Conservation Corner

Tips, resources and news about water-use efficiency

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New California Law Bolsters Groundwater Recharge as Strategic Defense Against Climate Change

A new but little-known change in California law designating aquifers as “natural infrastructure” promises to unleash a flood of public funding for projects that increase the state’s supply of groundwater. The change is buried in a sweeping state budget-related law, enacted in July, that also makes it easier for property owners and water managers to […]

A 1920s La Mesa landscape used lush floral color with climate-appropriate plants, winning recognition from the Helix Water District as the runner-up in its 2023 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. Photo: Helix Water District lush landscape

Lush Landscape Recognized as Runner-Up in Helix Landscape Contest

The slope of a 1920s La Mesa home went from a drab lawn to lush floral color with climate-appropriate plants, winning recognition from the Helix Water District as the runner-up in its 2023 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The contest promotes beautiful, water-efficient landscapes and rewards people for their inspiring gardens. Joanna and Larry Henning created the […]

A beautiful Santee garden oasis is the winner of the 2023 Padre Dam Municipal Water District Landscape Contest. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Santee Garden Oasis Wins 2023 Padre Dam Municipal Water District Landscape Contest

Santee homeowners Edie and Tate Thomas created a beautiful landscape with California native plants to save water, beautify their home, and support the region’s wildlife. Their effort won the 2023 Padre Dam Municipal Water District landscape makeover contest. Preserving rainfall by design  In 2018, the couple began working on their makeover project. Edie Thomas is […]

Austin Black, water conservation specialist for Waterwise Consulting, is overseeing the San Marcos School District water audit project. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

San Marcos Unified School District Benefits From Free Water Use Survey

Free water use surveys offered through the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California provide both residential and commercial customers with recommendations to improve landscape and indoor water use efficiency. The surveys are available throughout Southern California, including San Diego County. The San Marcos Unified School District took advantage of the opportunity for water use surveys […]

Inspired by the San Diego County Water Authority's free landscape workshops, Vallecitos Water District employee Eileen Koonce transformed her own landscaping. Photo: Vallecitos Water District example watersmart landscaping

Free Landscape Workshops Convenient for Vallecitos Customers

In partnership with the San Diego County Water Authority and the City of San Marcos, the Vallecitos Water District offers a series of five WaterSmart landscape design workshops in August and September to help its customers redesign and install new water-saving, sustainable landscapes at a convenient North County location. Classes take place every other Wednesday […]

Joy August's winning landscape design is perfectly suited to the historic 1925 La Mesa home shared with her spouse, Marta Luisa Sclar. Photo: Helix Water District

Historic La Mesa Home Wins Helix Water District’s 2023 Landscape Contest

A charming 1925 La Mesa home featuring a rich tapestry of thriving low-water use plants won the 2023 Helix Water District Landscape Makeover Contest. Homeowner Joy Andrea, a retired schoolteacher and La Mesa resident for more than 50 years, created a landscape with a tremendous amount of curb appeal, reflecting the character of the home. […]

Take time to learn about modern irrigation choices during Smart Irrigation Month in July. Photo: Creative Commons

Smart Irrigation Month Highlights Outdoor Water Saving Tips

Water agencies in San Diego County are sharing outdoor water-efficiency tips during “Smart Irrigation Month.” July was chosen as Smart Irrigation Month in 2005 since its traditionally the month of peak demand for outdoor water use in the county. Landscape irrigation consumes 50% of the typical California home’s monthly water use. Each year during Smart […]

The winning landscape makeover using Nifty Fifty plant choices. Photo: City of Escondido

Nifty Fifty Plant Choices Featured in Winning Escondido Landscape

Escondido homeowners Marcus and Leanne Fowler decided it was time for a landscape makeover two years ago when their effort to keep their lawn green required a lot of water. But they didn’t know where to start, lacking experience with landscape design and working with a limited budget. The couple started from the beginning, and […]

The County and Water Authority partnership offers customers the help they need to make projects possible with assistance from start to finish. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Landscape Optimization Service Simplifies El Norte Park Homes Makeover

San Diego County residents continue to embrace low-water use landscapes taking advantage of rebates to swap grass for native and drought-tolerant plants. There are also incentives for areas with larger landscapes to increase water use efficiency. Landscape upgrade projects which previously were too complex for volunteer associations to manage are now possible with expert assistance […]

Over 175 water-efficient plant and tree species are on display at the Padre Dam Municipal Water District Demonstration Garden. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Experience a Sustainable Demonstration Garden Self-Tour

Sustainable landscape demonstration gardens inspire homeowners to create and maintain their own beautiful, water-efficient landscapes. In California, where more than half of urban water usage goes towards landscape irrigation, any reduction in water consumption contributes to successful conservation efforts. The San Diego County Water Authority and several member agencies host demonstration gardens that residents can […]

Before and after views of the Lake San Marocs Mall III Homeowners Association makeover. Photo: Vallecitos Water District makeover conserves water

Makeovers Conserve Water, Saves Costs for Lake San Marcos HOAs

Through a partnership between the Vallecitos Water District, San Diego County Water Authority, and the County of San Diego, landscape makeover projects in unincorporated areas can take advantage of water-use efficiency rebates as well as professional expertise to maximize conservation and cost savings. The Waterscape Rebate Program applies to residential, commercial, and agricultural customers who […]

The sustainable landscape demonstration garden at the Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s (OMWD) headquarters provides customers with examples of water-efficient landscaping techniques that can save water and money.

Demonstration Garden is Inspiration for Olivenhain MWD Customers

Using water efficiently is a way of life and an important responsibility in the San Diego region. Water users have learned how to make the most of every drop and avoid wasteful or careless habits. Homeowners are replacing impractical thirsty lawns with beautiful low-water-use landscaping. Over the past decade, residents have adopted habits that not […]

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Every Day is Earth Day for Water Agencies in San Diego County

“Invest in Our Planet” is the theme for Earth Day 2023. Investing in sustainable, local water supply sources and conservation has long been a way of life in San Diego County by water agencies and residents. “Investing in our planet can take many forms, and the challenges we face differ from community to community,” said […]

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Spruce Up Your Sprinklers in April

Californians gave their irrigation systems the winter off in much of 2023 thanks to above-average precipitation. As the weather warms, the U.S. EPA encourages everyone to perform a maintenance check in April as part of its “Sprinkler Spruce Up” effort. A sprinkler spruce-up involves four steps: inspect, connect, direct, and select. Cracks in pipes can […]

Otay Water District-2023 Landscape Makeover Contest

Otay Water District Opens 2023 Landscape Makeover Contest

The Otay Water District has launched its annual WaterSmart Landscape Contest as part of a continuing effort to encourage water conservation. Outdoor watering accounts for more than half of residential water use. The resident judged to have the most attractive, drought-toleranat garden receives a nursery gift card, among other prizes, and the title “Best in […]