WaterSmart Living

Resources and tips to increase water-use efficiency

The Fairways HOA landscape makeover in Lake San Marcos retains some turf mixed with low-water use plants for substantial water savings. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Fairways HOA Achieves Savings Through Landscape Optimization

A Lake San Marcos homeowners association successfully upgraded its community landscape to achieve water savings and cost savings with assistance from a joint program offered through a partnership between the San Diego County Water Authority and the County of San Diego. The Landscape Optimization Service (LOS) offered through the Waterscape Rebate Program is a technical […]

Fix a Leak Week is a reminder every March to check indoor and outdoor plumbing systems for leaks. Graphic: EPA

Fix-A-Leak Week 2024 Brings WaterSense To Work

Water leaks don’t happen just in the home. This year, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual Fix-A-Leak Week 2024 program focuses on the importance of repairing leaks and saving water in the workplace and commercial buildings such as hospitals, schools, hotels, retail stores, and community centers. Fix-A-Leak Week was created in 2009 by the Environmental […]

Vermiculture and vermicomposting using earthworms to help you turn kitchen scraps into compost has multiple environmental benefits including the prevention of stormwater runoff. Photo: Sippakorn Yamkasikorn/PixabayCC

Worms Boost WaterSmart Landscaping

One of the most valuable tools for managing water retention and avoiding stormwater runoff while improving your landscaping soil harnesses the power of worms – earthworks, to be specific. Vermiculture and vermicomposting are eco-friendly tools using earthworms to transform organic waste into nutrient-rich compost. This process benefits gardeners and the environment. In the San Diego […]

Rain barrels can capture rainfall for irrigation in your garden. Photo: National Audubon Society rain barrel rebates

Rain Barrel Rebates Timed for Rainy Season

With climatologists predicting the potential for above-average precipitation in the months ahead due to the El Niño weather phenomenon, it’s an ideal time to take advantage of the County of San Diego’s upcoming rainwater harvesting workshops and rain barrel rebates. The County’s Waterscape Rebate Program will host free rainwater harvesting workshops in Fall and Winter […]

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Free WaterSmart Classes Help Residents Transform Landscapes

The San Diego County Water Authority offers free WaterSmart classes, with both virtual and in-person options, taught by local landscape design professionals. Classes help participants understand landscape design and maintenance, soil identification and health, turf types and removal tips, plant selection, rainwater catchment, irrigation retrofits and project installation, whether completed as a DIY project or […]

A drought tolerant design inspired by mountain views is the 2023 winner of the San Dieguito Water District Landscape Makeover Contest. Photo: San Dieguito Water District

Mountains Inspire Winners of San Dieguito Water District 2023 Landscape Contest

Large trees were the driving force that led Encinitas homeowners to remove grass and create a vibrant, low-water use landscape. The waterwise transformation won the San Dieguito Water District 2023 Landscape Makeover Contest. Rick and Melanie Cullen had a yard with grass with large shade trees. But the roots of their three large Liquidambar trees […]

Dean Williams replace his grass with colorful drought tolerant plants. His landscape makeover won first place. Photo: Vallecitos Water District 2023

Vallecitos Water District 2023 Landscape Makeover Winners Find Inspiration

Three resourceful homeowners took advantage of free resources, including design and plant selection advice, to create beautiful drought-tolerant landscapes. Their projects were named winners of the 2023 Vallecitos Water District Landscape Makeover Contest. Video features the three winning projects Dean Williams: Drab To Delightful Carlsbad homeowner Dean Williams and his wife didn’t like their existing […]

Diane Krupnak's smart planning and design helped her win the 2023 Vista Irrigation District landscape makeover contest. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

Vista Irrigation District Landscape Winner Complements Home Design

Vista Homeowner Diane Krupnak redesigned her front yard to save water and won the 2023 Vista Irrigation District WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The annual contest recognizes outstanding waterwise residential landscapes based on the criteria of overall attractiveness, appropriate plant selection, design, appropriate maintenance, and efficient irrigation methods. Workshops provide homeowner know-how Concerned by the severity of […]

Carolina Schultz's transformed landscape demonstrates how homeowners can create a beautiful, California-friendly landscape using less water. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Landscape Transformation Wins Sweetwater Authority Contest

National City homeowner Catalina Schultz decided to reinvent her yard. Her landscape transformation from grass to a low-water use design is the 2023 winner of the Sweetwater Authority WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Contest. Schultz’s landscape demonstrates how homeowners can create a beautiful, California-friendly landscape using less water. Schultz was recognized for her accomplishment at the Authority’s […]

Brad Lefkowitz's family friendly watershed inspired design is the winner of the 2023 Olivenhain Municipal Water District Landscape Makeover Content for 2023. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Family Friendly Watershed Approach Wins Olivenhain MWD 2023 Landscape Makeover Contest

By taking a watershed approach to his landscape redesign, homeowner Brad Lefkowits won the Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s 2023 Landscape Makeover Contest. Lefkowits was recognized at the June 21 OMWD Board of Directors meeting. The WaterSmart Landscape Contest is held annually by water agencies throughout San Diego County. Entries highlight colorful and lush landscapes that […]

The award-winning low-water-use garden display by the California Native Plant Society, sponsored by the Water Authority at the San Diego County Fair. Photo: California Native Plant Society

County Fair Exhibits Delight Visitors with Low-Water Use Landscaping

If you’re ready to move ahead with plans to create a water-efficient landscape, the San Diego County Fair is a good place to start. There are several award-winning examples of creative low-water use and native plant gardens at the fair’s popular Paul Ecke Jr. Garden Show exhibit area. (The San Diego County Water Authority has […]

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“Thanks for Planting Me!” Spokesplants Promote Landscape Transformation

“Thanks for Planting Me!” encourages more widespread adoption of sustainable landscapes to prepare the Southern California region for a hotter and drier climate. The “Thanks for Planting Me!” summer campaign offers gratitude to the hundreds of thousands of San Diegans who have transformed their landscapes using low-water and native plants as part of a larger […]

WaterSmart Makeover: Escondido Yard is a Handcrafted Haven

In Jeanne Reutlinger’s world, gardening is an act of collaboration with friends and neighbors — meaning you don’t need much of a budget at all to create a prize-winning front yard. In Reutlinger’s case, her garden is the 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest winner for the city of Escondido’s water district. (Editor’s Note: Residents of San […]

The Panorama HOA in Lake San Marcos achieved beautiful results from its landscaping makeover project, which will conserve water and preserve the region's watershed. Photo: Vallecitos Water DistrictHOA landscape makeover

Lake San Marcos HOA Landscape Makeovers Benefit From County Watershed Restoration Program

Lake San Marcos area homeowners associations are conserving water and helping restore the area’s watershed with support from the County of San Diego’s Watershed Rebate program. The rebate program is part of the County’s Watershed Protection Program. Through a partnership between the program and the San Diego County Water Authority, residences and businesses in unincorporated […]

Drought-Proof Your Garden-webinar-Nan Sterman

Free “Drought-Proof Your Garden” Webinars with Waterwise Garden Guru

The San Diego County Water Authority and waterwise garden guru Nan Sterman have teamed up to offer a series of free public webinars designed to help San Diego County residents care for their gardens during a fourth straight year of severe drought. Starting at 7 p.m. on Nov. 2, Sterman will host periodic webinars during […]