Chair Croucher: Epic Drought Means Everyone Should Find Even More Ways to Make a Meaningful Impact

Sept. 21, 2021 – San Diego County Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher today issued a statement in response to the State Water Resources Control Board announcement of water conservation figures for July.

“Over the past three decades, the water ratepayers in the San Diego region have done an extraordinary job of voluntarily reducing water use by nearly 50%. Those conservation efforts are enhanced by the Water Authority’s investments in a diversified water supply portfolio and regional facilities, including water transfers, seawater desalination, canal lining and reservoirs. That long-term track record of stewardship is a primary reason why we have reliable supplies during this record-breaking drought and for future years.

“While we should all be proud of our long-term track record of conservation, we need to do more to help eliminate water waste during this epic drought. The Water Authority offers numerous tools to enhance water sustainability, including free water-use check-ups for homes and businesses, along with rebates for WaterSmart upgrades. As a community, it’s important that we find ways to be even more water-efficient to ensure that we have reliable water supplies not just for today, but for future generations.”

— Gary Croucher, Board Chair, San Diego County Water Authority

Top 10 Tips for Saving Water This Fall

As drought conditions persist throughout the west, the San Diego County Water Authority and its member agencies continue to actively support the state’s call for a 15% voluntary reduction in water use.

San Diego County residents and businesses can continue WaterSmart practices this fall by following these simple and easy tips to save water.

Top-10-tips-Water Conservation-Drought-WaterSmart

Top 10 Tips for Saving Water This Fall

As drought conditions persist throughout the west, the San Diego County Water Authority and its member agencies continue to actively support the state’s call for a 15% voluntary reduction in water use.

San Diego County residents and businesses can continue WaterSmart practices this fall by following these simple and easy tips to save water. 

Simple Water Saving Tips For Fall

Find a discount. Take advantage of rebates on products that help reduce indoor and outdoor water use. 

Shorten the shower. Keep showers to five minutes or fewer and save 2.5 gallons per minute.

Go low. Install aerators on faucets and low-flow showerheads to instantly save water every time you turn the tap.

Deploy the drip. Irrigate gardens with drip systems that minimize water waste by delivering water right at the roots.

Get smart. Install weather-based irrigation controllers in your landscape to take advantage of the latest smart technology that maximizes water-use efficiency.

Monitor the moisture. Use moisture meters to determine when and how much water plants need.

Embrace the broom. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks, and patios.

Check your water footprint. Use an online water-use calculator to assess how much water your home uses compared to a WaterSmart home. 

Turn to a pro. When it’s time to hire a landscaping professional, start with the list of Qualified Water-Efficient Landscapers who can make sure you are making the most of every drop.

Plant with perfection. Check out all the beautiful WaterSmart plant options that pair perfectly with San Diego County’s Mediterranean climate. 

For more tips, resources and rebates, go to

Sustainable Ramona Presents Water Conservation Zoom Series

Sustainable Ramona will kick off a series of free Zoom meetings on sustainability with a Water Conservation Resources series set for Sept. 20-24.

Future Zoom series will cover resources for homes and businesses; transportation, including electric vehicles and public transportation; agriculture, including information on farming using solar energy, called agrivoltaics; sustainable gardening, including composting and worm farming.

Every Drop Counts in the Current California Drought

California is in a drought, with almost half of the state in exceptional drought, the worst level of drought intensity.

With a situation this significant, many areas of the state are being asked to cut down on water usage. Water is one of Earth’s most valuable resources, and we can’t live without it, which is why every drop counts right now.

Water-Use Efficiency Rebates for a WaterSmart Home

Rebates are available for San Diego County residents seeking to reduce their water use and water bills, as drought persists across the Southwest U.S. The second year of drought, and a statewide call for water-use conservation, makes this an ideal time to be “WaterSmart.”

Saving water-water bank-Conservation Cornerrainy day can be used later. Photo": Werner Jukel / Pixabay Bank your water savings

Bank Your Water Savings for the Future

Using landscape irrigation efficiently can significantly reduce overall household water consumption while leaving adequate water in the ground to cover your plants’ needs. One tool that can help is to build up your water savings when rainfall is available.

Approximately half of the water spent by average California homes is used outdoors, mostly for irrigation. Unfortunately, up to half of commercial and residential irrigation water is squandered by evaporation, wind, improper system design, or overwatering, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

During the winter in metropolitan San Diego County, healthy soil can absorb water in surprisingly large quantities to be released slowly to plants as they use it during drier months – like using a savings account to pay for expenses over time.

There haven’t been many opportunities in recent years to do so. However, whenever it is possible, there is no need to use the residential water supply on your landscaping when Mother Nature can bank water savings deposits for you.

Balance your water bank account 

Maximize your landscaping soil's ability to retain and save rainfall and irrigation for drier days. Photo: D. Douk/Creative Commons

Maximize your landscaping soil’s ability to retain and save rainfall and irrigation for drier days by creating a water savings account. Photo: D. Douk/Creative Commons

Water entering the soil – whether as rain or as irrigation – is like a deposit into a soil checking account.

By keeping track of those transactions of water in and water out, it is possible to know how much water in the soil “reservoir” is available in the landscape at any given time for the plants to access.

The initial soil bank balance is determined by direct observation or is assessed after a thorough wetting of the soil by irrigation or winter rains. Every day, plants take small amounts of water from the soil. Rain and irrigation fill up the water bank again. The trick is to make sure this “account” does not get overdrawn.

How can you tell when the account is depleted? Smart irrigation controllers and landscape professionals can calculate this for you. You can also rely on a soil probe, or even testing the landscape by feeling the soil surface with your fingers.

When oxygen and water are balanced in the soil, the amount of water lost through evapotranspiration is similar to paying fees on your savings account. Shading the soil surface with plant materials and mulch protects water in the soil by slowing evapotranspiration and leaving more water in your soil’s account.

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

Santa Fe Irrigation District’s Strategic Plan Centers on Reliable Water supply

The Santa Fe Irrigation District board will consider the adoption of its new 10-year strategic plan on Aug. 19, laying the framework for the future and setting somewhat of a new intention for the water district that will turn 100 years old in 2023.

According to SFID Manager Al Lau, the plan for the future places a high level of focus on water resiliency, conservation and better engagement with its customers.

“Our mission is to meet the water supply needs of all customers— safely, sustainably, reliably and cost-effectively,” Lau said.

San Diego Prepping Long-Term Water Solutions as State Requests Cuts

As California Governor Gavin Newsom asks residents of the state to cut water usage by 15%, the San Diego County Water Authority is supporting that request while simultaneously working on long-term solutions to combat water shortages.

Goldy Herbon, Senior Water Resources Specialist for the Water Resources Department at San Diego County Water Authority, said there is no imminent concern over water shortages in San Diego County, however, it is important for locals to cut back now to set the area up for success in the future.

Check Before Overwatering Your Landscaping

Do you know if your landscaping really needs water? Even if you have waterwise irrigation on a properly timed schedule for your individual landscaping plan, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s really needed. You could be wasting water assuming it’s necessary. Appearances can be misleading.