Conservation Corner

Tips, resources and news about water-use efficiency

New for 2023, qualified residents can take advantage of the in-person “Designer At Your Door” technical design assistance program. Photo:

Landscape Makeover Program Adds New ‘Designer At Your Door’ Service

There is a new opportunity for San Diego County residents who want to save water through the WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program: “Designer At Your Door.” This new in-person service offers on-site and in-studio technical design assistance from landscape industry professionals for qualified residents. As 2023 begins with cool, rainy weather, now is the ideal time […]

Free online landscape design classes-webinar-water conservation

Free Online WaterSmart Landscape Design Workshops

As California enters a fourth straight year of drought, more residents are taking advantage of free, online webinars helping them create a beautiful, water-efficient outdoor landscape. New three-hour workshops are now scheduled through December, funded in part by the County of San Diego Watershed Protection Program. Taught by local landscape professionals, upcoming webinars focus on […]

To encourage water conservation as drought conditions persist, North County water district offer discounted rain barrels to area residents. Photo: Solana Center

Water Districts Offer Discounted Rain Barrels

Due to the persistence of California’s unprecedented megadrought, capturing rainfall when it occurs is a conservation priority. Several water districts in North San Diego County are offering discounted rain barrels. To encourage water conservation as drought conditions persist, the Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Carlsbad Municipal Water District, San Dieguito Water District, and Santa Fe Irrigation […]

The City of Escondido’s innovative water treatment and saving methods offers a model for other drought-stricken cities. Escondido recognized

City of Escondido Recognized as Water Saving Model

As California endures its worst drought in 1,200 years, San Diego County’s water industry has developed diversified sources and accelerated conservation practices to secure its water supply for the future. The City of Escondido’s innovative water treatment and saving methods offers a model for other drought-stricken cities. Escondido has led the San Diego region on […]


New State Tax Break and Lawn Removal Rebates Save Money, Water

Fall is the perfect time to yank those thirsty lawns and install drought-tolerant landscapes with the help of cooler days and major financial incentives. Homeowners and businesses in San Diego County can receive between $2 and $4 per square foot for removing grass and replacing it with low water-use plants that are better suited to […]

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Fall Water-Saving Tips

Water-saving actions by everyone in San Diego County during the current drought can help conserve more of our most precious resource. While San Diego County continues to have enough water due to long-term investments in water sources and conservation, the region’s long-term supply reliability depends on a continued commitment to water-use efficiency indoors and outdoors […]

The Vallecitos Water District's series of videos on using water wisely are being distributed nationwide through the EPA WaterSense program. Photo: Vallecitos Water District/YouTube

Vallecitos Videos Shared Nationwide by EPA WaterSense

Videos produced by the Vallecitos Water District public affairs team are now being distributed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program to help educate the public about water conservation nationwide. The videos can be downloaded for free on the EPA WaterSense partner platform. The district created a series of twelve videos. A new one […]

The Delaplanes received first place due to the addition of a working bioswale. Photo: Vallecitos Water District landscape makeover

Vallecitos Water District Landscape Makeover Winners Lead By Example

Three San Marcos families invested their time and effort into transforming their front yards into beautiful water-efficient designs. Their hard work has paid off in lower water bills and being named the winners of the 2022 Vallecitos Water District Landscape Makeover Contest. See a video featuring all three winning families Father and Son Win First […]

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Water-Use Efficiency for Large Landscapes Focus of Free Webinar

In the third year of drought, water agencies are providing opportunities, including rebates and resources, to increase water-use efficiency. A free webinar August 31 is geared for people who manage or own properties with large landscape areas. Managers of homeowner associations, rental housing, commercial, industrial and public properties are invited to the webinar on the […]

Jennifer Dell was selected as the Vista Irrigation District's 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest winner for her creative, colorful use of materials and plants. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

Colorful WaterSmart Landscape Wins Vista Irrigation District in 2022

The Vista Irrigation District Board of Directors recognized Jennifer Dell as its 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest winner for her creative, colorful use of materials and plants. The annual contest recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on overall attractiveness, appropriate plant selection, design, appropriate maintenance, and efficient methods of irrigation. Pollinator-friendly WaterSmart landscape Replacing the water-intensive […]

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Water-Use Efficiency Rebates for Businesses

As extreme drought grips the Southwest, businesses across California are taking a variety of water-saving actions. The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies offer business rebates and other incentives to help businesses save money while saving water. State ban on commercial turf The state’s watering ban was put into place on […]

Jeanne Reutunger transformed a neglected front yard into a beautiful native garden and the winner of the 2022 City of Escondido Landscape Makeover Contest. Photo: City of Escondido

Escondido Landscape Makeover Winner Goes from Weeds to Wow

When Jeanne Reutlinger moved to her Escondido home in 2019, the neglected front yard was full of weeds, baked by the sun, and car exhausts from the street. Three years later, Reutlinger’s vision and hard work for a natural low maintenance habitat created a pollinator’s paradise full of native plants. Her efforts won the 2022 […]

Bryan and Denee Felber's conversion from turf to low-water use landscaping earned the Chula Vista homeowners the 2022 Otay Water District WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Contest win. Photo: Otay Water District

Chula Vista Homeowners Win Otay Water District’s 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest

Chula Vista homeowners Bryan and Denee Felber earned “Best in District” honors as the winner of the Otay Water District’s 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. Converting 2,143 square feet of turf to a drought-tolerant garden in 2015 continues to save water and pay off for the Felbers while beautifying their neighborhood. The Felbers live in the […]

The Cavanah family's colorful, watersmart landscape is the winner of the 2022 Sweetwater Authority Landscape Makeover contest. Photo: Sweetwater Authority less water

More Beauty, Less Water Wins Sweetwater Authority’s 2022 Landscape Contest

The Sweetwater Authority named Nancy Cavanah of Chula Vista its 2022 winner of the WaterSmart Landscape Contest. Cavanah was recognized at the Authority’s June Governing Board meeting. The Cavanah’s landscape was selected from a diverse pool of applicants as the best example of how to create a beautiful landscape using less water. Colorful plants replace […]

Mike and Cathy Godfrey’s water-efficient landscape design features a diverse array of drought-tolerant plants. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District landscape diversity

Landscape Diversity Showcased By 2022 Olivenhain Municipal Water District Contest Winner

Mike and Cathy Godfrey’s water-efficient landscape design is the winner of the Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The Godfreys were recognized at the June OMWD Board of Directors meeting. “Maximizing water efficiency outdoors is especially important as drought conditions remain in effect across the state,” said OMWD Board Director Neal Meyers. “Showcasing […]