News Item

SCWD Receives National Award

LAGUNA BEACH, CA -- September 10, 2018 -- The National City-County Communications and Marketing Association’s (3CMA) announced the 2018 winners of its national Savvy Awards Competition during a ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, WI on Thursday, Sept. 6. South Coast Water District (SCWD) took top honors at the Annual Conference for its Marketing and Communications Plans.

SCWD received a “Savvy award” for Marketing and Communications Plans in recognition of our work over the last year in strategic marketing and compelling communications efforts for the Tunnel Stabilization & Sewer Pipeline Replacement Project (Tunnel Project). The other finalists included the City of Burlington North Carolina and the City of Spruce Grove Alberta Canada. The judges lauded SCWD’s Tunnel project for “a creative solution and a multifaceted communications approach to a complex problem.” Further stating the plan “leaves no stone left unturned.” 

The Tunnel Project is a five year, 100 million dollar project to replace a two-mile, 60-year-old tunnel that currently houses a gravity sewer. The sewer provides wastewater service for the northern portion of Dana Point and homes along the west side of coast highway at Three Arch Bay and in South Laguna. It is buried approximately 50 feet beneath the bluff from Three Arch Bay to Aliso Beach. The tunnel, located 20 - 30 feet from the edge of the cliffs and underneath multi-million dollar homes sits right above the Pacific Ocean’s federally protected marine life habitat.

South Coast Water District (SCWD) recently completed Phase I of the project. As a result of working alongside the community, SCWD spent over $500,000 in site improvements in response to public concerns including a sliding gate and utilization of an electric crane instead of diesel. The use of an electric crane avoided any possible health effects that could be caused by prolonged use of a diesel crane. “The health, safety and the day-to-day impacts on residents are always carefully considered when we construct any projects,” said Acting General Manager and Chief Engineer Rick Shintaku.  

Quarterly community meetings kept residents informed of the progress while the SCWD website and Facebook pages kept them apprised of the day-to-day activities. Additionally, SCWD utilized a 360-degree camera to produce a 3-D tour to allow the customers to “virtually” visit the worksite.

Together, the Board of Directors, community, contractor Drill Tech and project management firm Parsons Engineering worked closely together on Phase I of the project.  The addition of constructability reviews including identifying design and liability issues, value-added suggestions and comments saved the project over a million dollars in the first year alone. An estimated 11 million dollars in savings are expected over the course of the project.

To learn more about the project visit our website at or visit the project’s Facebook site at Board meeting agendas and reports for the tunnel are easily searchable on our website under “Meetings and Agendas” where you can view an on-demand video of past meetings.


About 3CMA

The Savvy Awards recognize outstanding local government achievements in communications, public-sector marketing, and citizen-government relationships. The Savvies salute skilled and effective city, county, agency or district professionals who have creatively planned and carried out successful innovations in communications and marketing. Over 700 entries in 40 categories were received. 3CMA utilized judges from across the United States to review every entry and provide constructive comments on the winning entries.


About SCWD

South Coast Water District was established in 1932. The District currently serves most of Dana Point, South Laguna Beach, and parts of San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano. District facilities include 15 reservoirs, 147 miles of water lines, 136 miles of sewer lines, seven water pumping stations, 14 sewer pumping stations, and approximately 12,360 water meters. An elected five-member Board of Directors governs the District. Learn more at, or find us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.