All Features

Behind-the-scenes stories about regional water issues, projects, and people.

Kelsey Ceccarelli (center), the Citizens Water Academy's 500th graduate, with Water Authority Assistant General Manager Dennis A. Cushman (left) and Board Chair Jim Madaffer (right). Photo: Water Authority

500th Community Leader Graduates from Citizens Water Academy

The San Diego County Water Authority’s pioneering Citizens Water Academy celebrated the graduation of its 500th community leader Friday at the conclusion of the fall class series. During the popular and award-winning academy program, civic leaders learn about visionary local efforts to ensure a safe and reliable water supply for the San Diego region. Participants […]

Match your plant choices to the different microclimate areas in your landscaping. A microclimate map helps you make good choices. Photo: Water Authority

Match Your Landscape Plants To Your Microclimates

A previous Conservation Corner article explained how to map the different types of microclimates present in your landscaping. This information can help homeowners effectively arrange plants in their sustainable landscapes. For the most efficient water use, plants should be grouped together with similar water needs in their favorite microclimate.   In nature, plants that like lots […]

Different areas of your landscaping are affected by shade, moisture, and temperature, creating a variety of microclimates. Photo: Water Authority

Map Your Microclimates

Every garden has areas where plants flourish, and other areas where plants struggle. Structures, walls, fences and other plants can affect the amount of sun and shade in a garden. Every garden is completely different, even if it is located in the same general climate zone.  There may be hills and hollows in your front […]

Lisa Marie Harris was selected to deliver the keynote address at the 2018 Municipal Bond Women’s Forum on October 18 in San Francisco. Photo: Water Authority

Harris Headlines Fall Conference for Women in Finance

For Lisa Marie Harris, serving as the director of finance for the San Diego County Water Authority is far more than a job. It’s part of a calling that started in college. As an undergrad, Harris secured a fellowship to study public policy at the University of Michigan, which confirmed her desire to pursue a […]

Encourage pollinators to visit your sustainable landscaping with plants that attract bees, butterflies, and others. Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons

Planting for Pollinators

Plants and insects need each other to survive. Nature provides checks and balances in a garden. You can attract insects and creatures that help maintain the healthy balance of a garden without pesticides.   Flowering plants rely on insects for pollination, and thus reproduction. In turn plants feed and house insects. Some bugs eat too much, […]

Fruit trees, especially citrus, thrive in San Diego County’s climates with just a little bit of care. The Pineapple Guava (Acca sellowiana) is a good choice with spectacular blooms. Photo: WIkimedia/Creative Commons License Edible Plants

Incredible Edibles In Your Sustainable Landscaping

You don’t have to be a farmer to enjoy edible plants in your sustainable landscaping. Many native plants and herbs have fruit and leaves you can harvest. They can be mixed into any climate-appropriate planting design. Organic growing methods including sheet mulching (as explained in an earlier post) and integrated pest management ensure the health […]

The San Diego County Water Authority presented its inaugural Water Innovation & Efficiency Award to Kyocera. Photo: Water Authority

Kyocera First Recipient of New Water Authority Award

In an effort to remind regional stakeholders in the business community about the importance of water to San Diego’s regional economy, the San Diego County Water Authority presented its inaugural ‘Water Innovation & Efficiency Award’ to Kyocera International during the Industrial Environmental Association’s 34th annual conference at the San Diego Convention Center on September 28. […]

The Desert Museum Palo Verde tree is an ideal low water use choice for Southern California landscaping. Photo: Danielle Bardgette/Creative Commons-Flickr trees

More Trees, Please

Planting trees improves water quality by reducing runoff and soil erosion. It’s also good for the wallet. Healthy, mature trees can add an average of 10 percent to a property’s overall value.  Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent, and can save 20 to 50 percent of the energy […]

Jeff Moore stands in his front yard featuring his award-winning waterwise landscaping work. Photo: Charlie Neuman, Water Authority Vallecitos

Waterwise Landscaping Blooms in San Marcos

San Marcos, Calif. – A beautiful native garden low on water use but not on style won first place in the Vallecitos Water District’s 2018 “WaterSmart Landscape Contest. To encourage customers to reduce outdoor water use, Vallecitos recognizes customers whose yards best exhibit the beauty of California-friendly, low-water gardening. The Vallecitos Board of Directors honored […]

Hold Onto Your Hillsides and Slopes

Many San Diego County residents live near canyons, which are valuable natural resources. Native canyon hillsides should be not be disturbed.   When planting in previously disturbed or built slopes and hillsides, low-water plants, trees, deep-rooted native plant species, and climate-appropriate plants with strong root structures should be selected. Their powerful root systems can help hold […]

Water Authority maintenance employees John Brown and Bobby Bond Jr. ready to compete at the National Skills Roadeo in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo: Courtesy Bobby Bond Jr.

Maintenance Men Bring Home the Hardware from National Contest

Two maintenance pros representing San Diego brought home awards from the 2018 American Public Works Association’s National Roadeo Skills Competition in Kansas City, Missouri , in late August. The San Diego County Water Authority’s Bobby Bond Jr. placed second in the backhoe/mini-excavator event, while John Brown, also of the Water Authority, placed third in the […]

Outside its native African habitat, fountain grasses are an invasive species. In California it has no natural enemies and outcompetes native plant species. Photo: UCRiverside/Center for Invasive Species Research Invasive Plants

Avoid ‘Takeover Artists’ in Your Landscaping

Just like people, many non-native plants love everything about San Diego County and choose to make it their home. They love it so much these invasive plants have moved in, stretched out, and are doing their best to take over.   They do what they can to make room by hurting native plant species. They drain […]

Don Jones, the veteran water industry professional who is overseeing the transition of Cuyamaca College’s Water and Wastewater Technology program into the Center for Water Studies. Photo: David Ogul, Water Authority

Center for Water Studies Moves Into New Home at Cuyamaca College

The transformation of Cuyamaca College’s trailblazing Water and Wastewater Technology Program into the Center for Water Studies is all but complete. Among the premier water and wastewater training facilities in California, the Center for Water Studies relocated in late August to a renovated complex complete with new classrooms, a water quality analysis laboratory and a […]

Coral Aloe will protect your property from wildfire while it brightens your sustainable landscape. Photo: Don Graham/Flickr-Creative Commons license Firefighting plants

Call On These Five Firefighting Plants

Wildfire is a real and constant threat in San Diego County year-round, but particularly in the late summer and fall months. This is especially true in wildland interface areas where homes are right next to the backcountry. Landscape design, plant selection, and maintenance must be done in accordance with fire-safe guidelines.  Wildfire is a real […]

Match your plant choices to the different microclimate areas in your landscaping. A microclimate map helps you make good choices. Photo: Water Authority

Sustainable Landscapes Takes Root in San Diego

More than 225 San Diego County homeowners have transformed their landscapes into beautiful, climate-appropriate mini-watersheds through the Sustainable Landscapes Incentive Program developed by the San Diego County Water Authority and its partners. Since the program launched in October 2016, more than 354,000 square feet of turf has been removed and replaced with sustainable landscaping. Approximately […]