Storage Is Essential For California To Achieve 100% Green Energy Without Blackouts

California’s law mandating 100% carbon-free electricity has a big hole in it. It fails to address energy storage. Batteries as well as other longer-duration energy storage solutions are absolutely essential for a reliable supply of electricity that relies largely on energy resources such as solar and wind, which are available only some of the time. Ordinarily, one might assume the state’s utilities would invest in large storage projects such as pumped storage, an efficient technology allowing the capture and storage of excess renewable energy so we don’t have to waste it. When the sun is shining or the wind is blowing during the day, it pumps water uphill.

An irrigation map that clearly shows the layout of your irrigation system can be very helpful when you need to locate components for repair. Photo: Markus Distelrath/Pixabay

Make a Map of Your Irrigation System

It’s easy (and fun) to produce a landscaping plan showing where every shrub and flower is placed on site. Drawing what you can see is relatively easy.

But what about the irrigation system underneath your landscaping? Do you know the location of your water mainline, irrigation system clocks, valves and sprinkler heads?

Understanding the layout of your irrigation system is important so you can accurately locate components for seamless repair. If you plan on adding to or upgrading the system, you’ll want an irrigation map to guide construction.

Steps to making your irrigation map

First, locate all of the sprinkler heads on your property and mark their location on a copy of your landscaping site plan. Also mark the location of the following elements:

• Water meter or irrigation sub meter, and where the water comes from the street onto your property (the main line)
• Irrigation controller
• Shut off valve for turning off the irrigation system
• Pressure regulator – this may be for the irrigation system separate from the house. If your irrigation comes from a pipe that first serves the house, it may be located before it enters the house.
• Irrigation valves
• Hose bibs
• Backflow preventer – if you don’t have one, your sprinkler valves probably do, so don’t worry

Observe and color code which sprinklers go on at the same time when a valve is turned on.

Adapting your existing irrigation system to a new efficient system

Use your irrigation map to determine which parts will work with a new, more efficient system without abandoning everything and starting from scratch. If you’re removing or renovating most of your landscaping, you might need to alter the irrigation. In that case, starting from scratch can end up being the most cost and time efficient alternative.

This article was inspired by the 71-page Sustainable Landscapes Program guidebook available at The Water Authority and its partners also offer other great resources for landscaping upgrades, including free WaterSmart classes at

The 2017 Spring Garden and Butterfly Festival at The Water Conservation Garden. Photo: Water Conservation Garden

Spring Garden and Butterfly Festival Returns to Cuyamaca College, Water Conservation Garden

Butterfly releases, thousands of landscape and garden plants for sale, and museum tours are among the activities at the Spring Garden & Butterfly Festival at Cuyamaca College on April 27.

Several thousand visitors from throughout the region and beyond are expected to visit the college, which houses The Water Conservation Garden and the Heritage of the Americas Museum. All three institutions have planned an array of family-friendly events. Admission is free.

The Cuyamaca College Ornamental Horticulture Department will hold its largest plant sale of the year. Old Town Trolley Tours of San Diego will provide free, narrated rides to and from the garden, the museum and the college.

Water Conservation Garden celebrates 20th anniversary

The Spring Garden and Butterfly Festival is one of the most popular events in East San Diego County.

The Spring Garden and Butterfly Festival is one of the most popular events in East San Diego County. Photo: The Water Conservation Garden

This year’s festival is especially noteworthy because Cuyamaca College is celebrating its 40th anniversary and The Water Conservation Garden is celebrating its 20th. Both will be hosting displays celebrating their histories.

“The Spring Garden & Butterfly Festival is among the most popular events in San Diego’s East County region, and for good reason,” said Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes. “Not only is the plant sale a major fundraiser for our award-winning Ornamental Horticulture Department, this festival also allows our college, The Water Conservation Garden and the Heritage of the Americas Museum to showcase an impressive array of innovative programs we offer to the community.”

The annual event has its roots in the annual Spring Garden Festival plant sale benefiting the Ornamental Horticulture program. The event combined forces with the annual Butterfly Festival at The Water Conservation Garden in 2017.

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President Signs Garamendi Delta Bill Into Law As Part Of Conservation Act

After more than a decade in the making, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Act by Rep. John Garamendi, D-Solano, was signed into law by President Donald Trump as part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. The National Heritage Area Act will provide $10 million for community-based efforts to conserve the Delta’s cultural heritage and historical landmarks. Garamendi, who served as deputy secretary to the U.S. Department of the Interior under Bill Clinton, reintroduced the act in January. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, has sponsored a Senate companion bill since 2010.

February Storms Wash Away Drought Conditions. Will San Diegans Continue To Conserve?

February storms have left California flush with water, relieving concerns the state could quickly slip back into the drought conditions that plagued it for much of the last decade. Less than 3 percent of the state is now experiencing drought, down from nearly 84 percent just three months ago, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. At the same time, the state’s frozen reservoir of mountain snowpack is already 124 percent of average for the season.

OPINION: Why Are We Still Conserving Water?

The National Conflict Resolution Center handles many disputes involving minor family tensions that escalate into major sources of friction. We explore this category today with an example of a couple locked in disagreement over water conservation practices. Partner A, who grudgingly agreed to curtail water usage during the drought, believes the current onslaught of rain is a license to take long showers and run the tap while brushing teeth. Partner B, who is deeply committed to environmental sustainability, sees no reason to backslide into wasteful habits. Like most domestic standoffs, this was prompted by a “presenting issue” (an argument over water conservation), but it involves more complex challenges of handling 24/7 diverging views and clashing priorities.

Get Up To $250 In Drought-Resistant Plants Thanks To New Program

The Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District is launching the region’s first ever Residential Plant Voucher Program to incentivize residents to transform their landscapes with drought-tolerant plants and develop water-efficient gardening practices, it was announced Friday. The program will provide up to $250 dollars of water efficient plants from Garden View Nursery to qualifying residents, the water district press release said. The nursery was picked because it’s centrally located within Upper District’s area of service in Irwindale and has a wide selection of native plants and trees, the press release said.

Olivenhain Municipal Water District Logo

Water Districts Offer Discounted Rain Barrels to Save Water

Encinitas, Calif.—To encourage water conservation and reduce runoff that can carry pollutants into local waterways and beaches, Olivenhain Municipal Water District has partnered with Carlsbad Municipal Water District, San Dieguito Water District, and Santa Fe Irrigation District to offer discounted rain barrels to area residents. Rain barrels ordered by February 26 will be available for pick up at Solana Center for Environmental Innovation on March 2, between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. The center is located at 137 North El Camino Real in Encinitas.

City of San Diego’s 19th Annual Kids Poster Content

Calling all first through sixth grade students … the City of San Diiego Public Utilities Department is looking for the next Michaelangelo.  Get your students involved for a chance to be recognized as community ambassadors and local conservation celebrities.

Inland Valley Residents Encouraged to Conserve Water During Pipeline Repairs

A scheduled shutdown of a pipeline supplying most of the water for Inland Valley cities has prompted officials to ask customers to limit their water use over a 10-day period. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is suspending water deliveries through its Rialto Pipeline from Monday, Dec. 3 to Wednesday, Dec. 12 to conduct scheduled maintenance on a portion of the pipeline, said Kirk Howie, chief administrative officer for Three Valleys Municipal Water District.