All Features

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

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 […]

On January 10, 1957, the Water Authority’s Board of Directors approved construction of the Second San Diego Aqueduct.

1957: Second San Diego Aqueduct Approved To Support Growing Region

After completion of Pipeline 2, in the First San Diego Aqueduct in 1954, it soon became clear additional water would be needed to sustain the growing region. On January 10, 1957, the Water Authority’s Board of Directors approved preliminary plans for the construction of the Second San Diego Aqueduct. The general manager was directed to […]

Great Groundcovers To Consider as Lawn Substitutes

You may have decided to replace your thirsty traditional lawn in your new sustainable landscape. What options are available for  some kind of natural plant element rather than covering the same area with hardscaping?   Consider replacing the lawn with a groundcover type plant. There are many good choices that make good lawn substitutes and grow […]

Bobby Bond Jr. shows the skills that won him the title of "Master Opeartor" at the 2018 MSA San DIego/APWA Skills Competition. Poto: Courtesy MSA San DIego

Water Authority A Winner At Skills Competition

Two San Diego County Water Authority employees took home first place honors in the annual – and unusual – competition that tests the mettle of public works professionals with backhoes, wheelbarrows and other tools of the trade. And one Water Authority veteran – Bobby Bond Jr. – earned the title of 2018 Master Operator for […]

Dedication ceremony at Oat Hills Tunnel, releasing water into the San Diego Aqueduct. Left to Right: Chairman Fred A. Heilbron, Water Authority; D.E. Howell, San Diego County; E.G. Nielsen, Bureau of Reclamation; Chairman Joseph Jensen, Metropolitan Water District; Capt. C.W. Porter, U.S. Navy. Extreme left: General Manager and Chief Engineer Richard S. Holmgren observing removal of bulkhead. Photo: SDCWA Archives

1954: Water Flows Freely Through Entire First Aqueduct

On Oct. 2, 1954, the Water Authority celebrated the completion of the San Diego Aqueduct. A dedication ceremony was held with the S.A. Healy Company, contractor of the last section of the aqueduct. During the ceremony, Captain C.W. Porter, representing the Commandant of the Eleventh Naval District of the U.S. Navy, presented a letter to […]

With a little thoughtful planning and good choices, lawn can still be a good choice in waterwise landscaping. Photo: Pixabay/Cromaconceptovisual Waterwise Lawns

When It Comes To Lawns, Use it or Lose It

If you have a desire and a need to retain turf as part of your landscaping, consider adopting the most efficient and organic maintenance plan possible. Lawns that are maintained organically and with efficient irrigation can offer a cool, practical surface for active recreation, or just hanging out with your family.   Most lawns suffer from […]

Water Shortage Headlines Collage

1990s: Drought Prompts Supply Diversification Strategy

In the early 1990s, the Water Authority received 95 percent of its water from a single source — the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California — making the region vulnerable to supply shortages. In February 1991, worsening drought conditions forced MWD to cut deliveries to the San Diego region by 31 percent. The cutbacks lasted […]

San Diego County Water Authority Board Chairman Mark Muir. Photo: Water Authority Historic water deal

Historic Water Deal Provides Less Expensive, More Reliable Supplies

A historic achievement for the San Diego region passed almost unnoticed when the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors adopted new wholesale water rates in late June. The rate-setting process highlighted how the Water Authority’s independent water supplies from the Colorado River are now both less expensive and more reliable than supplies from […]

Fresh water aboard Midway was critical to building up enough fresh-water steam to accelerate this A-6E Intruder from 0 to approximately 150 miles per hour in only three seconds. Photo: USS Midway Museum

USS Midway: A History of Sustainable Water Management

The USS Midway Museum, docked in San Diego, is the most popular naval warship museum in the United States and among the most visited museums in the country, with 1.4 million people annually coming aboard. Those visitors discover the Midway made its own fresh water while at sea, from the first day it was commissioned […]