The Water News Network’s top three stories of 2019 reflect the San Diego region’s interest in water conservation, sustainable landscaping, and successful efforts to diversify water supply sources.
Bob Raibert loved the green grass growing in his Poway front yard when he bought his home four years ago. The affinity wore off when he got his first water bill.
“For two months it was $600,” he said. “The front yard was all grass; about 5,000 square feet of grass.”
Raipert did some research and spoke to experts.
He redid his entire front and backyard. The grass has been replaced with drought tolerant plants and artificial grass.
The Helix Water District has rolled out a new smart leak detector rebate program. Helix and Sweetwater Authority customers can get a rebate of up to $100 when they purchase a smart leak detector.
The detectors sync to smartphones, allowing customers to monitor water use 24/7 via smartphone and the devices notify customers of leaks and water consumption amounts.
Smart Leak Detectors
There are two types of smart leak detectors: plumbed devices and external devices, according to Helix.
- Plumbed Devices
Plumbed devices are plumbed into your existing water lines. Most of these devices can automatically shut the water off at their point of installation, or allow you to shut your water off remotely, in case of a leak. Since these devices tap into your existing plumbing system, a licensed plumber and permit may be required for installation. Plumbed devices are typically more expensive than external devices.
- External Devices
External devices attach to the outside of your water meter, typically with some type of strap, making them simple to install. Since external devices are not directly attached to your plumbing system, they do not have the ability to automatically shut off your water, or allow you to shut off your water remotely, if a leak occurs. External devices are typically less expensive than plumbed devices.
Measure All of Your Water Use
To monitor indoor and outdoor water use, install the leak detector before the point where your irrigation line branches off. This way, the device can alert you of faulty irrigation programming, broken sprinklers or outdoor leaks. This is important, because outdoor use is about half of a typical home’s total water use.
To monitor indoor water use only, install a smart leak detector on your water service line after the point where your main irrigation line branches off.
Rebates are first come, first served
Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are not guaranteed. To be eligible for this rebate pilot program you must be a customer of either Helix Water District or Sweetwater Authority and purchase a qualifying device on or after August 1, 2019.
Whether you are excited about an extra hour of sleep or dour about losing an hour of sunlight at the end of the day, daylight saving time ends Sunday, Nov. 4. The annual adjustment is a great reminder to perform several important household tasks, such as replacing smoke alarm batteries and restocking emergency preparedness kits.
The San Diego County Water Authority asks residents to add one more important task when changing the clocks: Adjust irrigation systems to save water in the months ahead.
“Adjusting irrigation is an easy way to conserve water, since landscapes need less irrigation as the days get shorter and cooler,” said Dana Friehauf, a water resources manager for the Water Authority. “Residents also should make sure their irrigation systems are working correctly, and are free of broken sprinkler heads or other leaks that waste water.”
Approximately half of a typical California household’s water use is outdoors. Seasonal adjustments to irrigation controllers in preparation for winter weather not only reduce water waste, they benefit the health of landscape plants.
Cool-season water-saving practices can reduce use
Additional water-saving practices during the fall and winter months include:
- Turning off irrigation systems when rainstorms are predicted.
- Leaving irrigation systems off for at least a week after significant rainfall.
- Installing rain barrels or cisterns to help capture stormwater from roofs and store it for future irrigation use.
Fall is also the ideal time for residents to upgrade thirsty turf yards to WaterSmart sustainable landscapes. Homeowners can take advantage of winter rains to help establish a new landscape. The Water Authority’s award-winning WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program offers a variety of free classes and how-to online videos to guide homeowners through the conversion process. More information is at WaterSmartSD.
In addition, there are a limited number of residential rebates available for homeowners who want to upgrade to sustainable landscaping at SoCal Water$mart.
The Water Authority offers additional water-saving resources for residents and businesses through its Live WaterSmart campaign. These include:
- Free water-use surveys and irrigation checkups
- Rebates for highly efficient irrigation equipment, washing machines and other devices
- Water-efficiency training for professional landscapers
- An online home water-use calculator and other tools
For a comprehensive list of tips, or to learn more about the Water Authority’s suite of water-saving resources, go to WaterSmartSD.org.
The city of San Diego offers money-saving ways for water customers to conserve water. The city’s Public Utilities Department provides rebates through grant funding by the Department of Water Resources for removing lawns and installing rain barrels. Homeowners can apply now for financial rebates to convert their lawns into a drought resistant landscape. The city is offering a $1.25 per square foot rebate for all lawns that are converted. Converted areas must be designed to capture rainfall for reuse.
The city of San Diego offers money-saving ways for water customers to conserve water. The city’s Public Utilities Department provides rebates through grant funding by the Department of Water Resources for removing lawns and installing rain barrels. Homeowners can apply now for financial rebates to convert their lawns into a drought resistant landscape. The city is offering a $1.25 per square foot rebate for all lawns that are converted. Converted areas must be designed to capture rainfall for reuse. Applications are now being taken for Rainwater Harvesting Rebates. Rain barrels and downspouts catch rainwater from hard surfaces such as rooftops.