Posts

Rebates-Businesses-Drought-Water Conservation

Water-Use Efficiency Rebates for Businesses

As extreme drought grips the Southwest, businesses across California are taking a variety of water-saving actions. The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies offer business rebates and other incentives to help businesses save money while saving water.

State ban on commercial turf

The state’s watering ban was put into place on May 24, 2022 and applies to non-functional turf grass defined as grass that is “solely ornamental” and not regularly used for recreational purposes or community events. The restriction does not apply to yards at individual homes and includes exemptions for sports fields and grassy areas made for community gatherings. Watering trees is allowed and encouraged. Enforcement of the state regulations is at the discretion of the local water agency.

Incentives for business property owners

From turf conversions to incentives for converting industrial water systems to recycled water service, there are numerous opportunities to improve water efficiency on commercial properties. To learn more and find more details, visit SDCWA.org. Available rebates and resources for business property owners include:

  • Through a partnership between the County of San Diego’s Watershed Protection Program and the San Diego County Water Authority, businesses in unincorporated areas of the county are eligible for newly enhanced water-use efficiency rebates in 2021. The Waterscape Rebate Program saves money for residential, commercial, and agricultural customers who make landscape upgrades to improve the region’s climate resilience.
  • SoCalWaterSmart’s Commercial Turf Replacement Program offers great incentives to HOAs and commercial business landscapes. Businesses that convert 1 acre or more of irrigated landscapes, can also apply for the WaterSmart Contractor Incentive Program which offers rebates for irrigation devices such as controllers, nozzles, and drip irrigation.
  • The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California On-Site Retrofit Program provides financial incentives to public or private property owners to convert potable water irrigation or industrial water systems to recycled water service.
  • Certified landscape irrigation auditors provide free, on-site inspections, or WaterSmart Irrigation Checkups, and written site-specific water-saving recommendations for qualifying commercial properties in the Water Authority’s service area.

San Diego has reliable supply

Declining water availability on the Colorado River and worsening drought conditions statewide underscore the importance of collective actions to ensure reliable water supplies.

“We are committed as a region to answering the Governor’s call to step up conservation efforts in the face of extreme hot and dry conditions statewide,” said Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher. “We are collaborating with the Department of Water Resources’ Save Our Water program, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and our 24 member agencies on public outreach and education efforts this summer to stop water waste and increase conservation efforts to stretch our water supplies.”

The San Diego region has prepared for dry periods and water supplies will continue to sustain the San Diego economy and quality of life. The San Diego County Water Authority is working with its partners at the regional, state, and federal levels to advance water management solutions for the Southwest.

Details on the Water Authority’s programs and drought response and on state regulations go to sdcwa.org.

Opinion: Every Californian Holds the Key to Drought Response

All Californians play a role in preserving and enhancing our water supplies for a drought-resilient future. California again is in a familiar state of drought, although not all communities are affected equally. Some regions are in extreme water shortage; others are not. We must address these differences. That starts with all Californians understanding where their water comes from and what they can do to use it wisely.

The Cavanah family's colorful, watersmart landscape is the winner of the 2022 Sweetwater Authority Landscape Makeover contest. Photo: Sweetwater Authority less water

More Beauty, Less Water Wins Sweetwater Authority’s 2022 Landscape Contest

The Sweetwater Authority named Nancy Cavanah of Chula Vista its 2022 winner of the WaterSmart Landscape Contest. Cavanah was recognized at the Authority’s June Governing Board meeting.

The Cavanah’s landscape was selected from a diverse pool of applicants as the best example of how to create a beautiful landscape using less water.

Clay Clifton, Sweetwater Authority Program Specialist, presents the Cavanahs their award. Their landscape was selected from a diverse pool of applicants as the best example of how to create a beautiful landscape using less water. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Clay Clifton, Sweetwater Authority Program Specialist, presents the Cavanahs with their award. Their landscape was selected from a diverse pool of applicants as the best example of how to create a beautiful landscape using less water. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Colorful plants replace thirsty turf

After years of watering to maintain a green front lawn, Cavanah and her husband decided to invest in making their yard more water-efficient. Using the Turf Replacement Rebate Program to help offset costs, the Cavanahs replaced their thirsty lawn with drought-tolerant landcover and colorful native plants to attract birds and bees. Plant choices include brightly colored Lantana, Haworth’s Aeonium, and Lion’s Tail (Leonotis leonurus).

Left to right: Lantana, Haworth's Aeonium, and Lion's Tail bright color to the award-winning landscape. Photo: Sweetwater Authority less waterLeft to right: Lantana, Haworth's Aeonium, and Lion's Tail bright color to the award-winning landscape. Photo: Sweetwater Authority less water

Left to right: Lantana, Haworth’s Aeonium, and Lion’s Tail bright color to the award-winning landscape. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

The landscape’s low watering needs are supplemented by adding rain barrels.

The Cudahy home before its watersmart landscape makeover. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

“The Cavanah’s landscape is a shining example of how customers can save water and money while maintaining the beauty of their yard,” said Board Chair Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. “The Authority is here to assist customers to make these water-wise investments by offering rebates, resources, and support.

The Cavanahs replaced their thirsty lawn with drought-tolerant landcover and colorful native plants to attract birds and bees. Photo: Sweetwater Authority less water

The Cavanahs replaced their thirsty lawn with drought-tolerant landcover and colorful native plants to attract birds and bees. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

The annual WaterSmart Landscape Contest allows Authority customers an opportunity to showcase their best, water-wise landscapes – benefitting other residents with their winning examples. All customers who have transformed their yards to be more water-efficient are encouraged to enter the contest for the chance to win a $250 gift certificate. The contest runs from January through mid-May each year.

Find tips and resources on how to create a WaterSmart home and garden at www.watersmartsd.org/.

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

Native plants-New landscaping-room to grow-plants-watersmart living landscape

Designing Your WaterSmart Living Landscape to Fit Your Life

When designing your WaterSmart Living landscape, you want your new outdoor space to fit your house, your neighborhood, and your lifestyle. Finding that fit begins by asking a few basic questions.

First, how do you want to use your space? It’s possible to significantly improve your home’s water efficiency and meet your lifestyle needs at the same time. For example, you may want to use less water yet maintain some turf for your children and pets. Focusing most of your landscape plan on low and moderate water use while leaving a small area of turf with high-efficiency irrigation lets you achieve a WaterSmart landscape.

Hausmanns-Vallecitos Water District-landscape makeover-waterwise-WaterSmart

The Hausmanns award-winning landscape makeover also produces succulents sold to benefit a good cause. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

If your goal is an outdoor space for entertaining, use mostly low water plants, a water feature, and a moderate efficiency irrigation system for a different type of WaterSmart Living landscape.

You can reduce water use, minimize maintenance and create a landscape that will be the envy of your neighbors with a combination of very low and low water use plants and a highly efficient irrigation system.

Consider alternatives to traditional turf grass such as low-water-use groundcover and mulch, or permeable hardscape like gravel or decomposed granite paving wherever possible. But if an area of turf is important to your family – for example, a play area for your kids and pets – keep it but use a more drought-tolerant variety of grass in the warm season turf category.

Video: Learn more about how turf can be part of a WaterSmart design

Your Overall Planting Design

Before you start selecting plants, envision your overall planting design. Determine your landscape style and think in terms of plant size and characteristics before moving into actual plant selection.

Take some time to consider the style of landscape you find appealing. Think about how it fits your home’s architecture, your neighborhood, and your lifestyle. You might find a heavy tropical look appealing. But it requires careful low-water-use plant selection for the arid San Diego region.

San Diego shares its climate with many areas of the world, and there are many plant palettes to choose from.

Consider Your Views and Access  

Plants can be used to screen views. Would blank walls or fences look better with a nice-looking shrub in front of them? You can frame the view out a window, but you probably don’t want a large shrub blocking the view.

Plants can also create access points. Is access from the side of the house needed to take garbage cans to the curb? If so, make sure you accommodate a safe pathway in your design.

__________________________________________________

WaterSmart Living-Logo-San Diego County Water Authority

(Editor’s Note: The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies offer programs, resources, and incentives to improve water-use efficiency for residential, commercial, and agricultural users. WaterSmart choices are a way of life in the region. Stay WaterSmart San Diego! For more water-use efficiency resources, go to WaterSmart.SD.org.)

Summer of Water Conservation-Save Our Water-News Conference

Summer of Water Conservation in California

State, regional, and local leaders are joining forces to urge water conservation across San Diego County and statewide at the start of summer. With drought conditions worsening in every corner of the Southwest, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has called on residents and businesses to take additional conservation measures to help ease the effects of extreme drought during the hot summer months.

On June 23, the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors unanimously adopted a resolution reaffirming the agency’s commitment to conservation after joining California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and regional leaders by committing to additional water-saving measures to combat what scientists call the worst drought in 1,200 years.

The Water Authority is collaborating with the Department of Water Resources’ Save Our Water program, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and its 24 member agencies on public outreach and education efforts this summer designed to stop water waste and increase conservation efforts statewide. In addition to social and traditional advertising campaigns, the Water Authority is planning to attend several community events to hand out “drought survival kits” that include hose nozzles and buckets for collecting shower water for irrigating plants.

Save Every Day, Every Way

“Strengthening efforts to save water should be top of mind for all Californians this summer as California continues to endure extreme drought going into the hottest and driest months of the year,” said Secretary Crowfoot. “Even small actions to cut back on water use, like watering your yard less, can make a lasting impact on the effects of drought in our state and help ensure that we have enough water supply to meet our current and future needs.”

Emergency water conservation regulation

At the governor’s direction, the State Water Resources Control Board in May adopted an emergency water conservation regulation to ensure more substantial water savings. The regulation bans irrigation of non-functional turf in commercial, industrial, and institutional settings statewide, and directs urban water supplies to implement conservation actions under Level 2 of their Water Shortage Contingency Plans.

San Diego adopts stringent water restrictions

Mayor Gloria said the City of San Diego’s investment in repurified water will enhance supply reliability in years ahead, but he emphasized that it’s important for residents save more water now. He added that the City has adopted more stringent water restrictions under Level 2 of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

“As our state and region continue to navigate current drought conditions, we are asking San Diegans to take these prudent water-conservation measures now, so we can help avoid a more dire situation in the near future,” said Mayor Gloria. “The City and its regional partners have a number of rebate and resource programs to help everyone do their part to reduce water use.”

At the Water Authority, Board Chair Gary Croucher said the agency is working with leading local industry associations to promote water conservation by tourists, restaurant patrons and homeowner associations. In addition, the Water Authority sponsors on-farm water conservation measures through the Mission Resource Conservation District and collaborates with the County of San Diego on water-saving rebates in unincorporated areas, along with providing a variety of other resources to residents and businesses at www.WaterSmartSD.org.

“We can do more”

“Thank you to each and every San Diegan who has helped reduce per capita water use in our region by more than 40 percent over the past three decades,” Croucher said. “But the simple fact is that we can and should do more. We are committed to answering the Governor’s call to step up conservation efforts this summer.”

Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, joined Thursday’s news conference and encouraged business leaders to take advantage of rebates and programs that help offset the cost of converting non-functional and ornamental turf at their offices. Non-functional turf in commercial, institutional, and industrial landscapes is a major focus of the state conservation actions.

WaterSmart San Diego

“Our community has done an incredible job of investing in our water infrastructure and reliability in ways that have been hailed by national publications as a model for the arid West,” Sanders said. “As we continue to make and benefit from those investments, it’s important that we continue to embrace water-efficiency and conservation has in protecting San Diego County’s economy and quality of life.”

At the San Diego Tourism Authority, Chief Sales Officer Kavin Schieferdecker pledged the tourism industry’s support for informing visitors from around the world about the severe drought conditions in the state and the need for efficient water use.

Water fuels economy

“In the face of extreme drought, it’s clear we need to take additional steps so we can continue to attract visitors from around the globe so we can fuel our local economy while protecting our water supply,” said Schieferdecker. “The San Diego Tourism Authority is pleased to accept the Water Authority’s invitation to join this effort by sharing reminders with our hotels, motels and restaurants and their guests about the need to make the most of every drop.”

The biotech industry association Biocom California was founded in San Diego in response to the drought of the early 1990s to ensure reliable water supplies for what has become a major economic engine for the entire state, said Jimmy Jackson, senior vice president and chief policy officer at Biocom California.

“Access to water is a major factor for life science companies as they consider whether to locate research and manufacturing facilities in this region,” Jackson said. “If the trend of global companies choosing to locate in California is to continue, we must persist in promoting sustainable use of our precious water resources.”