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Marine Corps Air Station Miramar embarked on a water conservation program about a decade ago and, through a $6 million investment, decreased its potable water use by more than 40% since 2007. (Left to right: Mick Wasco, MCAS Miramar Utilities & Energy Management Branch Head; MCAS Miramar Commanding Officer Charles B. Dockery; Gary Bousquet, Water Authority Deputy Director of Engineering). Photo: Water Authority

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Receives Water Efficiency Award

The San Diego County Water Authority today presented its 2019 Water Innovation & Efficiency Award to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar for significantly reducing its overall potable water use.

The reduction was achieved through a successful water conservation program and new infrastructure for distributing reclaimed water. The award was announced at the Industrial Environmental Association’s 35th Annual Environmental Conference at the San Diego Convention Center.

The award is part of the Water Authority’s Brought to You by Water outreach and education program, and an effort to recognize water-efficiency investments among the region’s top industries and organizations in conjunction with the IEA.

Shared history in the region

“The Water Authority shares a unique history with our military – we were created in 1944 to deliver imported water supplies to support our troops and communities at the height of World War II,” said Jim Madaffer, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “San Diego County has the largest concentration of military personnel in the world, and we are very proud that they are so committed to water efficiency and preserving our most important natural resource as they carry out their mission to protect our country.”

As one of the largest Marine Corps Air Stations and with more than 12,000 civilian Marines, contracted employees, service members and their families aboard the base, MCAS Miramar plays a crucial role in the San Diego region and in supporting our nation’s strategic defense. To that end, MCAS Miramar has and will continue to use unique and innovative solutions to maximize its resiliency, and lower dependence on natural resources. MCAS Miramar is a water customer of the City of San Diego.

“We are committed to implementing sustainability practices and principles that enhance training opportunities, sustain our incredible quality of life in San Diego County, and preserve the natural environment,” said Captain Matthew Gregory, director of communications for MCAS Miramar. “We are honored to receive this acknowledgement of the good work we are doing at Miramar in a region that has made such incredible strides in improving water-use efficiency.”

Investment in a multifaceted conservation program

MCAS Miramar embarked on a water conservation program about a decade ago, and through a $6 million investment, MCAS Miramar decreased its potable water use by more than 40% since 2007.

In 2015, the commanding officer formed a water conservation board tasked with reducing the base’s overall potable water use. The base now has a total of more than 5 miles of reclaimed water distribution systems, an increase of 47% from two years ago. This reclaimed water infrastructure as well as other water efficiency projects has allowed the base to save more than 100 million gallons of potable water each year.

Reclaimed water at the base is now being used for irrigation, construction-related activities, dual-plumbed buildings, street sweeping and soon for evaporative cooling. In addition, MCAS Miramar converted all aircraft and vehicle wash racks to isolated recirculated water systems, conserving 75% of the water used to wash essential equipment.

Bringing industrial environmental leaders together

“MCAS Miramar is a prime example of efforts by our region’s largest employers to make the most of every drop of water,” said Jack Monger, CEO of IEA. “I’m confident that our members will continue to develop innovative water-saving practices and technologies.”

The Water Authority’s Brought to You by Water program, developed in partnership with its 24 member agencies, was designed to bolster regional appreciation for the value of safe and reliable water supplies. That effort includes enhanced partnerships to highlight the importance of water reliability to the region’s economy.

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Receives Water Efficiency Award

The San Diego County Water Authority today presented its 2019 Water Innovation & Efficiency Award to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar for significantly reducing its overall potable water use.

The reduction was achieved through a successful water conservation program and new infrastructure for distributing reclaimed water. The award was announced at the Industrial Environmental Association’s 35th Annual Environmental Conference at the San Diego Convention Center.

The award is part of the Water Authority’s Brought to You by Water outreach and education program, and an effort to recognize water-efficiency investments among the region’s top industries and organizations in conjunction with the IEA.

How Much Water Do Plants Need?

It’s important to assess how much water your outdoor plants need to stay healthy. The heat and humidity in San Diego County is far from over, with the official start of Fall September 23. Irrigation needs are generally highest during these warm months.

Did you know that plants can be classified by their water needs?

Landscaping professionals use a resource called the Water Use Classification of Landscape Species, or WUCOLS, to classify plants according how much water they need to thrive.

It might sound complex, but it’s very useful because it breaks down the water requirements for each type of plant. There are four categories: Very Low, Low, Moderate, and High. These water requirements are also called Plant Factors. They are an important tool for transitioning to a more water-efficient landscape. By knowing exactly how much water your plants need, you can cut down on your water usage while also keeping your plants happy.

Calculating water requirements for outdoor plants

To calculate a Plant Factor, compare the plant’s water use to cool season grass in a given climate zone.

Why is that? Turf is among the thirstiest of all types of plants. When you replace turf areas with climate-appropriate plants with lower water requirements, and irrigate them with more efficient systems, you can greatly increase your water efficiency. You don’t have to turn your landscaping into a dry moonscape to do it.

Plant factors, or PF, categories:

Plant Factor categories from high to low water use. Graphic: Water Authority

High: Plants need from 60 to 100 percent of the water needed for a grass lawn (PF of 0.6 – 1.0)

Moderate: Plants need 30 to 60 percent of the water needed for a grass lawn (PF of 0.3 – 0.6)

Low: Plants need 10 to 30 percent of the water needed for a grass lawn (PF of 0.1 – 0.3)

Very Low: Plants need 10 percent or less of the water needed for a grass lawn (PF of less than 0.1)

Group plants by PF to irrigate more efficiently

In the Water Authority’s Sustainable Landscaping guidebook, plant selections are color-coded to identify their water needs under this system. That approach provides an easy way to group plants by their water requirements in your landscape, so you can irrigate more efficiently.

This article was 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.

Brewing Month 2019-Water Authority-RB

Craft Beer Industry Economic Impact in San Diego Rises to $1.2 Billion

As the nation’s “Capital of Craft,” San Diego County is home to more than 150 breweries that boast nearly 6,500 local jobs. In 2018, the regional craft beer industry produced $1.2 billion in economic impact, according to a report by California State University San Marcos and the San Diego Brewers Guild.

California has more operational craft breweries than any other state in the country. As of January 2019, 155 independent craft brewers were operating in San Diego County.

The regional economic benefits generated by the industry would not be possible without the safe and reliable water supply that the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies deliver to the region every day.

Craft Beer Con highlights importance of water efficiency

As part of an ongoing partnership with the Brewers Guild, the Water Authority sponsored the 2019 Craft Beer Con industry event at CSU San Marcos. Dozens of industry professionals attended the event to network and see the release of the new economic findings.

In addition to the $1.2 billion in economic impact in 2018, the report showed that San Diego brewers produced 1.13 million barrels in 2018. The industry also had a philanthropic impact, donating an estimated $5 million to regional nonprofits. Overall, the industry’s economic impact grew 6% since 2017.

“Beer can be 90-95% water,” said Jeff Stephenson, a principal water resources specialist at the Water Authority. “Water is essential to every step of the process, not only for the final product, but for cooling, packaging and cleaning.”

Stephenson was part of an expert panel at Craft Beer Con, discussing water-use efficiency in brewing, the continued partnership between water agencies and the region’s growing craft beer industry.

Regional investments in a clean and reliable water supply

Regional investments in water infrastructure have paved the way to ensuring a safe and reliable water supply that can sustain industries like the craft beer industry and fuel San Diego County’s $231 billion economy.

Water-use efficiency technology and equipment have also helped brewers streamline production and reduce their water costs while producing high quality products.

The craft brewing industry and those who work closely with it have a positive outlook.

In a survey that CSU San Marcos conducts each year, participants showed high confidence in the industry, with interests in increasing hiring and investments and confidence that production and distribution volume will continue to grow.

Otay Student Poster Contest Winners Illustrate Importance Of Water-Use Efficiency

Six talented elementary school students were recognized on August 7 by the Otay Water District Board of Directors as the winners of the District’s “Water is Life” Student Poster Contest. As one of the Otay Water District’s educational programs, the contest offers an opportunity for students to showcase their creativity while reflecting on the importance of using water efficiently in their daily lives. Students were encouraged to illustrate the value of water used both inside and outside the home as an informational poster intended to educate others. “We’re proud to offer students this opportunity to have fun and be creative, while at the same time thinking and learning about water conservation,” said Otay Water District General Manager Mark Watton.

Sometimes improving your water efficiency is as simple as changing a few old habits. Photo: Karolina Grabowska/Pixabay

Indoor Water Efficiency at No Cost

There are many ways to use water more efficiently indoors, and a lot of these are completely free! You don’t have to go through the expense of replacing appliances or installing new ones to improve indoor water efficiency. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing a few old water usage habits.

Here are some easy ways to reduce water usage inside your home:

  • Use a bowl of water to help thaw frozen food. Did you know that running the tap to thaw frozen meats and vegetables could use up to 2.5 gallons per minute? Using a bowl of room temperature water instead can greatly improve your water efficiency.
  • Scrape dirty dishes first before rinsing them. Not only will this save you time at the sink, but it will also conserve up to 2.5 gallons of water per minute.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water instead of running water.
  • Run the dishwasher only when it’s full. Too often people are tempted to run the dishwasher as soon as the sink is empty, but standard dishwashers can use 2-4.5 gallons of water per load.
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth. This is possibly the easiest habit to change when it comes to water efficiency, and most people are already doing it.
  • Shorten showers to five minutes or less. Setting a timer on your watch or phone can help with this.
  • Use a bucket to collect water in the shower while you’re waiting for it to warm up. Then use this water to water your plants. Sometimes it can take a while for the shower to get to the right temperature before you step in. This is a perfect time to collect some clean water that can be reused around the house.
  • Wash only full loads of clothing – standard clothes washing machines can use a whopping 15-50 gallons per load. By running the washing machine only when it’s full, you can greatly improve your water efficiency.

Learn more about how to use water more efficiently indoors and outdoors this summer.

Check out WaterSmartSD.org for more resources

WaterSmartSD.org also has information about incentives for indoor and outdoor water conservation, as well as opportunities to sign up for FREE WaterSmart checkups. If you’re looking to revamp your landscaping this year, take a look at the WaterSmart landscape makeover classes for some easy ways to get started.

Sweetwater Authority Awards Grants to Support Water Efficiency

Chula Vista, Calif. – The Sweetwater Authority Board of Directors presented checks to the City of Chula Vista and the Gentry Glen Home Owners Association at the Board’s July 10 meeting. The Authority’s robust water efficiency program helps customers save water and money through grants, rebates and resources.