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Encinitas Residents Asked to Step-Up and Conserve Water

Encinitas, Calif.  — As California enters its third consecutive dry year and following the driest first three months of a year in the state’s recorded history, Governor Gavin Newsom and the State Water Resources Control Board took steps to drive water conservation at the local level, calling on local water suppliers to take locally appropriate actions that will conserve water across all sectors.

In response, the Olivenhain Municipal Water District and San Dieguito Water District are asking Encinitas residents to step-up and assist Californians across the state in dealing with the drought.

A colorful landscape full of native blooms is the 2019 Helix Water District Landscape Contest winner. Photo: Helix Water District Helix 2019 Landscape Contest

California Native Garden Wins Helix’s 2019 Landscape Contest

Matt and Lauren Kirkpatrick of La Mesa are this year’s winner of the Helix Water District’s ‘WaterSmart Landscape Contest,’ an annual competition recognizing outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on overall attractiveness, design, efficient irrigation and appropriate plant selection and maintenance.

Compared to the previous landscaping with thirsty turf, the new landscaping uses much less water. Photo: Helix Water District

Compared to the previous landscaping with thirsty turf, the new landscaping uses much less water. Photo: Helix Water District

Compared to the thirsty turf in the Kirkpatricks’ previous landscaping, the growing, colorful and entirely native new landscaping requires much less water and creates a place of inspiration and peace for these outdoor enthusiasts. Over the two-month billing period ending this April, the home used just 13 units of water, which is almost 40 percent less than the average water use of other Helix customers. One unit is 748 gallons.

The Kirkpatricks purchased the home in 2014 with a front yard full of grass that required frequent watering and mowing to maintain a modest appearance. In the end, the lawn’s appearance was lackluster, costly, and time consuming for the couple. Taking advantage of SoCal WaterSmart’s turf removal rebate program, the Kirkpatricks tossed their turf for a beautiful native landscape with less maintenance and less water consumption.

The couple chose a native plant pallet so they could enjoy the look, feel and smell of what they love – the California outdoors.

“California natives were an obvious choice,” said Matt Kirkpatrick. “They are a reflection of our love for the plants we know closely from our experiences outdoors. Native plants make us feel at home and give us an appreciation for the beauty of our state.”

Colorful new landscaping already in full spring bloom

Even though the new landscaping is only four months old, it is already in full bloom with California native plants. Photo: Helix Water District

Even though the new landscaping is only four months old, it is already in full bloom with California native plants. Photo: Helix Water District

Although only a few months old, the yard already displays a wonderful spring bloom with a wide variety of colors that native landscapes can offer. There are vibrant oranges from hundreds of California poppies, reds from sticky monkey flower, blues from ceanothus, purples from lupine, yellows from yarrow and plenty of green and golds from various shrubs and grasses. At the center of the landscape is a young but promising Engelmann Oak, a signature Southern California tree among wild and urban landscapes.

Plants receive water from rainwater catchment and through an efficient irrigation system, which the couple installed. The landscape captures rainwater from the roof and diverts it into two separate swales designed to absorb the water and allow it time to soak into the soil. The two swales provide water for half of the yard and prevent rainwater from running off into the street. The remaining plants receive water through high-efficiency spray nozzles that were retrofitted onto the existing irrigation system and use less water than the previous sprinklers. The Kirkpatricks only run the system once per month during the warm season.

Native gardens are just one of many different designs of landscapes available to homeowners looking to redesign their thirsty and traditional landscapes. In addition to requiring minimal irrigation beyond rainfall, native gardens are colorful, low maintenance and provide a natural habitat for local wildlife.

Free WaterSmart Landscape Makeover classes provide blueprint for success

The Kirkpatricks took advantage of the Water Authority's WaterSmart Landscaping classes. Photo: Helix Water District Helix 2019 Landscape Contest

The Kirkpatricks took advantage of the Water Authority’s WaterSmart Landscaping classes. Photo: Helix Water District

Like the 2018 Helix landscape contest winners, the Kirkpatricks took advantage of the San Diego County Water Authority’s free WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program four course series to educate themselves about their options. They then chose a landscaping contractor familiar with native plants which thrive in a residential landscape to bring their plan to life.

The Kirkpatricks will receive their prizes including gift cards totaling $250 and an award certificate at the Helix Water District’s June board of directors meeting The family will also receive a ‘WaterSmart Contest Winner’ sign to display in the yard.

The annual landscape contest runs from January through April each year. Visit the Helix Water District’s website, Facebook page or Twitter for more information.

Helix Water District treats and delivers water to over 276,000 people in La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove and parts of Spring Valley, Lakeside and unincorporated San Diego County.

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 of San Diego reached 93 degrees. There won’t be much relief on the beaches, as Coronado’s forecasted high on Saturday is 83 degrees.

Heat records set in San Diego and around the world

Red-hot temperatures are a worldwide trend, including in the San Diego region. The National Weather Service reports 53 of the last 56 months have been hotter than normal at the official weather station at Lindbergh Field.

San Diego's temperatures show an upward trend overall.

San Diego’s temperatures show an upward trend overall.

All time heat records have already been set this week from Denver to Tbilisi, Georgia. Record heat is to blame for at least 33 deaths in and around Montreal, Quebec.

Whether or not the San Diego region will break its record high temperatures of 2017 this year, it is important for residents to use WaterSmart practices which help you use water resources efficiently during the peak water-use months.

The San Diego County Water Authority offers several tips for making the most of the region’s water supplies. They include:

  1. Check your landscaping’s irrigation system

Inspect irrigation equipment to eliminate overspray. Monitor soil moisture using a spade or soil probe, and only water if the top inch of soil is dry. Irrigate turf if it doesn’t spring back when stepped on. Better yet, upgrade to a “smart” irrigation controller that automatically adjusts water times based on weather conditions. Rebates on irrigation equipment are at WaterSmartSD.org.

  1. Water your mature trees correctly

Water mature trees like this mesquite tree slowly and deep into its roots. Photo: Water Authority Use water resources efficiently

Water mature trees like this mesquite tree slowly and deep into its roots. Photo: Water Authority

Irrigate mature trees once or twice a month using a soaker hose or drip system toward the edge of the tree canopy – not at the base of the tree. Use a hose faucet timer (found at hardware stores) to prevent overwatering. Young trees need more frequent irrigation; consult an arborist or tree-care manual for details.

  1. Refresh your compost and mulch

Keeping a 3-inch layer of mulch around trees and plants reduces runoff, helps control weeds and protects soil from direct sunlight and evaporation. Keep mulch at least a foot away from tree trunks and several inches from the crowns of plants. Also, add compost to increase soil nutrients.

  1. Refrigerate drinking water

Your lorikeet can get its drinking water this way. You should fill your reusable water bottles and chill them in the refrigerator for your cold drinking water. Photo Wade Tregaskis - Creative Commonsn License

Your lorikeet can get its drinking water this way. You should fill your reusable water bottles and chill them in the refrigerator for your cold drinking water. Photo Wade Tregaskis – Creative Commons License

Keep drinking water cool in your refrigerator to avoid running the tap. Use refillable water bottles instead of buying disposable plastic bottles.

  1. Put a lid on it

Pool and spa covers reduce evaporation, lower pool heating costs and keeping out dirt and debris.

  1. Take a gardening break from the heat

New plants need more water to get established, so wait until fall or winter for planting to take advantage of cooler temperatures and rainfall.

  1. Watch the grass grow

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

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

Set your mower to leave grass at least three inches high, because taller blades of grass can reduce evaporation up to 80 percent and protect your roots from heat. And don’t water during the hottest part of the day. The ground can be so hot, roots may literally cook themselves in hot irrigation water.

  1. Treat your vehicles to an efficient car wash

Patronize car washes that recycle water and save at least 15 gallons each time. When washing at home, use a hose nozzle that shuts off when you release the handle.

  1. Rinse your produce the right way

Rinse your fresh fruits and vegetables in a bowl, then use the water on your indoor plants. Photo: McBeth, Creative Commons License Use water resources efficiently

Rinse your fresh fruits and vegetables in a bowl, then use the water on your indoor plants. Photo: McBeth, Creative Commons License

Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water instead of under a running water tap. Use the bowl of water afterward to water your house plants or outdoor container plants.

  1. Go to summer school

Learn more tips and best practices on how residents and businesses can use water most efficiently, including WaterSmart Landscaping Videos on Demand from the comfort of your beach chair or sofa, plus information on rebates, classes and other water-saving resources to help you keep your cool on your water use this summer at WaterSmartSD.org