

Fifth Graders Get Water Wise!

Take-home water saving kit

San Jose Water (SJW) is committed to increasing water conservation awareness not only among adults, but youth as well. Since 2015, SJW has carried out a school-based water education effort known as the WaterWise™ Program. This program is designed to bring hands-on conservation lessons into the classroom and home.

The WaterWise Program is taught in 5th grade classrooms throughout the SJW service area through the Franklin Energy program. Once the program team identifies and enrolls teachers and students within our service area, teachers are provided with a Teacher Book and Student

Coming Soon: Mains For The Next “Big One”

Earthquake pipe standing vertical

In the wake of the series of strong earthquakes that hit Southern California earlier this summer, concerns about the next “Big One” have resurfaced for many Bay Area residents.

At San Jose Water (SJW), we take seismic safety precautions very seriously. One of the greatest threats that large earthquakes pose in a heavily populated area such as this is the potential cutoff of water supply. For this reason, we have broken ground on a major earthquake-resistant main replacement project on the Old Santa Cruz Highway in Santa Clara County, between Idylwild Road and Holy City Road.


Employee Spotlight: Madeline Ramirez

Madeline at her desk

Brimming with a warm and friendly disposition, Distribution Systems (DS) clerk Madeline Ramirez has been an invaluable member of both DS and previously the Customer Service department since 2004. Beyond her reputation as a hard worker and team player, colleagues know her as “the cat lady,” a term of endearment she owns proudly.

Ramirez’ role in DS affords her plenty of variety on a day-to-day basis. Her duties involve everything from handling permitting requirements from all City and County offices in the SJW service area, to coordinating with various contractors whose systems

Montevina Water Treatment Facility Wins DBIA National Merit Award

New ultrafiltration technology addresses winter stormwater challenges

Group accepting DBIA award

Los Gatos, CA - San Jose Water’s newly upgraded Montevina Water Treatment Plant (WTP) has been recognized by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) with their National Merit Award in the water/wastewater category. DBIA is a national multi-disciplinary association of architectural, engineering, and construction professionals, as well as academics, students, and project owners. Their aim is to foster collaboration and innovation to deliver some of America’s most successful projects. The Design-Build National

CPUC OII Decision

San Jose Water (SJW) is pleased to have reached a proposed resolution with the Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division (CPED) of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regarding the investigation into some of our past billing practices.

In 2017, a customer brought billing concerns to our attention. The issue involved the lack of proration of monthly service charges when they changed within a billing cycle. 

The CPUC issued an Order Instituting Investigation (OII) in September 2018.  The proposed resolution to the OII provides for the following:

  • Refunds to customers

Pipes: San Jose Water's Buried Treasure

Closeup of cast iron pipe piece from 1892

Anyone who has dropped by an open house or other SJW-sponsored event may have noticed an assortment of pipe parts that we keep on display to educate visitors. These are part of a collection belonging to Jim Wollbrinck, Manager of Security and Business Resiliency at SJW. His time in the Distribution System Maintenance Department allowed him to amass these historical appurtenances dating back to SJW’s founding in 1866.

Staff showing pipe to booth visitor

Pointing to a cast iron water main with the year 1892 embossed onto it, Wollbrinck explains that some of these vintage pipes are actually still in use in various

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