All Features

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

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 […]

2003: Colorado River Agreement Signed

In 1995, the San Diego County Water Authority began negotiations with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) for the transfer of up to 500,000 acre-feet of water per year from the fertile farming area in the southeastern corner of California. In 1998, the Water Authority and IID signed an agreement that provided for the transfer of […]

When you compare how much water an efficient landscape design needs compared to your existing landscape, you can estimate your water savings. Landscape water savings

How Low Can Your Landscape Water Savings Go?

In places like San Diego County where water is a very precious resource, landscape designs that use the least potable water necessary are a growing part of the regional ethic. That means property owners should think about the efficiency and sustainability they can achieve in their landscaping.   As a general rule, it’s smart to maximize […]

Sunset Market in Oceanside welcomed the "Brought To You By Water" giant beach ball ambassador, accompanied by Water Authority community outreach staff who provided information and answered questions about the region's water supply. Photo: Authority

Giant Beach Ball Sparks Countywide Conversations on Water

In the wake of a successful summer kickoff event aboard the USS Midway on June 21, the San Diego County Water Authority and its member agencies are taking the new Brought To You By Water outreach and education program to events throughout the region this summer, including farmers’ markets, concerts in the park, and street […]

Paul Redeker surveys displays at The Water Conservation Garden, located on the campus of Cuyamaca College. Photo: David Ogul, Water Authority

Inspiring Change at The Water Conservation Garden

Horticulture director embraces educational mission WaterSmart landscapes are transforming San Diego County’s neighborhoods in part due to the work of Paul Redeker and his colleagues at The Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon. “We’re a learning center, not just a place where you’re surrounded by beautiful plants,” said Redeker, who recently returned for a second […]

Former water conservation class graduate and rebate recipient Rosalba Ponce from Chula Vista was named the Otay Water District's 2018 winner for “Best in District.” Photo: Courtesy Otay Water District Landscape Makeover

Otay Water District Announces 2018 WaterSmart Landscape Contest Winner

As part of the countywide WaterSmart Landscape Contest, the Otay Water District has selected water conservation class graduate and rebate recipient Rosalba Ponce of Chula Vista as the 2018 winner of its “Best in District” award. Each year, participating water agencies in San Diego County honor residential customers who showcase the best water-efficient features in […]

Beeblossom (Gaura) shrubs are a good low water use landscaping choice based on its Plant Factors rating. Photo: Water Authority

Knowing Your Plants’ Water Needs

Landscaping professionals use a resource called the Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS) to classify plants according to their water needs.   It might sound really complex, but it’s really useful because it breaks down the water requirements for each type of plant into four categories: Very Low, Low, Moderate, and High. These water requirements […]

1954: Final Pipe Installed for Pipeline 2, San Vicente Aqueduct

Thanks to an intensive lobbying effort and consensus building by the San Diego County Water Authority’s first chairman, Fred Heilbron, the San Vicente Aqueduct’s second pipeline was constructed between 1951 and 1954. The effort paid off when the second pipeline, parallel to and the same size as the first, began delivering water to the San […]