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RMWD wins statewide award for Rapid Aerial Water Supply

FALLBROOK – The California Special Districts Association, a statewide organization of Special Districts in California, recognized Rainbow Municipal Water District with the 2022 CSDA Innovative Project of the Year Award for its Rapid Aerial Water Supply Project – also known as a Heli-Hydrant, Aug. 23.

In a presentation at CSDA's Annual Conference in Palm Desert, members of the RMWD board and staff were presented the award and the thousand plus in attendance were shown a video describing the project (video can be seen here

This system allows immediate access to a clean source of water for firefighting helicopters controlled by the helicopter pilot firsthand. This project is a partnership between RMWD, North County Fire Protection District, and CalFire – a great example of collaboration between the agencies that provide fire protection services in this region.

"We are honored to receive this recognition from CSDA for this project. As with other areas of the state, wildfires have impacted our community tremendously and we wanted to do what we could to help protect lives and property in our region," said Hayden Hamilton, president of the RMWD Board of Directors.

The criteria for this award include originality of the project, tangible and positive results produced and a demonstrated improvement in the district's quality of service without significantly increasing costs. Additionally, the project should be easily adaptable and serve as an example for other districts.

The RAWS is a 5,000-gallon tank that can be filled in minutes allowing helicopters to fill their tanks rapidly to attack a fire for a quick-strike response. This collaborative project between RMWD, North County Fire Protection District, and Cal Fire San Diego Unit included the installation of the five-thousand gallon open-top steel tank, pilot control of inlet and drain valves, windsock, shore power, battery power, and solar power.

The RAWS, located at RMWD's Pala Mesa tank site off of Wilt Road, now provides access to aircrews of potable water, eliminating unnecessary time in looking for water sources, and is the first of its kind in San Diego County.

RMWD plays an important role in the protection of life and property in its service area through its water system which provides fire suppression support for its customers through a network of pipelines, fire hydrants, and now a special hydrant designed for helicopters. With the ever-expanding range of fire season in this region, providing enhanced access to water for firefighting helicopters to protect the homes and properties of its customers is a crucial element of customer service.

The Rainbow Municipal Water District was established in 1953 and is a Special District, organized under Section 71000 of the California Water Code. The district encompasses 80 square miles of rural land and provides water and sanitation services to the unincorporated communities of Rainbow, Bonsall, and portions of Fallbrook, Vista and Oceanside. It is led by a five-member elected board.

Submitted by the Rainbow Municipal Water District.


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