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Volunteers participate in the City of San Diego's Arbor Day tree planting event in 2023. Photo: City of San Diego

Celebrate Arbor Day: Discover How San Diego’s Tree Planting Programs Combat Climate Change and Save Water

With climate change creating new challenges for managing safe and reliable water supplies, trees are increasingly recognized and relied on for their importance in helping mitigate weather extremes and contributing to water conservation efforts.

Trees are among the most valuable investments in San Diego County’s landscape – including your own waterwise landscaping. No other landscape plant plays a more significant role in fighting climate change and managing a healthy watershed.

National Arbor Day on Friday, April 26, presents an opportunity to call attention to the benefits of planting trees. Several Arbor Day promotions and ongoing programs in San Diego County offer support for planting trees, including rebates and volunteer events that let you contribute to the effort to provide more trees.

New Tree Rebate Program Launched By Metropolitan Water District

Carefully selected trees are the most valuable addition to your sustainable landscaping. Photo: Helix Water District landscape trees

Carefully selected trees are the most valuable addition to your sustainable landscaping. Photo: Helix Water District

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California launched a new rebate program in March, offering residents and businesses $100 for each eligible tree planted in their yards to replace thirsty grass for more sustainable landscaping.

Metropolitan’s new “tree-bate” provides incentives for up to five trees in residents’ and businesses’ turf replacement projects. The district partnered with TreePeople and local water agencies to identify and recommend trees with lower water use that are appropriate for Southern California’s climate.

Learn about this new rebate and existing rebates at the Be Water Wise website.

SDGE Community Tree Rebate Program

San Diego Gas & Electric offers a tree planting guide through its rebate program. Photo: SDGE arbor day

San Diego Gas & Electric offers a tree planting guide through its rebate program. Photo: SDGE

The San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDGE) Community Tree Rebate Program for Residential Customers allows qualifying residential customers throughout the region to plant trees that provide environmental, health, and economic benefits.

Qualifying customers can receive a $25 rebate for planting or potting a one-gallon tree, a $35 rebate for a five-gallon tree, and a $50 rebate for a 15-gallon tree. Customers can apply for up to five rebates annually. Customers do not need a yard to qualify. Trees can be planted in large containers on outdoor balconies or patio areas.

City of San Diego Arbor Day Event

Volunteers are needed for an Arbor Day event to help plant trees at Memorial Community Park. Photo: City of San Diego

Volunteers are needed for an Arbor Day event to help plant trees at Memorial Community Park. Photo: City of San Diego

On Arbor Day, the City of San Diego’s Urban Forestry Program hopes to plant 100 new trees at Memorial Community Park in Logan Heights. It needs volunteers to help with planting, prepping soil, spreading mulch, and cleanup. Learn more and sign up using this link.

Throughout the year, City of San Diego residents can request a new street tree through Free Tree SD. This program allows residents and the City to work together by increasing San Diego’s tree canopy cover. Residents need to identify a space in the public right-of-way and agree to water the tree for three years. City arborists will evaluate the space and determine an appropriate tree selection. Fill out the Free Tree SD application form on the City’s website to get started.

City of Escondido Celebrates Arbor Day 2024

The City of Escondido needs volunteers to help plant 120 trees for Arbor Day on Saturday, April 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Meet at the House of Prayer Lutheran Church, 795 N. Rose Street. Trees will be planted from Oleander Place to Fern Street between Lincoln Avenue and Mission Avenue. Volunteers of all ages are welcome and are asked to wear comfortable clothing for getting dirty, close-toe shoes, and a hat. Sunscreen is highly recommended. Register on the City website.

City of Vista Residential Tree Giveaway Program

The City of Vista now offers a new Residential Tree Giveaway Program. This initiative is available to Vista residents who own property or have permission from the property owner to plant a tree on the premises. The program is first-come, first-served, and available as long as the funds last. Increasing the local tree canopy on private properties enhances wildlife habitat, mitigates the effects of climate change, and supports the City’s Climate Action Plan goals.

Applications are available now. Since this is a pilot program, it is only available as long as funds last. It was funded through a $50,000 year-end fund balance request, approved by the City Council at the end of 2023. The application form is on the City of Vista website.

County of San Diego Tree Planting Program

The County of San Diego surpassed its goal of planting 10,000 trees in 2023 by adding 11,010 trees, including 5,744 new trees planted at County parks and facilities, 1,637 trees planted through non-government organizational partnerships, and 3,629 trees planted by incorporated cities. The Board of Supervisors has budgeted funds to plant 4,000 trees through spring 2024.

The County has a tree plotter to help staff track tree inventory and plantings regionwide. Residents can participate by reporting trees they plant on their own. Visit the County’s Tree Plotter web page to get started.

The Role of Trees In Preventing Climate Change

Healthy trees fight climate change and cool our cities, provide habitat, and improve the health of our neighborhoods. Photo: Kampus Production / Pexels

Healthy trees fight climate change and cool our cities, provide habitat, and improve the health of our neighborhoods. Photo: Kampus Production / Pexels

The hydrological cycle heavily relies on trees to absorb water in the atmosphere. Trees act as water reservoirs, taking in water from the soil and releasing it through their leaves, a process known as transpiration. The added moisture in the air leads to rainfall and the continuation of the water cycle.

Tree root systems filter and remove pollutants and slow down water absorption into the soil. This process helps to prevent erosion and reduce the risk of over-saturation and flooding.

Trees provide cooling to increasingly hot neighborhoods and cities, and they are among the most efficient tools for removing harmful carbon dioxide that fuels global warming.

San Diego forestry and landscaping professionals work with the San Diego County Water Authority and its 23 member agencies to help protect our region’s trees while conserving water. Find more resources at the Kate Sessions Trees website.

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 2023.

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 2023. Workshops help residents learn how to capture rainwater to supplement their irrigation needs, save money on water bills, and protect our region’s environment by preventing pollutants from spilling into regional watersheds.

The County of San Diego holds free rain barrel rebate workshops at different locations. Use the QR Code for the latest schedule. Photo: County of San Diego

The County of San Diego holds free rain barrel rebate workshops at different locations. Use the QR Code for the latest schedule. Photo: County of San Diego

The next scheduled workshop is Wednesday, November 8, at 1 p.m. at Tractor Supply, 27444 Valley Center Road. Future workshops will be listed on the County of San Diego Waterscape Rebate Program website.

At the end of the workshop, residents who live in unincorporated areas of San Diego County may be eligible to receive a free rain barrel. Participants in incorporated areas can check their rebate eligibility on the San Diego County website’s interactive map.

The County of San Diego Watershed Protection Program (WPP) partners with the San Diego County Water Authority and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (through SoCal WaterSmart) and can assist residents in determining which program benefits are available.

Capture rainwater 

During San Diego County’s limited periods of rainfall, any rainwater captured from your roof and property saves money. It also helps the region maintain its water supplies.

Directing downspouts into water collecting features in your landscaping makes use of rainfall. Photo: County of San Diego rain barrel rebates

Directing downspouts into water-collecting features in your landscaping makes use of rainfall. Photo: County of San Diego

Workshops introduce residents to several beautiful, efficient ways to save rainwater. In addition to rain barrels, directing downspouts to fill containers lets you choose how to use the rainwater you capture. The overflow should empty onto your yard or a landscape feature to infiltrate the excess flow into the soil. Rain chains can assist with this.

Protecting water quality in watersheds

The Countyl of San Diego is committed to protecting the water quality in county creeks, streams, and coastal areas. Runoff from irrigation, storms, and even faulty septic systems can bring pollutants to county waterways and threaten public health.

When businesses and households make changes to reduce water use and use rainwater in their landscapes, it helps preserve healthy, safe waterways and more reliable water supplies.

How rain barrel rebates work

After buying rain-saving containers or other items eligible for rebates, and have installed them, residents can apply for rebates. Current rain barrel rebates are $35 and are limited to two per household for most San Diego County residents. Multiple projects are eligible. Details at: Socal WaterSmart.

Rain barrels conserve water for WaterSmart landscape maintenance

Making use of rain barrels is good for the environment and good for your household budget. Photo: National Audubon Society

Making use of rain barrels is good for the environment and good for your household budget. Photo: National Audubon Society

Whether or not El Niño results in increased rainfall, even light rain can provide enough water for later use. A roof with a 2,000-square-foot surface area can capture 300 gallons from only a quarter inch of rain.

Stored water can be released gradually into landscaping between winter rainstorms, building up the soil sponge and ensuring that native plants get adequate water during the winter months when they need it most. If additional water is needed in the summer, captured and stored water during the winter could be used as supplemental irrigation.

The Solana Center For Environmental Innovation website has additional information on rain barrels and rebate programs.

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 landscaping.

“It wasn’t a garden, it was a yard,” recalls Williams.

In 2020, Williams found resources on the Vallecitos Water District website for saving water by redesigning your landscaping. The results won first place in the 2023 landscape makeover contest.

Dean Williams' home after completing his landscape makeover. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Dean Williams’ home after completing his landscape makeover. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

“There are so many resources. The first step was to take some landscape classes offered through the San Diego County Water Authority, find out the process and what I needed to do,” said Williams.

After removing existing turf using the sheet mulching method to create healthy soil, he planned a colorful plant palette to replace his grass.

Dean Williams' home before his winning landscape makeover. Photo: Vallecitos Water District 2023

Dean Williams’ home before his winning landscape makeover. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

“One of the big things I wanted to change was to go from a drab landscape to having some variety by using different textures on the plants, different flowers, different colors, and complementing colors,” said Williams, who used purple and yellow as the primary landscape colors. “I tried to have an interesting landscape pleasing to the eye.”

The colorful redesign saves water and costs. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

The colorful redesign saves water and costs. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Williams said the benefit of installing drip irrigation and a smart controller was significant water and cost savings.

“We’ve noticed over that our water use and bills have gone slowly down,” he said.

Lessons learned

Williams said the “do it yourself” project offered many lessons learned, including watering too often.

“Drought-tolerant plants don’t do well in wet soil,” said Williams.

Williams encourages other homeowners to tap into all the available resources through the Vallecitos Water District, Water Authority, City of Carlsbad, and others for advice and possible rebates to offset their investment.

“It just pays in more ways than one to change your landscape. “I want to thank Vallecitos Water District for selecting us so we can showcase our landscape transformation,” said Williams.

Dean Williams took advantage of free resources offered by the Vallecitos Water District and San Diego County Water Authority. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Dean Williams took advantage of free resources offered by the Vallecitos Water District and San Diego County Water Authority. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Donald De Tar: DIY project earns second place

Donald De Tar's home after completing his landscape makeover. Photo: Vallecitos Water District 2023

Donald De Tar’s home after completing his landscape makeover. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Donald De Tar learned about the annual Landscape Makeover Contest through the Palomar Cactus and Succulent Society. “So, we decided on a lark to enter,” said De Tar.

His Woodlawn Park area home in San Marcos is dedicated to succulents, cactus, and drought-tolerant plants.

De Tar says it not only saves water but it also saves time spent mowing, fertilizing, and trimming grass. It’s also a lot of fun.

Donald De Tar's home before his landscape makeover. Photo: Vallecitos Water District 2023

Donald De Tar’s home before his landscape makeover. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

De Tar is proud of the budget-friendly approach to his landscaping.

“I did it on a very inexpensive budget,” said De Tar. “It doesn’t have to be super expensive, especially if you join an organization like the Palomar Cactus and Succulent Society. It can be almost free, especially if you’re doing the work yourself.”

De Tar learned about rebate programs through the Vallecitos Water District, and he successfully applied for rebates to offset costs. “Over time, we did the whole yard, and the backyards and side yards have been transformed.”

I’m very appreciative of the Vallecitos contest,” said De Tar. “I like the fact that Vallecitos is involved in the community and promotes these kinds of contests.”

Mily Le Wins Third Place

The results of Mily Le's landscape makeover, which won second place. Photo: Vallecitos Water District 2023

The results of Mily Le’s landscape makeover, which won second place. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Third place went to longtime San Marcos homeowner Mily Le. She learned about the annual landscape contest through the Vallecitos Water District’s customer newsletter, “Between The Pipes.”

Le visited the lawn replacement program website and learned how to remove her regional grass safely and effectively. She got her design laid out and purchased plants from her local nursery.

Mily Le's home before her landscape makeover. Photo: Vallecitos Water District 2023

The Mily Le home before her landscape makeover. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

As a result, Le says she saves about 30% of her water consumption after replacing her lawn. She says she learned from a neighbor’s experience about researching the eventual size of plants before planting them.

“(My neighbor) did not look it up,” she said. “She had to demolish the front yard, so I took that lesson.”

Le suggests lots of advance planning with your layout. “I’m glad I did it. I think it’s a successful project,” said Le.

For rebates, classes, and water-saving tips: sdcwa.org/your-water/conservation/.

(Editor’s note: The Vallecitos Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Otay Water District Opens 2023 Landscape Makeover Contest

The Otay Water District has launched its annual WaterSmart Landscape Contest as part of a continuing effort to encourage water conservation. Outdoor watering accounts for more than half of residential water use. The resident judged to have the most attractive, drought-toleranat garden receives a nursery gift card, among other prizes, and the title “Best in District.”

Sierra Nevada Snowpack: One of the Largest on Record

Following three consecutive years of drought in California, the Sierra Nevada snowpack is one of the most bountiful in more than 40 years. While the snowpack and snow water equivalent is great news for water supply, there are concerns the record snowpack could create flooding issues.

The California Department of Water Resources electronic readings from 130 snow sensors placed throughout the state indicate the statewide Sierra Nevada snowpack’s snow water equivalent is 61.1 inches, or 237% of average for April 3. The snow water equivalent measures the amount of water contained in the snowpack and is a key component of DWR’s water supply forecast.

Sierra Nevada snowpack

This year’s April result from the statewide snow sensor network is higher than any other reading since the snow sensor network was established in the mid-1980s. Before the network was established, the 1983 April 1 statewide summary from manual snow course measurements was 227% of average. The 1952 April 1 statewide summary for snow course measurements was 237% of average.

“This year’s severe storms and flooding is the latest example that California’s climate is becoming more extreme,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth after the April 3 snow survey at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada. Photo: Fred Greaves/California DWR

“California’s climate is becoming more extreme”

“This year’s severe storms and flooding is the latest example that California’s climate is becoming more extreme,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “After the driest three years on record and devastating drought impacts to communities across the state, DWR has rapidly shifted to flood response and forecasting for the upcoming snowmelt. We have provided flood assistance to many communities who just a few months ago were facing severe drought impacts.”

Just as the drought years demonstrated that California’s water system is facing new climate challenges, this year is showing how the state’s flood infrastructure will continue to face climate-driven challenges for moving and storing as much of these flood water as possible.

Sierra Nevada snowpack-snow survey-DWR-

“This year’s result will go down as one of the largest snowpack years on record in California,” said Sean de Guzman, manager of DWR’s Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit. (R-to-L: de Guzman, Jacob Kollen, Water Resources Engineer in Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit, and Jordan Thoennes, Water Resources Engineer in Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit.) Photo: Kenneth James/California DWR

“One of the largest snowpack years on record”

“This year’s result will go down as one of the largest snowpack years on record in California,” said Sean de Guzman, manager of DWR’s Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit. “While 1952’s snow course measurements showed a similar result, there were fewer snow courses at that time, making it difficult to compare to today’s results. Because additional snow courses were added over the years, it is difficult to compare results accurately across the decades with precision, but this year’s snowpack is definitely one of the biggest the state has seen since the 1950s.”

Sierra Nevada-snowpack-April 2023-DWR

Snowpack varies by region

For California’s snow course measurements, only 1952, 1969 and 1983 recorded statewide results above 200% of the April 1 average. While above average across the state this year, snowpack varies considerably by region. The Southern Sierra snowpack is currently 300% of its April 1 average and the Central Sierra is at 237% of its April 1 average. However, the critical Northern Sierra, where the state’s largest surface water reservoirs are located, is at 192% of its April 1 average.

Flooding and spring snowmelt

The size and distribution of this year’s snowpack is also posing severe flood risk to areas of the state, especially the Southern San Joaquin Valley. DWR’s State-Federal Flood Operations Center (FOC) is supporting emergency response in the Tulare Lake Basin and Lower San Joaquin River by providing flood fight specialists to support ongoing flood response activities and by providing longer-term advanced planning activities.

The FOC and DWR’s Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit are helping local agencies plan for the spring snowmelt season by providing hydraulic and hydrologic modeling and snowmelt forecasts specific to the Tulare Lake Basin that are informed by DWR’s snowmelt forecasting tools, including Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO) surveys.

Storms this year have caused impacts across the state including flooding in the community of Pajaro and communities in Sacramento, Tulare, and Merced counties. The FOC has helped Californians by providing over 1.4 million sandbags, over 1 million square feet of plastic sheeting, and over 9,000 feet of reinforcing muscle wall, across the state since January.

State Water Project deliveries increased

On March 24, DWR announced an increase in the forecasted State Water Project deliveries to 75%, up from 35% announced in February, due to the improvement in the state’s water supplies. Governor Gavin Newsom has rolled back some drought emergency provisions that are no longer needed due to improved water conditions, while maintaining other measures that continue building up long-term water resilience and that support regions and communities still facing water supply challenges.

Sierra Nevada Snowpack-April 2023-Reservoir conditions

Water supply challenges

While winter storms have helped the snowpack and reservoirs, groundwater basins are much slower to recover. Many rural areas are still experiencing water supply challenges, especially communities that rely on groundwater supplies which have been depleted due to prolonged drought.

Water conservation ‘a way of life’

Long-term drought conditions in the Colorado River Basin will also continue to impact the water supply for millions of Californians. The state continues to encourage Californians to make water conservation a way of life as more swings between wet and dry conditions will continue in the future. The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies provide rebates and programs to encourage water conservation.

Given the size of this year’s snowpack with more snow in the forecast, DWR anticipates conducting a May snow survey at Phillips Station. That is tentatively scheduled for May 1.

Fix-A-Leak Week 2023 Saves Water, Environment

Fix a Leak Week is an opportunity for all water users to repair leaks and save our most precious resource.  The week (March 20-26) is a reminder every March to check indoor and outdoor plumbing systems for costly, wasteful water leaks.

Increasing awareness of opportunities to repair leaks is supported by the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies, and by other regional WaterSense partners throughout North America.

Fix a Leak Week is a reminder every March to check indoor and outdoor plumbing systems for costly, wasteful water leaks. Graphic EPA WaterSense

Fix-A-Leak Week 2023 Saves Water, Environment

Fix a Leak Week is an opportunity for all water users to repair leaks and save our most precious resource.  The week (March 20-26) is a reminder every March to check indoor and outdoor plumbing systems for costly, wasteful water leaks.

Increasing awareness of opportunities to repair leaks is supported by the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies, and by other regional WaterSense partners throughout North America.

“While Fix a Leak Week is a reminder to save water by repairing leaks, San Diegans continue to be WaterSmart by upgrading plumbing devices with high-efficiency toilets and low-flow showerheads, and by using smart irrigation controllers that automatically adjust with the weather,” said Water Resources Specialist Debby Dunn, with the San Diego County. “We encourage residents and businesses to take advantage of the rebates available to save water indoors and outdoors.”

Minor leaks, water waste

Minor water leaks account for more than a trillion gallons of water wasted each year in homes across the United States. For example, repairing a leaky toilet can save up to 500 gallons of water a day. In just a month, that’s enough to fill a backyard swimming pool.

According to the EPA, an average household’s leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year. Homes with easily correctable leaks can waste 90 gallons or more per day. By fixing easily correctable leaks, consumers can save water cut an average of 10% off their monthly water bill.

Upgrade or repair leaking fixtures indoors and outside

Adding water efficient upgrades will help meet long-term regional conservation goals. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Adding water efficient upgrades will help meet long-term regional conservation goals. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

The Water Authority has partnered with San Diego Gas and Electric to install nearly 4,000 WaterSense-labeled showerheads and 2,213 water-efficient toilets for residents. A $3 million grant from the California Department of Water Resources Urban Community Drought relief grant program will fund the installation of 7,300 additional toilets and smart irrigation controllers. The upgrades will save about 6,000 acre-feet of water. Replacing inefficient or leaking toilets with high-efficiency models reduces water use by 60%.

March Fix a Leak Week 2023

Regional water agencies help customers save water and money

The Vallecitos Water District added a new video for 2023 to its award-winning series helping customers find and fix leaks to save water and money. This year, Vallecitos Water District asks viewers to take the “10 Minute Challenge.”

The Sweetwater Authority is offering tips for consumers and rebates of up to $75 for leak repairs made through June 30. Consumers can schedule a free water audit by calling the Water Efficiency Hotline at 619-409-6779 or email

The Sweetwater Authority also offers customers a $75 rebate to replace or install a new pressure-reducing valve at their home. The valves help to address high pressure that can cause increased wear on fittings, making them more prone to leaks.

A rebate of up to $100 is also available for qualifying leak detectors and flow monitors, which can alert customers to potential leaks through an app on their smartphone. Check out all the water efficiency rebates: www.sweetwater.org/rebates.

Minor water leaks account for more than a trillion gallons of water wasted each year in homes across the United States. Photo: Rajesh BalouriaMinor water leaks account for more than a trillion gallons of water wasted each year in homes across the United States. Photo: Rajesh Balouria

Minor water leaks account for more than a trillion gallons of water wasted each year in homes across the United States. Photo: Rajesh Balouria

The Otay Water District offers helpful tips to fix leaks and save water on its website and its social media, including:

  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes, you may have a leak. Visit otaywater.gov/how-to-read-your-meter to learn how to track your water use.
  • Place a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank and wait 10 minutes without flushing. If color appears in the bowl, you have a leak.
  • Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings for any water on the outside of the pipe to check for surface leaks.

Easy fix for some leaks

Leaky showerheads or dripping faucets are often easy to fix, requiring common tools and hardware that can pay for themselves in water savings. How much? According to the EPA Fix-A-Week-Leak website, each average household with unaddressed leaks can account for 10,000 gallons of water loss every year, enough to wash 300 loads of laundry.

Investing just 10 minutes to perform a quick search of your home and fixing them can save an additional 10% on your water bill.

Check WaterSmartSD.org for tips and for more information about Fix a Leak Week.

To educate water users and promote the importance of repairing leaks to conserve and protect the water supply, Fix a Leak Week was created in 2009 by the Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense program.

(Editor’s note: The Vallecitos Water District, Otay Water District and Sweetwater Authority are three of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the San Diego County region.) 

In-Person Workshops Return for 2023 Landscape Makeover Program

The San Diego County Water Authority’s free WaterSmart Landscape Makeover workshops have helped thousands of San Diego County homeowners successfully convert high-water-use lawn areas to WaterSmart landscapes.

For the first time since 2019, in-person landscape workshops return starting Saturday, March 18. Weekly sessions are from 9 a.m. to noon at The Water Conservation Garden, adjacent to Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego, and at the Helix Water District Operations Center in La Mesa. Virtual workshops are also offered on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with a new series beginning March 18. Virtual workshop registration is also open.

Participation is free with registration for in-person and virtual workshops required in advance through the workshop webpage. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Topics cover residential landscape design for the homeowner, plant palettes, healthy soil, irrigation retrofits and streamlined landscape maintenance, all with a “do-it-yourself” approach encouraging the use of low water use plants and personal design touches.

Sustainable Ramona: Are There Incentives, Rebates for Water Conservation?

Sustainable Ramona is a local group dedicated to the preservation of our surroundings. By responding to your questions each month, we intend to provide you with common-sense, affordable, short- and long-term ways to manage issues such as increasing water shortages, high heat, high electric bills and minimize waste going to landfills. The question this month is: Are there rebates and incentives to facilitate water conservation? Answer: There are many, both indoors and outdoors.