All Features

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

By order of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the U.S. Navy built the San Diego Aqueduct to deliver Colorado River water to San Diego. It is now known as Pipeline 1. Photo: SDCWA

1947: Construction of the First San Diego Aqueduct

San Diego became a hub of Naval Activity after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II in 1941. The city’s population doubled in two years, and water use also doubled. It was clear the city and the Navy would soon need water from the Colorado River. An aqueduct for […]

The 318-foot-tall Olivenhain Dam in North County is a major component of the Water Authority’s Emergency and Carryover Storage Project. The dam added 24,000 acre-feet of water storage capacity. Golden Watchdog Award

Water Authority Project Named ‘Golden Watchdog Award’ Finalist

San Diego, Calif. – The San Diego County Taxpayers Association named the San Diego County Water Authority’s Emergency & Carryover Storage Project as a finalist for its prestigious “Regional Golden Watchdog Award” in the 23rd annual Golden Watchdog and Fleece Awards. The “Goldens” recognize the best and worst in local government spending, decision-making, and efficiency. […]

Compare your soil to these diagrams to determine your landscaping's soil composition. You can then adjust amendments to reach the optimum mix. Illustration: SDCWA Jar Soil Test

What Kind of Soil Do You Have? Take the Test

If you have ever put a shovel into the ground in San Diego County, you have likely encountered the region’s impermeable soils. Impermeable soils are defined by their poor infiltration areas. This means water doesn’t flow through the soil to replenish the groundwater, because the soil is too dense.   It also means water doesn’t soak […]

Don Billings receives the 'H2O Champion' Water Legacy Award from SDCWA Chairman Mark Muir and Vice Chairman Jim Madaffer. Photo: Water Authority

Five San Diegans Honored With Inaugural Water Legacy Awards

Five recipients of the first ever 2018 Water Legacy Awards received recognition in ceremonies at the Water Authority’s boardroom on May 2. Bestowed by the Authority’s Board of Directors, the awards honor each recipient’s individual impact on the region’s water issues through their leadership, advocacy, and public communication. Don Billings, recipient of the H2O Champion […]

Alfred and Audrey Vargas, a brother and sister team from Sweetwater High School, won top honors from the Water Authority for water-related projects at the regional Science and Engineering Fair. Their work is designed to provide low-cost fresh water to people in developing countries. Photo: SDCWA

Sweetwater High Students Aim To Avert World Water Crisis

Audrey and Alfred Vargas are trying to expand access to clean drinking water one drop at a time. The brother and sister duo, who live in National City and attend Sweetwater High School, have been refining a portable, low-cost, easy-to-use, simple-to-construct system that efficiently desalinates brackish water. “We see it as one of many possible solutions […]

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

Water Tax Proposal Remains Poor Policy

Like a bad penny, a plan to tax water keeps turning up in Sacramento. That’s right: under two proposals circulating in the Capitol, California would start taxing the most fundamental resource on the planet. Such taxes would needlessly drive up costs for families already struggling to make ends meet and undermine the very goals that […]

flow of water from the San Diego Aqueduct at the south portal of San Vicente Tunnel into the San Vicente Reservoir, November 26, 1947. Photo: SDCWA Archives

1947: First San Diego Aqueduct Averts Water Shortage

San Diego County was on the brink of a major water shortage in 1947, when reservoirs that stored local water were running dry and the region had less than three weeks of water supplies left. But on Nov. 26, 1947, the first Colorado River water flowed south from the Colorado River aqueduct’s western end in […]

San Diego County's six climate zone according to CIMIS

San Diego’s Six CIMIS Climate Zones

Your landscape’s water needs go a long way toward determining your garden’s design and your plant choices. By choosing wisely, you can minimize the need for artificial irrigation and still create a beautiful, sustainable landscape. Under the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS), San Diego County is divided into six climate zones: Coastal, Coastal Inland, […]

The California Water Environment Association of San Diego recognized Vallecitos Water District wastewater treatment plant supervisor Dawn McDougle as its 2018 Supervisor of the Year. Photo: Courtesy VWD

Vallecitos Supervisor Honored for 28 Years of Environmental Protection

From her first day on the job at Vallecitos Water District in 1988, Dawn McDougle knew that she wanted to finish her career at the San Marcos-based water agency. Her dedication, innovation, and commitment to the community have paid off in many ways over the decades. In January, they brought McDougle to the forefront of […]

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

Water Authority Seeks Bright Ideas

From California’s earliest days as a state, innovation has been king. We’ve collectively developed world-changing ways of mining gold, telling stories through film, farming, computing and communicating. That same innovative DNA courses through the San Diego County Water Authority, which over the past year has expanded its efforts to advance pioneering solutions to water industry […]

The new skills lab for the Cuyamaca College Wastewater Studies program. Photo: Courtesy GCCCD

College Students Get Their Feet Wet at New Center for Water Studies

RANCHO SAN DIEGO – Cutting-edge training facilities unveiled for spring classes at Cuyamaca College help tomorrow’s water and wastewater workforce gain the hands-on experience necessary for successful careers in the industry. Additional upgrades are on the way by fall, as the college continues expanding its legacy of preparing workers for careers in water. Cuyamaca’s new […]

Irrigation Sprinkler Head

Gardeners, Do You Know Your ETo?

People around the world know San Diego for its beautiful, sunny and mild weather. San Diego residents know our daily weather has more variety than visitors might imagine. Climate is defined as the average weather conditions in an area over a long period, generally 30 years or more. German climate scientist Wladimir Koppen first divided […]

2015: Carlsbad Desal Plant Taps the Pacific

More than 600 elected officials, community leaders and project partners attended a dedication ceremony for the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination on December 14, 2015. During the dedication event, the plant was named in honor of the late Carlsbad mayor, who was instrumental in making Carlsbad the host city for the plant. The event culminated […]

Choosing native plants can help you minimize the need for artificial irrigation of your San Diego County sustainable landscaping. Photo: SDCWA

Take the Watershed Approach to Landscaping

Many San Diego County residents embrace sustainability as a central principle for creating or renovating their landscapes. Treating every garden, no matter its size, as its own mini-watershed allows it to capture and retain water to nurture a diverse habitat of plants and helpful insects. What elements do you need to consider when taking a […]

Waterwise plant choices sustainble landscaping

Hot off the Press: Sustainable Landscaping Guidebooks Available Countywide

Free manuals include photos, diagrams and checklists for environmentally friendly upgrades. Free copies of a popular guidebook for environmentally friendly landscape upgrades are available to residents countywide starting today, thanks to a second printing of the “San Diego Sustainable Landscape Guidelines” by the San Diego County Water Authority. Homeowners who commit to meeting rigorous sustainable landscaping […]