All Features

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

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 […]

Native plants-New landscaping-room to grow-plants-watersmart living landscape

Designing Your WaterSmart Living Landscape to Fit Your Life

When designing your WaterSmart Living landscape, you want your new outdoor space to fit your house, your neighborhood, and your lifestyle. Finding that fit begins by asking a few basic questions. First, how do you want to use your space? It’s possible to significantly improve your home’s water efficiency and meet your lifestyle needs at […]

Summer of Water Conservation-Save Our Water-News Conference

Summer of Water Conservation in California

State, regional, and local leaders are joining forces to urge water conservation across San Diego County and statewide at the start of summer. With drought conditions worsening in every corner of the Southwest, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has called on residents and businesses to take additional conservation measures to help ease the effects of extreme […]

First Place winner: John Wozny, “Casting A Sunset.” Photo: Helix Water District Lake Jennings 2022

Lake Jennings 2022 Spring Photo Contest Winners Depict Lake Activities

Sunsets, wildlife, and family fun inspired the winning photos in the 2022 Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest, held by the Helix Water District. Winners were named this week and recognized at the June Governing Board meeting. The water district offers two yearly contests to connect with their customers and recognize their achievements. Now in its […]

While compost and mulch may seem interchangeable, they have distinctly different uses in your sustainable landscaping. Photo: Water Authority Compost vs. Mulch

Using Compost and Mulch to Build Healthy Soil

When undertaking a WaterSmart landscape renovation, strive to continuously feed as much organic matter as possible to the landscape soil to keep it healthy. Start first with compost and mulch to jump-start the process. Eventually, your plants will feed themselves with their own leaf litter. Organic matter feeds microbes living in the soil that make […]

La Mesa resident Nick Voinov stands in front of his 2022 Helix Water District Landscape Contest winning yard. Photo: Helix Water District water efficient yard

Water Efficient Yard is 2022 Helix Water District Landscape Contest Winner

A thriving, water-efficient yard in La Mesa is the winner of the Helix Water District’s 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. Homeowner Nick Voinov worked for a decade to transform his turf into its current watersmart residential landscape. It didn’t always look as bright and colorful as it does today. “I love plants and found them more […]

Students Illustrate the Importance of Water in Sweetwater Authority Contest

Twenty local elementary school students were recognized as top entrants of the Sweetwater Authority “Water is Life” Poster Contest. The yearly contest gives K-6 students the chance to demonstrate the ways water is a precious and essential resource. By creating water-related art, students enhance their understanding of the importance of water. More than 100 students […]

High quality landscape soil will support your WaterSmart landscape design. Photo: Lisa Fotios/Pexels healthy soil

Building Healthy Soil: Give It Some Space

Healthy soil consists of elements we don’t typically think of as soil at all. In fact, one of the most critical aspects of soil is the space between the particles. Soil space results from a process called aggregation. Solid matter will aggregate under the right conditions, forming space between the masses. This allows air and […]

Former Padre Dam Muncipal Water District CEO/General Manager Allen Carlisle (left) passes a symbolic baton to his recently appointed successor, Assistant CEO/GM Kyle Swanson. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District Kyle Swanson appointed

Kyle Swanson Appointed New CEO/General Manager of Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Kyle Swanson has been unanimously appointed by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors as the District’s new CEO/General Manager. He steps into his new role following the retirement of prior CEO/General Manager Allen Carlisle. “I am excited about this opportunity to serve both the organization and the community as the new CEO/General […]

A view of the FPUD Water Reclamation Plant on Alturas Road, prior to the the estblishment of Marine Corps Base Pendleton. Photo: Tom Rodgers/FPUD

Fallbrook Public Utility District Celebrates 100 Years of Service

The Fallbrook Public Utility District on June 5, celebrated its 100th year of providing water and sewer service in Fallbrook. From its first years serving 800 customers, the utility district, or FPUD, now supplies water to more than 35,000 residents in North San Diego County. The public celebrated the centennial with an old west themed […]

Soil-WaterSmartSD-Drought, Landscape makeover

Get to Know Your Soil Conditions

Every individual landscape sits in one of San Diego County’s 16 watersheds. The watershed approach to landscaping considers every garden its own mini-watershed, holding onto or cleaning the water falling on it and nurturing a diverse habitat of plants and insects. Each mini-watershed can be controlled by the people who steward it. Individual landscaping choices […]

(L to R) Left to right: Scholarship winners Grace Koumaras, Jennifer Galan, Emilie Taylor, and Abigayle Paliotti. (Not pictured: Samantha Bailey, Kenneth Morales Reyes, and Mateo Sulejmani). Photo: Vista Irrigation District

Vista Irrigation District Recognizes Scholarship Winners and Student Artists

The Vista Irrigation District awarded college scholarships to seven high school seniors selected as winners of the district’s annual scholarship contest. Three fourth-grade students from the local community were also selected as winners of the district‑sponsored Student Poster Art Contest. Emilie Taylor received a $2,500 scholarship, Samantha Bailey received a $2,000 scholarship, and Abigayle Paliotti […]

Fourth-Grade Artists Win OMWD Water Awareness Poster Contest

Three fourth-grade student artists were recognized for their award-winning artwork by the Olivenhain Municipal Water District Board of Directors at its May 18 meeting as the top three entries in the 2022 “Love Water, Save Water” Poster Contest. For 29 years, the district has invited fourth-grade students living or attending school within the Olivenhain Municipal […]

Jeff Moore rakes the zen garden included in his back yard landscape plot plan. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Plan For Success: Create A Plot Plan

Any WaterSmart landscape makeover starts with observing and recording your property as it exists today. Think of it as a bird’s eye view or satellite map showing your property’s boundaries and physical features. This becomes the basis of all your planning. You need a few basic tools to draw your own plot plan. They include […]