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The Nieves family's landscape makeover project won the Sweetwater Authority's contest in 2019. Photo: Sweetwater Authority 2020 landscape makeover

2020 Landscape Makeover Competition Opens Call For Entries

Fourteen water agencies in San Diego County seek the best in landscaping makeover projects for the regional WaterSmart 2020 Landscape Makeover competition. The annual contest offers the opportunity to showcase residential waterwise landscaping as a way to inspire other homeowners to consider replacing water-guzzling turf based designs.

The contest deadline for all participating agencies is April 27. Homeowners may submit their entry online. You must be a resident within agency boundaries to participate. Each agency winner receives a $250 gift certificate and recognition on the agency website and social media channels.

Deborah Brandt's winning landscape includes contrasting elements, such a cactus, river rock and wood chips, against a backdrop of dramatic magenta, purple and striking orange. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

Deborah Brandt’s 2019 winning landscape for the Vista Irrigation District includes contrasting elements, such as cactus, river rock and wood chips, against a backdrop of dramatic magenta, purple and striking orange. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

Participating agencies include California American Water, the cities of Escondido, Oceanside, and San Diego, Fallbrook Public Utility District, Helix Water District, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Otay Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Rincon Del Diablo Water District, San Dieguito Water District, Sweetwater Authority, Vallecitos Water District, and Vista Irrigation District.

“With rebates available for turf removal, now is a great time to replace your lawn with a beautiful WaterSmart landscape,” said Brent Reyes, water conservation specialist for the Vista Irrigation District.

Turf removal saves estimated 36 million gallons annually

La Mesa residents Bob and Shan Cissell transformed 2,500 square feet of turf into their own Conservation Garden in La Mesa, winning the 2019 Oty Water District Landscaping Contest. Photo: Otay Water District

La Mesa residents Bob and Shan Cissell transformed 2,500 square feet of turf into their own conservation garden in La Mesa, winning the 2019 Otay Water District Landscaping Contest. Photo: Otay Water District

With a majority of residential water use in San Diego County attributed to watering landscapes, regional water efficiency efforts focus on outdoor water use.  By showcasing their beautiful landscape in the WaterSmart Landscape Contest, homeowners can offer ideas and demonstrate how waterwise landscaping can be attractive as well.

Thanks to ongoing education and incentives, San Diego County residents have targeted more than one million square feet of turf grass for replacement with WaterSmart landscaping through free landscape makeover classes sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority between 2013 and 2018. The Water Authority has documented an estimated savings of 33 million gallons annually,

Online landscape makeover tips available

If you need some inspiration or guidance, WaterSmartSD offers landscape makeover videos you can view on demand. This series of videos mirrors the content of the in-person workshops and four-class series. Each video takes you step-by-step through the process of creating your own beautiful, water-efficient landscape.

From measuring your property to getting to know your soil to picking the right plants for the right place, these entertaining and informative videos will guide you along the path to a WaterSmart landscape.

In addition, WaterSmartSD provides a list of online resources and guides to planning your landscape design project, soil analysis, compost and mulch, plant choices, and irrigation.

For additional information on 2020 Landscape Makeover Contest entry rules, go to WaterSmartLandscapes.

Click on the gallery below for more 2020 landscape makeover inspiration from past winners.

 

 

If your cat is using the kitchen faucet as a water fountain, you might need to fix a leak during Fix-A-Leak Week 2020. Photo: Stratman2/Pixabay

Take Ten Minutes to Track Down Leaks During Fix-A-Leak Week 2020

Easily fixed water leaks in American households account for nearly one trillion gallons of water wasted annually. The average household leaks nearly 10,000 gallons of water every year. This would wash 300 loads of laundry and could cost you an additional 10% on your water bill.

Fix-A-Leak Week 2020 is March 16-22. It was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is supported by WaterSense partners across the U.S. and Canada, including the San Diego County Water Authority and many of its 24 member agencies.

The Sweetwater Authority will join other water agencies in California, Texas, and Oregon for a Fix-A-Leak Week 2020 “Twitter Party” to help consumers virtually with tips on tracking down leaks and other ways to save water.

In 2019, “leak detectives” across the U.S. put their tools, checklists, and dye tablets to work in bathrooms, kitchens, at faucets and spigots around their homes and joined EPA in the annual Fix a Leak Week by donning their leak detective hats and grabbing their sleuthing gear to find and fix common household leaks. Leaks were detected and fixed in bathrooms – toilets, showerheads and faucets, outside at spigots and in many other locations.

It takes just 10 minutes to perform a quick search of your home for leaks. Many of the most common leaks are easy for anyone to fix such as worn-out toilet flappers, leaky showerheads, and dripping faucets. They require basic tools and hardware.

Here are a few handy tips for finding leaks:

  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak.
  • Identify toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, you have a leak. Flush immediately after this to avoid staining the tank.
  • Turn on your shower and look for drips or stray sprays you can stop with tape.
  • Under sinks, check for pooling water under pipes. Look for rust around joints and edges caused by leaking water.
  • Check under your water heater tank for pooling water, rust, or other signs of leaks.
  • Check all spigots outside. Fixing a leak might be as simple as securing the hose connection, or replacing a worn-out washer.

Find more guides and videos you might find helpful in finding and fixing leaks on the EPA’s “Fix-A-Leak Week” website.

Sweetwater Authority Displays Winning Photos at Board Reception

Ten South Bay area high school students will be honored for their winning photos at today’s Sweetwater Authority Governing Board meeting.

Nearly 100 students from Sweetwater’s service area entered its annual water photo contest, which challenges students to showcase the importance of water in everyday life through photography. Students submitted photos in two categories.

The public is invited to an Artists’ Reception on Wednesday, March 11 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to see all the winning photos on display. The event is being held at the Authority’s Administrative Office on 505 Garrett Avenue in Chula Vista.

1st Place, “Blessed Stream,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10 winning photos

Sweetwater Authority Displays Winning Photos at Board Reception

Ten South Bay area high school students were honored for their winning photos at the March 11 Sweetwater Authority Governing Board meeting.

Nearly 100 students from Sweetwater’s service area entered its annual water photo contest, which challenges students to showcase the importance of water in everyday life through photography. Students submitted photos in two categories.

The following students took the top honors:

Color Photo Category:

1st Place, “Blessed Stream,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

1st Place, “Blessed Stream,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10 winning photos

1st Place, “Blessed Stream,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

2nd Place, “Pouring Out,” Stephanie Mauricio, Sweetwater High School, Grade 12

2nd Place, “Pouring Out,” Stephanie Mauricio, Sweetwater High School, Grade 12 winning photos

2nd Place, “Pouring Out,” Stephanie Mauricio, Sweetwater High School, Grade 12

3rd Place, “Running River Water,” Erick Gallardo II, Sweetwater High School, Grade 11

3rd Place, “Running River Water,” Erick Gallardo II, Sweetwater High School, Grade 11

3rd Place, “Running River Water,” Erick Gallardo II, Sweetwater High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “An Apple a Day,” Jaliyah Journigan, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “An Apple a Day,” Jaliyah Journigan, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “An Apple a Day,” Jaliyah Journigan, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “Aqueous Perspective,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “Aqueous Perspective,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “Aqueous Perspective,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “Sun + Splash,” Kaitlyn Vu, Hilltop High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “Sun + Splash,” Kaitlyn Vu, Hilltop High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “Sun + Splash,” Kaitlyn Vu, Hilltop High School, Grade 11

Black & White Category:

1st Place, “Last Glass,” Tiffany Mayoral, Hilltop High School, Grade 11

1st Place, “Last Glass,” Tiffany Mayoral, Hilltop High School, Grade 11 winning photos

1st Place, “Last Glass,” Tiffany Mayoral, Hilltop High School, Grade 11

2nd Place, “Daily Utilities,” Carlos Guerrero, Sweetwater High School, Grade 9

2nd Place, “Daily Utilities,” Carlos Guerrero, Sweetwater High School, Grade 9 winning photos

2nd Place, “Daily Utilities,” Carlos Guerrero, Sweetwater High School, Grade 9

3rd Place, “Thirsty Tom,” Valeria Cano, Chula Vista High School, Grade 12

3rd Place, “Thirsty Tom,” Valeria Cano, Chula Vista High School, Grade 12

3rd Place, “Thirsty Tom,” Valeria Cano, Chula Vista High School, Grade 12

Honorable Mention, “My Memories,” and “Less Developed Countries,” Rosa Marquez, Chula Vista High School, Grade 10

“My Memories,” Rosa Marquez, Chula Vista High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “My Memories,” Rosa Marquez, Chula Vista High School, Grade 10

“Less Developed Countries,” Rosa Marquez, Chula Vista High School, Grade 10

“Less Developed Countries,” Rosa Marquez, Chula Vista High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “Drying Off,” Katherine Ochoa, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “Drying Off,” Katherine Ochoa, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “Drying Off,” Katherine Ochoa, Bonita Vista High School, Grade 11

Honorable Mention, “Floating,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “Floating,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

Honorable Mention, “Floating,” Zabrina Urness, Sweetwater High School, Grade 10

All winning photos will be on display at the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center beginning in April.

READ MORE: Ten High School Photographers Honored by Helix Water District

 

SWA joins the California Statewide Communities Development Authority

The Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Governing Board voted to become a member of the Statewide Community Infrastructure Program (SCIP). The resolution passed at last night’s Governing Board meeting means that the Authority is now a member of the Statewide Communities Development Authority.

Sweetwater Authority Eyes Recycled Water That Otay Water District Doesn’t Use

Sweetwater Authority’s governing board has its eyes on recycled water — specifically, an excess of recycled water that a neighboring water agency, the Otay Water District, buys from the city of San Diego.

The governing boards of the two water agencies, which combined serve southern and eastern San Diego County, recently created a joint committee to explore a potential arrangement that would allow
Sweetwater to purchase recycled water from Otay.

The board presidents of both water agencies said the idea could benefit customers on both ends.

Sweetwater Authority Board Appoints Chair and New Committee Assignments for 2020

Chula Vista, CA – Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Governing Board voted in December to appoint Steve Castaneda as Board Chair for 2020; this will be his second term as chair. Hector Martinez was appointed as Vice Chair for 2020.

Sweetwater Authority General Manager Gets Raise

The Sweetwater Authority governing board last week approved a 2 percent raise for General Manager Tish Berge.

The raise sets Berge’s annual salary at $231,000, retroactive to July. It marks her second raise since she was hired in June 2017 to manage Sweetwater, which serves 190,000 customers in National City, Bonita and a large portion of Chula Vista.

Board chairman Steve Castaneda said the raise, which matches a 2 percent raise given to employees, represents a cost-of-living adjustment.

Student Artists Featured in 2020 ‘Water Is Life’ Calendar

Five talented San Diego County student artists from four elementary schools were among 36 Southern California students whose artwork will appear in the 2020 “Water Is Life” calendar.

The five artists represent regional water agencies including Helix Water District, Otay Water District, Padre Dam MWD, and Sweetwater Authority.

Calendar poster contest winner Maya Santana, a fifth grader from Wolf Canyon Elementary School in the Otay Water District, displays her winning artwork. Photo: Otay Water District Water Is Life Calendar

Student Artists Featured in 2020 ‘Water Is Life’ Calendar

Five talented San Diego County student artists from four elementary schools were among 36 Southern California students whose artwork will appear in the 2020 “Water Is Life” calendar.

The five artists represent regional water agencies including Helix Water District, Otay Water District, Padre Dam MWD, and Sweetwater Authority.

Produced by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, The “Water is Life” Student Art Calendar showcases student artwork with imaginative messages of water conservation and water resource stewardship. Students in grades K-6 submit artwork through participating member agencies after winning their local competition.

The five regional winners, their families, and member agency representatives were invited to attend an art exhibit and recognition luncheon at MWD’s Los Angeles office in December.

Winning students from the San Diego region include:

Maya Santana's winning artwork appears in August 2020. Photo: MWD
Maya Santana’s winning artwork appears in August. Photo: Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Maya Santana, a fifth grader from Wolf Canyon Elementary School, which is in the Otay Water District’s service area. Her artwork  “Save Don’t Waste” appears in August 2020.
Artwork by Rencel Chiara Charifa is featured in October 2020.  Photo: MWD
Artwork by Rencel Chiara Charifa is featured in October. Photo: Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Rencel Chiara Charifa, a fifth grader from Central Elementary School, which is served by the Sweetwater Authority. Her poster “Water Angel” appears in October. 
Valeria Ramirez has her artwork included in November 2020. Photo: MWD
Valeria Ramirez has her artwork included in November. Photo: Metropoltian Water District of Southern California

Valeria Ramirez, a fourth grader from St. John of the Cross Catholic School, within the Helix Water District service area. Her artwork “Take Care of Water, You’ll Have a Better Future” appears in November.

Violet Jacobson and Zoe Miles share the spotlight in December 2020. Photo: MWD
Violet Jacobson and Zoe Miles share the spotlight in December. Photo: Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Violet Jacobson, is in the third grade at Hill Creek Elementary School, which is served by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District. Her poster, “Water Is Life: Everything Needs Water” appears in December.

Zoe Miles, a sixth grader at Flying Hills Elementary School, which is served by the Helix Water District. Her entry, “Less Use = More  Water,” also appears in December.  

See the full calendar here.

Calendar contest provides educational opportunity

Original winning artwork was displayed as part of a recognition event on December 11. Photo: Otay Water District
Original winning artwork was displayed as part of a recognition event on December 11. Photo: Otay Water District

The “Water is Life” poster contest is one of many educational opportunities offered to students to demonstrate how water is a precious and essential resource. By creating water-related art, students enhance their understanding of the importance of water.

Chosen among hundreds of entries, the final selection of 36 art pieces is featured in the annual “Water is Life” Student Art Calendar with an annual distribution of 13,000 recipients.