A local water district is proposing an ambitious plan to turn ocean water into drinking water, and while the idea of a “Blue Water Farm” sounds promising, some environmental groups say that ocean desalination should be a last resort and that more can be done to conserve water in affluent communities.
The San Diego County Water Authority offers free WaterSmart classes, with both virtual and in-person options, taught by local landscape design professionals. Classes help participants understand landscape design and maintenance, soil identification and health, turf types and removal tips, plant selection, rainwater catchment, irrigation retrofits and project installation, whether completed as a DIY project or with contractor assistance.
Participants get the knowledge and skills they need to transform their yards into spaces that are water-efficient, sustainable, and beautiful year-round. The workshops are typically offered in spring and in fall clusters, with fall classes scheduled for September through November.
Five topics are available to choose from, including:
- Plan Ahead: Understanding Soil and Site Assessments
- Design: Shape Your Space
- Plants: Inspiring Choices for our Region
- Water & Irrigation: Utilizing a Precious Resource
- Installation and Maintenance: Protecting Your Investment
Local professionals can help you create a customized plan
Participants who attend all five workshops and meet other program criteria can sign up to receive an in-home visit by a landscape professional who will help them create customized landscape transformation plans, through the Designer at Your Door service. For more information, visit sdcwa.org/your-water/conservation/classes.
“The workshops are designed to help residents create and maintain their own beautiful and water-efficient outdoor spaces,” said Debby Dunn, a water resources specialist for the Water Authority. “Most of our residential water use is outdoors in our landscapes. This is why learning how to create water-efficient spaces is a great way for San Diegans to continue doing their part to use water efficiently.”
Short videos offer an educational and entertaining experience
For people who prefer to learn at their own pace, the Water Authority offers short, entertaining and educational on-demand videos, with topics that mirror the workshops. To watch the videos go to sdcwa.org/your-water/conservation/classes and click on the videos link.
Low-water plants, improved irrigation technologies, and WaterSmart classes not only save water, but also reduce energy use, protect our natural resources, and create beautiful outdoor living spaces.
Outdoor watering accounts for roughly half of total water use in Southern California’s cities and suburbs, and a large portion of that water is sprayed from sprinklers to keep grass green.
Under a bill passed by state legislators this week, California will soon outlaw using drinking water for some of those vast expanses of grass — the purely decorative patches of green that are mowed but never walked on or used for recreation.
Returning middle and high school students in Walnut are adding an extra item to their agendas – helping members of their community monitor their home’s water usage.
Dubbed Project Bright, the students earn community service hours by engaging with the public over the environmental and fiscal benefits of more efficient water usage.
Renowned winemaker Jayson Woodbridge is suing Napa County for well policies allegedly restricting access to groundwater at four of his vineyards.
The vineyards, Double Vee Properties LLC, Caldera Ranch LLC, Hundred Acre LLC and Hundred Acre Wine Group Inc., told the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday that Napa County violated their rights under the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the taking of private property without due process.
Dozens of California cities could be required to impose permanent water conservation measures starting in about a year — and keep them in place even when the state is not in a drought — under proposed new rules from state water regulators.
The San Diego County Water Authority was recognized with a national award from the Alliance for Water Efficiency for programs that help county residents and businesses conserve water. The Water Authority earned the 2023 Utility Innovation Award for developing and deploying of one of the first and most comprehensive multi-benefit water-use efficiency incentive programs in the nation, in partnership with the County of San Diego.
The partnership combines the strength of the region’s wholesale water supplier with the county’s stormwater department, which together have co-funded incentive and educational programs that produce both water supply and water quality benefits.
Water Authority recognized with national award for regional partnership
The partnership also includes a technical assistance program, the Landscape Optimization Service, which helps large landscape owners replace turf grass with sustainable landscaping. In addition, the Water Authority launched the “Multi-Benefit Stacked Incentives Learning Network” to bring together its 24 member agencies and 21 stormwater agencies to foster investments with multiple benefits.
The Alliance for Water Efficiency is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago dedicated to the efficient and sustainable use of water. The organization advocates for water-efficient products and programs and provides information and assistance on water conservation efforts.
“The Alliance for Water Efficiency was thrilled to present the 2023 Utility Innovation Award to the San Diego County Water Authority,” said AWE President and CEO Ron Burke. “The Water Authority … has been a longtime, trusted partner in this work. Our staff was excited to present this award in recognition of their innovative programs to provide services to their customers that conserve water and advance water efficiency throughout San Diego County.”
In addition to its partnership with the county, the Water Authority regularly works with other agencies to promote water efficiency as a way of life. Since 2021, the Water Authority has partnered with SDG&E to install water-efficient toilets along with energy saving devices for income qualified residents.
“Helping water users improve efficiency reduces the need for imported supplies as we embrace sustainable practices,” said Mel Katz, chair of the Water Authority’s Board. “This award highlights successful efforts by the Water Authority and its partners to ensure San Diego County can sustain our safe and reliable water resources for the long-term.”
Earlier this year, the Water Authority secured $3 million from DWR’s Urban Community Drought Relief Grant and $250,000 from the Proposition 1, Round 2 IRWM Grant to expand the program, bolstering the agency’s long-running efforts to enhance water affordability. The program is also funded through a partnership between the Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
(Editor’s Note: For rebates, classes, and water-saving tips go to: sdcwa.org/your-water/conservation/.)
Colorado River Basin states don’t agree on very much when it comes to the future operations of the basin’s largest water savings banks. One thing they do agree on: The current rules aren’t working.
California’s most-recent drought is over. Reservoirs are full. Ski season lasted until July.
But despite the wet winter, an effort is gaining momentum in the state capitol to add manicured green grass to the list of business trappings — like fax machines, pagers and typewriters — that have become obsolete in a changing world.
A research effort tracking water scarcity around the world shows California, Arizona and other Western states are experiencing water stress at high levels similar to arid countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The analysis by researchers with the World Resources Institute found that all seven states that rely on the Colorado River face high or extremely high water stress. Arizona ranked first for the most severe water stress in the country, followed by New Mexico and Colorado, while California ranked fifth.