All Features

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

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 […]

San Vicente Aqueduct

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 […]

Balboa Park sustainability efforts generate cost savings and efficiencies which boost its economic impact on the region. Photo: Water Authority

Balboa Park Sustainability Efforts Set World-Class Standards

Most visitors know San Diego’s Balboa Park for its world-class museums, gardens, and performing arts venues. Behind the scenes is a learning laboratory of environmental best practices. Aaron L. Boyles, sustainability manager for the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, describes an active, collaborative effort moving quickly to make Balboa Park the most sustainable urban park in […]

Sweetwater Dam was constructed through the efforts of the Kimball Brothers, and spurred development of National City and Chula Vista. Photo: SDCWA Archives

1895: Sweetwater Dam Spurs South Bay Growth

As early as 1853, farmers in the San Diego region started making the transition from dry land farming and ranching to irrigated agriculture, specifically lucrative citrus crops. With the prospect of large profits looking, farmers scrambled to develop local water supplies for irrigation. A pair of enterprising brothers stepped up to fill the need for […]

Knowing how to classify your plants by water use characteristics will help you plan your sustainable landscaping. Photo: Water Authority evapotranspiration

Evapotranspiration: The Key To Watering Your Plants

How much water do plants really need in your landscaping? Evapotranspiration (ET) is the process of assessing various factors to determine how much water plants use, and when they need it. ET is a quick, simple way for landscape experts to explain environmental conditions such as solar radiation (sunshine) or cloud cover. The stronger the […]

As San Diego's temperatures soar, be sure your water use isn't soaring by using water resources efficiently. Photo: DaveJessica - Creative Commons License use water resources efficiently

San Diego Region Expects Sizzling Summer Heat

Water Authority offers tips to keep things cool while using water resources efficiently The first major heat wave of summer 2018 in the San Diego region arrived Friday, and it is expected to continue through the weekend. Temperatures hit a record 111 degrees in communities including El Cajon, Escondido, and Ramona on Friday. The City […]

Archives-Water Pipe, 1911-1915

1911: Laying Water Pipe To Serve San Diego’s Growing Population

At the turn of the century, San Diego County began experiencing tremendous urban growth. To meet the growing need of the population, water development began in earnest. It started a transition from relying on well water to impounding river water in the county’s mountains, and then moving it into the urbanized areas. The next few […]

Create a healthy growing environment for your new landscaping with the "soil lasagna" method. Graphic: Water Authority

Cook Up A Soil Lasagna

Healthy, living soil is full of oxygen, water, and life to support your plants. Building healthy soil using layers uses a process called soil sheet mulching, or “Soil Lasagna.” If you have ever cooked lasagna, this will seem familiar. Soil Lasagna boosts healthy microbes so much that they actually cook down the organic matter and […]

Carlsbad resident Munira Coomber's landscaping project wins the 2018 Watersmart Landscaping Contest. Photo: Courtesy Olivenhain MWD

Carlsbad Resident Wins 2018 Olivenhain MWD Landscape Contest

Encinitas, Calif. — Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors honored Munira Coomber as OMWD’s 2018 winner of the annual Watersmart Landscape Contest at its June 20 meeting. Coomber’s landscape features attractive water-efficient plants in both front and back yards as well as creative design ideas. The centerpiece in the front of the home is […]

San Vicente Aqueduct

1951: Construction Milestone for Pipeline 2, San Vicente Aqueduct

When World War II concluded, most experts expected San Diego’s population to decrease, but that was not the case. Pipeline 1 proved inadequate to meet the region’s water needs. Drought years in 1950-51 increased concerns about water shortages. The Water Authority appealed to the U.S. Navy to help build a second pipeline. It was willing, […]

Let your grass grow longer in the summer. Photo: PhotoMix - Creative Commons License

The Right Way to Remove Your Lawn

If you have made the decision to replace your thirsty, water-guzzling grass, you need to plan your grass removal process carefully to ensure you leave healthy living soil ready for new landscaping in its place.   Here’s how to do it:  First, keep your grass moist until you remove it. Don’t withhold irrigation and let it […]

1920s: Crouch Well, Emerald Hills Country Club

The area which constitutes Emerald Hills in San Diego County was once a Kumeyaay Indian burial site. The modern neighborhood is named for the Emerald Hills Country Club and Golf Course, established in the area in 1929 by Art Cloninger, a well-known restauranteur of the era. The hilly area had a magnificent view of the […]

How much mulch will you need? It depends on how you'll be using it in your sustainable landscaping. Photo: Phil Roeder/Flickr-Creative Commons License

More About Mulch You Need To Know

 When using mulch in your landscaping, how much mulch do you need? It depends on what job you want it to perform.  To hold in moisture and keep down weeds: Use three to six inches of mulch on top of the soil.  To maintain planting beds: Maintain two to four inches of mulch on beds […]

The winning WaterSmart landscaping project created by Bill and Rachel Williams. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

Vista Irrigation District Announces WaterSmart Landscape Contest Winner

Vista, Calif. – The Vista Irrigation District board of directors recognized one of its customers for their entry in the district’s WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The contest recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on the criteria of overall attractiveness, appropriate plant selection, design, appropriate maintenance, and efficient methods of irrigation. Bill and Rachel Williams received the […]

1916: Record Rainfall Damages Dams, Causes Flooding

Despite the construction of magificent new dams, the San Diego region suffered from lack of water supplies due to a ten-year drought. Desperate for rain, the City of San Diego hired rainmaker Charles M. Hatfield in December 1915 for $10,000 with the promise he could fill the Morena Reservoir. From January 15 – 20, 1916, […]