Chair Croucher: Epic Drought Means Everyone Should Find Even More Ways to Make a Meaningful Impact

Sept. 21, 2021 – San Diego County Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher today issued a statement in response to the State Water Resources Control Board announcement of water conservation figures for July.

“Over the past three decades, the water ratepayers in the San Diego region have done an extraordinary job of voluntarily reducing water use by nearly 50%. Those conservation efforts are enhanced by the Water Authority’s investments in a diversified water supply portfolio and regional facilities, including water transfers, seawater desalination, canal lining and reservoirs. That long-term track record of stewardship is a primary reason why we have reliable supplies during this record-breaking drought and for future years.

“While we should all be proud of our long-term track record of conservation, we need to do more to help eliminate water waste during this epic drought. The Water Authority offers numerous tools to enhance water sustainability, including free water-use check-ups for homes and businesses, along with rebates for WaterSmart upgrades. As a community, it’s important that we find ways to be even more water-efficient to ensure that we have reliable water supplies not just for today, but for future generations.”

— Gary Croucher, Board Chair, San Diego County Water Authority

San Diego Looks for Partner to Build $1.5B San Vicente Hydro Energy Project

The project is on the drawing board. Now the San Diego County Water Authority and the city of San Diego are looking for a private partner to build and operate a pumped energy storage facility at the San Vicente Reservoir.

The Water Authority and the city have issued a request for proposal to find a suitable team to develop one of the state’s largest “pumped hydro” projects that would add megawattage and flexibility to California’s electric grid. Proposals from potential partners will remain open until Nov. 3.

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Top 10 Tips for Saving Water This Fall

As drought conditions persist throughout the west, the San Diego County Water Authority and its member agencies continue to actively support the state’s call for a 15% voluntary reduction in water use.

San Diego County residents and businesses can continue WaterSmart practices this fall by following these simple and easy tips to save water. 

Simple Water Saving Tips For Fall

Find a discount. Take advantage of rebates on products that help reduce indoor and outdoor water use. 

Shorten the shower. Keep showers to five minutes or fewer and save 2.5 gallons per minute.

Go low. Install aerators on faucets and low-flow showerheads to instantly save water every time you turn the tap.

Deploy the drip. Irrigate gardens with drip systems that minimize water waste by delivering water right at the roots.

Get smart. Install weather-based irrigation controllers in your landscape to take advantage of the latest smart technology that maximizes water-use efficiency.

Monitor the moisture. Use moisture meters to determine when and how much water plants need.

Embrace the broom. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks, and patios.

Check your water footprint. Use an online water-use calculator to assess how much water your home uses compared to a WaterSmart home. 

Turn to a pro. When it’s time to hire a landscaping professional, start with the list of Qualified Water-Efficient Landscapers who can make sure you are making the most of every drop.

Plant with perfection. Check out all the beautiful WaterSmart plant options that pair perfectly with San Diego County’s Mediterranean climate. 

For more tips, resources and rebates, go to

Agencies Seek Private Partner to Develop 500-MW San Vicente Energy Storage Project

The San Diego County Water Authority has issued a request for proposals seeking a full-service private partner capable of developing the 500-MW San Vicente pumped energy storage project, planned jointly by the Water Authority and the City of San Diego.

The partner agencies aim to maximize the value of the existing San Vicente Reservoir for on-demand energy generation to support the state’s clean energy goals.

RFP Issued for 500MW Pumped Hydro Energy Storage in California

A Request for Proposals (RFP) has been issued for a 500MW pumped hydro energy storage project at a reservoir in California by the San Diego County Water Authority.

The authority supports water supplies for more than three million people, supplying wholesale to 24 retail water providers. It has decided to put its San Vicente Reservoir into dual use by turning it into an on-demand clean energy facility while it also supplies water.

Water Authority Seeks Proposals for Pumped Storage System at San Vicente

The San Diego County Water Authority has issued a formal request for proposals to build a pumped-storage generating system at the San Vicente Reservoir by 2030.

The project would use excess solar and wind energy to pump water to a new reservoir above the current dam, and then release it through turbines to generate up to 500 megawatts of electricity when needed.

Drought Haves, Have-Not’s Test How to Share Water in the West

Phil Fine stands in a parched field and watches a harvester gnaw through his carrot seed crop, spitting clouds of dust in its wake. Cracked dirt lines empty irrigation canals, and dust devils and tumbleweeds punctuate a landscape in shades of brown.

Across an invisible line separating Fine’s irrigation district from the next, it’s another world. Automated sprinklers hiss as they douse crops, cattle munch on green grass and water bubbles through verdant farmland.

Efficient irrigation-landscaping-Conservation Corner aspects of sustainable landscaping can help you ensure the success of your project. Photo: Water Authority

Efficient Irrigation Delivers Water While Protecting Plants

Due to the lack of rainfall in the San Diego region, even sustainable landscaping sometimes relies on artificial irrigation. Irrigation systems must be thoughtfully designed, installed, and programmed. Once in place, the many interconnected mechanical elements must be maintained properly for optimal performance.

“Irrigation efficiency” is a way of describing how well your irrigation system is doing its job delivering water for the beneficial use of the plants in your landscaping.

When irrigation system efficiency isn’t maximized, it can cause you to use more water than needed. Possible problems fall in three major categories: site conditions in your landscaping, irrigation control, and the uniform distribution of water by your irrigation system.

How to maximize irrigation impact

You may want to get help planning your irrigation system from a qualified professional. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

There are three ways to improve your irrigation system efficiency:

  • Smart Irrigation Management
  • State of the Art System Upgrades
  • Matching Irrigation to Your Hydrozones

Setting and forgetting your irrigation controller is a thing of the past. Even if you don’t have a “smart” irrigation controller to adjust your program for weather conditions, be more proactive in managing your watering, and more closely try to match your watering schedule with the actual water needs of your landscaping.

Upgrading your system with state-of-the-art components is a good investment and the single most significant thing you can do to save water.

Tips on professional help

You may decide to get professional help with your irrigation system. Look for designers or contractors qualified to provide these services. Credentials such as the Irrigation Association’s Certified Irrigation Designer designation can help assure your project will be successful. You can also ask if your contractor is a Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL).

This article is part of a year-long series inspired by the 71-page Sustainable Landscapes Program guidebook. The Water Authority and its partners also offer other great resources for landscaping upgrades, including free WaterSmart classes at

Request for Proposals Issued to Develop San Vicente Energy Storage Facility

San Diego County Water Authority this week issued a formal Request for Proposals seeking a full-service private partner capable of developing a large-scale pumped energy storage project planned jointly by the Water Authority and the City of San Diego. Proposals are due by 2 p.m. Nov. 3. The partner agencies aim to maximize the value of the existing San Vicente Reservoir for on-demand energy generation to support the state’s clean energy goals.

A 20-Year Megadrought Threatens Hydropower in the West

A 20-year megadrought in the West is threatening hydropower for millions of people, so the federal government is taking emergency action. It’s sending water from other reservoirs to Lake Powell to help keep the power turbines there spinning.