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Encinitas Landscape Transformation Project Wins Local Contest

Encinitas, Calif. — Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors honored at its June 22 meeting Mike and Cathy Godfrey as OMWD’s winner of the 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest.

“Maximizing water efficiency outdoors is especially important as drought conditions remain in effect across the state,” said OMWD Board Director Neal Meyers. “Showcasing the diversity and beauty of California-friendly landscaping can encourage others to swap their grass for climate-appropriate designs and bring awareness to the benefits of sustainable landscaping.”

WaterSmart Landscape Contest-The Nieves family of Bonita won the Sweetwater Authority's 2019 Landscape Makeover Contest for theier creative WaterSmart landscaping design. Photo: Sweetwater Authority 2021 Landscape Makeover

2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest Open For Entries

One dozen San Diego County water agencies are looking for the best in landscaping makeover projects for the 2022 regional WaterSmart landscape competition. This annual competition showcases residential water-saving landscaping projects to inform and inspire other homeowners to consider replacing their turf-based yard designs.

The contest deadline for all participating agencies is Friday, May 13. Homeowners may submit their entry online through their water agency. Entrants must live within a water agency boundary to participate. Each agency winner receives a $250 gift certificate and recognition on the agency website and social media channels.

Participating agencies in 2022 include California American Water, the cities of Escondido and Oceanside, Helix Water District, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Otay Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Rincon Del Diablo Water District, San Dieguito Water District, Sweetwater Authority, Vallecitos Water District, and the Vista Irrigation District.

Turf removal saves an estimated 36 million gallons annually

El Cajon homeowner-Otay Water District-2021 Landscape Makeover Contest

El Cajon homeowner Christine Laframboise’s water saving landscape design trading turf for a less thirsty approach is the Otay Water District’s 2021 WaterSmart Landscape Contest winner. Pboto: Otay Water District

Most residential water use in San Diego County is used outdoors, primarily to water landscaping. When yards contain a large amount of turf, it can significantly increase overall water consumption. This is why conservation education efforts focus on replacing turf.

By showcasing how beautiful landscapes without grass can be through the WaterSmart Landscape Contest, homeowners can share their creativity and demonstrate how attractive WaterSmart landscaping can be.

“San Diego County homeowners are moving toward beautiful, sustainable landscapes and away from water-intensive lawns as the default choice,” said Joni German, San Diego County Water Authority water resources specialist. “Through ongoing education and through the examples people see around them, homeowners can see that water-efficient landscapes can be beautiful, lush, colorful, and thrive in our region. This contest is a great way to showcase the efforts homeowners regionwide have made to create these incredible outdoor spaces.”

Additional benefits of watersmart landscaping

Colorful, waterwise plants replaced a thirsty, labor intensive front lawn in Deborah Brant's winning landscape makeover. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

Colorful, water-wise plants replaced a thirsty, labor-intensive front lawn in Deborah Brant’s winning landscape makeover. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

  • Creating a garden to live in as well as look at by adding outdoor rooms for your favorite activities.
  • Drought-tolerant plants can be used to define spaces instead of buildings and walls.
  • Cultivating native plants for San Diego County’s Mediterranean climate zones, including ground covers, grasses, succulents, perennials, shrubs, vines, and trees.

Free landscape makeover classes offered by Water Authority

The Brants took advantage of the San Diego County Water Authority's Landscape Makeover classes to help them plan their project. Photo: City of Escondido

The Brants took advantage of the San Diego County Water Authority Landscape Makeover classes to help them plan their project. Photo: City of Escondido

The Water Authority offers free options to help homeowners plan their makeovers. Homeowners can get started with the Water Authority’s free three-hour introductory landscaping workshops scheduled on weeknights and Saturdays. The workshops are held virtually.

The Water Authority’s free WaterSmart Landscape Makeover four-class workshop series offers more specific planning for homeowners.  See the course page for the most current schedule and to sign up.

(Editor’s Note: The City of Escondido, the City of Oceanside, Helix Water District, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Otay Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Rincon Del Diablo Water District, San Dieguito Water District, Sweetwater Authority, Vallecitos Water District, and Vista Irrigation District are 11 of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)