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San Diego Seeks Public Input on Plan to Produce 50% of Water Locally by 2045

The City of San Diego plans to develop more than half of its water locally under a plan introduced by Mayor Todd Gloria.

The plan intends to develop more than 50% of the city’s locally by 2045. A major factor in this goal will be the city’s Pure Water recycling program, which purifies recycled water to be used as safe drinking water. The project is expected to be fully implemented by the end of 2035 and have the capacity to create 83 million gallons of water daily.

Actually, Pure Water Will Quench Half of San Diego’s Drinking Needs, City Says

San Diego announced Tuesday that the system it’s building to purify wastewater well enough for drinking will provide enough water to cover half its population. That’s a significant increase over previous messaging that touted the Pure Water program would cover one third of the city’s water supply by 2035.

Olivenhain Municipal Water District Logo landscape design workshops

OMWD’s 2021 Fourth-Grade Poster Contest Now Accepting Entries

Encinitas, Calif. — Fourth-grade students living or attending school in Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s service area are invited to enter its 28th annual poster contest. The contest is held in participation with other North County water agencies, and will accept entries until April 5. This year’s theme is “Love Water, Save Water.”

Earn up to $75 for Fixing a Leak During the Entire Month of March

To assist customers with costs associated with leak repairs and to help conserve our most precious resource – water, Sweetwater Authority is offering rebates of up to $75 for repairs made in March 2021. The special month-long rebate is in celebration of the national Fix a Leak Week, which serves as an annual reminder to check household plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems for leaks.

Water Authority Board Supports Regional Potable Reuse Projects

February 25, 2021 – The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors today unanimously approved a formal resolution reaffirming its longstanding support for potable reuse and water recycling projects developed by local member agencies across the region.

Pure Water Oceanside-Potable Reuse-Sustainability

Water Authority Board Supports Regional Potable Reuse Projects

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors today unanimously approved a formal resolution reaffirming its longstanding support for potable reuse and water recycling projects developed by local member agencies across the region.

“Projects such as Pure Water San Diego, Pure Water Oceanside and the East County Advanced Water Purification Project are critical to the continued development of local water sources that help sustain the region’s 3.3 million residents and $245 billion economy,” said Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher. “The Water Authority has long supported water reuse and recycling projects, and we will continue to collaborate with member agencies in developing these vital local resources.”

Water supply diversification

For more than two decades, the Water Authority has promoted the advancement of water recycling and reuse in San Diego County as part of the region’s water supply diversification and reliability strategy.

The agency has sponsored and supported legislation to speed the development of potable reuse regulations in California, and has worked as an active member of the WateReuse Association to help shape the statutory and regulatory framework for potable reuse in the state. And Water Authority investments in high-priority, highly reliable water from the Colorado River support the development of local resources by delivering a low-cost baseload of water that can be recycled and repurified.

Potable reuse project funding

In addition, the Water Authority has advocated for robust funding in state bond measures, including seeking the inclusion of up to $500 million to expedite potable reuse and advanced water treatment projects in a legislative bond measure targeted for the November 2022 ballot. The Water Authority also helped secure nearly $500 million for local projects from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in 2019 and 2020, and most of that money was for potable reuse.

Potable reuse relies on advanced treatment technologies to produce a high-quality drinking water that is locally controlled, drought-resilient, and reduces wastewater ocean discharges. Every gallon of recycled or repurified water reduces the need to import or develop other supplies.

Recycled water, potable reuse projects under construction

Approximately 33,000 acre-feet of recycled water is expected to be reused within the Water Authority’s service area annually by 2025. The volume is expected to continue growing as new and expanded potable reuse plants come online. They are projected to produce more than 112,000 acre-feet per year of new drinking water supplies by 2045, enough to meet nearly 18% of the region’s future water demand.

Two of the first three potable reuse projects are now under construction in San Diego County:

A third project, the East County Advanced Water Purification Program, a combined effort by the City of El Cajon, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, the County of San Diego, and the Helix Water District, is in the design/pre-construction phase.

Develop a Mulch Master Plan

How much mulch does your landscaping plan need? To develop your mulch master plan and answer this question, you first need to understand the job it will perform in different areas of your watersmart landscaping plan.

Let Nature Be Your Guide: Compost vs. Mulch

You may not know the difference between compost and mulch, but your landscape soil does. Compost and mulch represent two different soil treatments with different advantages when used in a watersmart landscape plan.

Compost is made of organic matter such as food scraps, landscape debris, or livestock manure that have already been partially consumed and mostly decomposed by microorganisms. You cannot tell the original source of compost. Good quality compost brings the helpful OWL formula of oxygen, water, and life together in one package. It is used to amend your landscape soil by adding valuable nutrients it may be missing.

Mulch can be either organic or inorganic material that covers soil. Unlike compost, it’s not worked into the soil itself. Another difference is that the original recycled debris source of mulch is often identifiable. Mulch can be made from organic sources (grass clippings, leaf and yard litter, shredded wood trimmings) or inorganic sources such as gravel or decomposed granite (DG). Mulch is a soil topping.

Healthy, biologically diverse mulch contains microbes with the ability to “knit” the organic material together, forming a thick blanket. Mulch covers and protects the soil and plant roots from temperature swings, retains moisture by slowing down evaporation from the surface of the soil; and keeps weeds from sprouting by reducing sunlight penetration to the soil surface.

Top Tips for Using Compost

Compost the right way, including using compost as mulch to prevent erosion and help soil filter pollution. Photo: Ben Kerckx/Pixabay

Compost can be purchased, or it can be homemade. The compost-making process, or composting, involves creating the optimal conditions for the microbes to do their transformative work.

When compost looks like soil, you can work it directly into the soil. When compost is more coarse or has visible bits of the original materials, it is more likely used on top of the soil instead of as an incorporated soil amendment worked in.

Compost works in several ways. The compost itself contains particles that improve soil structure. Next, as compost decomposes in the soil, it encourages the formation of soil macroaggregates. These macroaggregates are composed of existing soil particles and decomposed organic matter, which combine to create a more stable and better functioning soil structure.

Top Tips for Using Mulch

Mulch builds soil structure over time and holds in moisture. Photo: Monsterkoi/Pixabay compost

Mulch builds soil structure over time and holds in moisture. Photo: Monsterkoi/Pixabay

Mulch always sits on the surface of your soil. It is never worked in. Recycled organic material is the most effective type of mulch because it builds soil structure over time. It creates a durable, protective barrier.

The smaller the debris pieces are, and the more mixed the organic pieces are, such as leaves with wood chips, the faster it decomposes. When building your soil, small mixed mulch is best. When compost is made from course materials like decomposed granite, you can also apply it to the top of your soil as mulch.

Artificial and inorganic mulches (DG, gravel, rubber chips) are mainly decorative. They do not contribute to soil life or plant health. They are best used in limited applications, such as creating natural pathways.

To learn more about your soil, sign up for Soil & Site Assessments virtual workshop.

This article is part of a year-long series inspired by the 71-page Sustainable Landscapes Program guidebook available at SustainableLandscapesSD.org. The Water Authority and its partners also offer other great resources for landscaping upgrades, including free WaterSmart classes at WaterSmartSD.org.

Water Conservation Garden Growing Strong With New #FreeDayFriday Program

In a normal year, The Water Conservation Garden in east San Diego County provides resources and education for 88,000 children and families annually. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, meeting the Garden’s mission took a little extra effort and creativity.

To remain open after its initial closure and re-opening in June 2020, the Garden now charges a small admission fee. Thanks to the new #FreeDayFriday initiative, supported by a donation match through the Rice Family Foundation, more than $60,000 in contributions now allows the Garden to offer free admission on the second Friday of each month, starting February 12.

Water Conservation Garden-#FreeDayFriday-conservation

Water Conservation Garden Growing Strong With New #FreeDayFriday Program

In a normal year, The Water Conservation Garden in east San Diego County provides resources and education for 88,000 children and families annually. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, meeting the Garden’s mission took a little extra effort and creativity.

To remain open after its initial closure and re-opening in June 2020, the Garden now charges a small admission fee. Thanks to the new #FreeDayFriday initiative, supported by a donation match through the Rice Family Foundation, more than $60,000 in contributions now allows the Garden to offer free admission on the second Friday of each month, starting February 12.

“We can now create #FreeDayFriday so every person in the community, no matter their ability to pay, can enjoy all the Garden has to offer,” said Jennifer Pillsbury, Water Conservation Garden executive director and CEO.

The Garden continues operations under safety modifications

Outdoor fitness classes including yoga are popular at The Garden. Photo: The Garden

Outdoor fitness classes including yoga are popular at The Garden. Photo: The Garden

Since its reopening to the public on June 16, the Garden continues to offer programs with modifications under California health and safety guidelines due to the pandemic, including limiting visitor admissions and requiring masks.

The Garden’s series of fitness and wellness programs remain on site, including outdoor bodyweight workout classes and yoga sessions. Classes take place mornings and evenings, including a family yoga program for kids. The full schedule is available on the Garden’s new website.

Pam Meisner, AKA Ms Smarty Plants, offers The Garden's elementary school education program virtually. Photo: The Garden (screenshot)

Pam Meisner, AKA Ms. Smarty Plants, offers the Garden’s elementary school education program virtually. Photo: The Water Conservation Garden

The Garden’s elementary school education program featuring Ms. Smarty Plants is now available online for grades K-2 and 3-6, including full lesson plans and video. Safely distanced Family Field Trips are also available for schools, homeschool groups, and individual classes.

“Our garden, not only is it an educational site, but we have classes that coincide with how to make what you see at our garden happens, where to buy the supplies, and how to do it,” said Pam Meisner, director of operations and education and founder of the Ms. Smarty Plants program. “We are the go-to place in San Diego for sowing beauty with low water use plants.”

“We can’t survive without water. But people don’t value that. One of our reasons being here is to show them the value of water and make that part of your life,” added Meisner.

Classes on sustainability, gardening, and art are currently offered online. Professional one-on-one phone or video consultations on water harvesting, and how to set up, retrofit, and maintain your irrigation or landscape are available by reservation through the website at thegarden.org/consultations

To support the Garden through the ongoing #FreeDayFriday program, visit FreeDayFridays.org.

A task force of water agencies and municipalities conceived the Water Conservation Garden in response to six years of drought in San Diego County.

Otay Water DistrictHelix Water District, and Cuyamaca College kick-started the effort in 1990. By 1992, the San Diego County Water AuthorityCity of San Diego, and Padre Municipal Water District joined the effort, forming the original Water Conservation Authority.

The following year, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District approved the establishment of a 4.5-acre Water Conservation Garden adjacent to Cuyamaca College.