San Diego County Water Authority honored-The Climate Registry-Water Authority honored-Climate Change

San Diego County Water Authority Honored for Climate Change Efforts

The San Diego County Water Authority has earned Climate Registered gold status from The Climate Registry for the fourth consecutive year. The Water Authority was recognized for verifying and publicly reporting its greenhouse gas emissions, an effort that fosters transparency for the agency’s climate mitigation initiatives and helps the agency track and validate emissions reductions in the future.

The Climate Registry operates North America’s largest voluntary registry for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Water Authority’s 2021 and 2022 inventories were verified and published in The Climate Registry’s public database in July and September, earning the agency gold status for both years. The agency also published its 2019 and 2020 inventories, earning the Water Authority gold status for those years. In addition, the Water Authority has met all California state aligned GHG reduction targets, while decreasing its emissions over the past 13 years compared to its state-aligned baseline year.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a key part of the Water Authority’s Climate Action Plan and our commitment to the environment,” said Water Authority Board Chair Mel Katz. “As a climate leader, we continue to develop forward-thinking solutions that increase our contribution to energy and water efficiency efforts across the state.”

The Water Authority works with its 24 member agencies to deliver safe and reliable water supplies across San Diego County. Sustainability has been an important part of the agency’s commitment for years. Water-use efficiency not only lessens the Water Authority’s dependence on imported water, but it also reduces energy costs and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with transporting and treating water.

Climate Action Plan

As a centerpiece of its sustainability efforts, in 2014 the Water Authority voluntarily developed a Climate Action Plan and updates it every five years, comparing GHG emissions against a baseline and tracking progress toward State of California goals. Since the plan’s adoption, the Water Authority has conducted annual GHG inventories and provides updates to the Board of Directors. Verification of the annual inventory by a third-party is another step toward validating the Water Authority’s climate mitigation efforts for stakeholders.

The Climate Registry is a nonprofit organization governed by U.S. states and Canadian provinces and territories. The registry designs and operates voluntary GHG reporting programs globally, and assists organizations in measuring, reporting and verifying the carbon in their operations to manage and reduce it. The registry also builds capacity for emissions reductions by government agencies, and spearheads innovative projects such as the Water-Energy Nexus Registry.

“The San Diego County Water Authority’s continued achievement of Climate Registered gold status through reporting years 2021 and 2022 demonstrates sustained and consistent leadership in emissions disclosure,” said Charles Pope, Director of Registry Services for The Climate Registry. “The Climate Registry is proud to recognize SDCWA’s extraordinary commitment to transparency, which sets a clear example for all organizations in California.”

(Editor’s note: For more information about the Water Authority’s sustainability initiative, go to:

Opinion: Despite Big Rains This Winter, Southern California Must Remain Sensible on Water Use

A reflection on the very rainy past seasons may leave San Diego County residents optimistic about the water outlook for this summer. After all, we had record rainfall levels in the southern half of California and snow falling as low as 1,500 feet, generating a snowpack of 172% of normal. It’s very easy to think a 2023 drought has been averted.

Unfortunately, headlines don’t always convey the full story. Despite the significant rain and snow that fell locally and in the northern Sierra Mountains, Southern California must continue to be judicious about continued water conservation and permanent water use efficiency.

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“Thanks for Planting Me!” Spokesplants Promote Landscape Transformation

“Thanks for Planting Me!” encourages more widespread adoption of sustainable landscapes to prepare the Southern California region for a hotter and drier climate.

The “Thanks for Planting Me!” summer campaign offers gratitude to the hundreds of thousands of San Diegans who have transformed their landscapes using low-water and native plants as part of a larger effort to use water more efficiently. Thanks for Planting Me! also is intended to show resident the WaterSmart advantages of embracing regenerative low-water landscapes as climate change stresses water supplies across the Southwest.

Sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority, and supported by state grant funds to promote water-use efficiency, the “spokesplants” will appear on a variety of digital and outdoor advertising platforms starting in May, Water Awareness Month.

Thanks for Planting Me!

Promoting water conservation with landscape transformation complements similar efforts to promote on-going water-use efficiency by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the State of California’s Save Our Water program. The “Thanks for Planting Me!” campaign is driven by a collection of animated plant personalities like Succulent Sam and Rose Marie who express their appreciation for being adopted across San Diego County as the “next-generation landscape.”

The Water Authority and its retail member agencies are also planning to participate in community events over the summer – including the San Diego County Fair – to promote landscapes that provide numerous environmental benefits, including storm-water retention and healthy soils. In addition, the Water Authority has renewed a long-running partnership with San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance to co-brand signage at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s conservation garden. The signs educate park visitors about water use practices on park grounds and how people can improve water use on their own landscapes.

Low-water landscapes for dry climate

“Three years of extreme drought are over, but they remind us about severe water management challenges across the Southwest,” said Water Authority General Manager Sandra L. Kerl. “San Diego County has embraced water-use efficiency like few places across the nation, however, there’s always a next step.

“We should not lose the urgency created by the drought to continue adoption of low-water landscapes. This summer outreach effort is a fun way to both thank residents and remind them about resources that the Water Authority and our partners offer as we prepare for the inevitable dry years ahead.”

Rebates, plant guides

Those resources include rebates for lawn replacement, rain barrels and other water-efficient devices; on-demand videos filled with landscaping tips; plant guides to make selection easier; and digital workbooks that provide guidance for creating beautiful, low-maintenance landscapes that use far less water than turfgrass. About half of the water used at typical homes is used outside, providing ample opportunities for long-term reductions in water-use.

“There are now thousands of residential and commercial landscapes in our region that show just how attractive and functional climate-friendly landscapes are; most people don’t need or use grass – they just need a little encouragement to find an alternative,” Kerl said. “Using the summer months to plan for landscape upgrades, means you can be ready to take action in the fall and winter when it’s time to plant.”

Long-term challenges for water supply sources

Decades of investments in water supplies, water infrastructure and efficiency measures have insulated San Diego County from recent droughts. The long-term challenges across the Southwest remain given the severe depletion of the Colorado River and groundwater basins.

“Fundamentally, we are no longer talking about drought but an entirely different reality than we were in decades past – the era of climate-driven impacts to our natural resources,” Kerl said. “Every person in San Diego and the western U.S. must continue to eliminate water waste, adopt low-water landscapes, capture rainwater, and take other steps to adapt to a hotter and drier future.”

The “Thanks for Planting Me!” campaign is supported with grant funds from by the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, administered by the State of California, Department of Water Resources.

For more information, go to

Fall tips-water saving-drought

Fall Water-Saving Tips

Water-saving actions by everyone in San Diego County during the current drought can help conserve more of our most precious resource.

While San Diego County continues to have enough water due to long-term investments in water sources and conservation, the region’s long-term supply reliability depends on a continued commitment to water-use efficiency indoors and outdoors by homes and businesses both large and small.

Here are some timely tips to save water this fall.

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.

Tap technology

Residents can take advantage of savings on a variety of water-saving technologies such as high-efficiency clothes washers and toilets, rain barrels and irrigation nozzles. Residents can schedule free WaterSmart Checkups to make their properties more water-efficient.

Check out the WaterSmart Living series of articles for helpful landscape makeover information

For more tips, resources and rebates, go to

Vallecitos Videos Shared Nationwide by EPA WaterSense

Videos produced by the Vallecitos Water District public affairs team are now being distributed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program to help educate the public about water conservation nationwide. The videos can be downloaded for free on the EPA WaterSense partner platform.

The Vallecitos Water District's series of videos on using water wisely are being distributed nationwide through the EPA WaterSense program. Photo: Vallecitos Water District/YouTube

Vallecitos Videos Shared Nationwide by EPA WaterSense

Videos produced by the Vallecitos Water District public affairs team are now being distributed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program to help educate the public about water conservation nationwide. The videos can be downloaded for free on the EPA WaterSense partner platform.

The district created a series of twelve videos. A new one will be released each month and posted on the Vallecitos Water District’s social media, and shared through the EPA’s social media.

Video for October: “Shower with Power”

“We’ve found video to be a powerful communication tool at the Vallecitos Water District, and we invest a great deal of time and effort in producing high-quality information for our ratepayers,” said Chris Robbins, Vallecitos Water District Public Information/Conservation Supervisor. “We received the EPA request to partner with them to share our videos with other organizations across the U.S. We considered it a compliment and validation of our investment. We’re glad to share the information with a larger audience.”

Creativity and fun

VWD Public Information Representative Alicia Yerman collaborated with Beth Livingston and Veronica Blette of the EPA on the productions including scripting, storyboards, and visual elements.

“Beth and Veronica were the stars, as they provided a lot of the graphics and the data for us to use and make our own for the video,” said Yerman. “They made sure the graphics were up to date with the statistics and allowed us to be free and open for creativity and fun for creating the videos for other agencies to share and download. They helped review the videos to make sure the language fit their goals and criteria.”

November 2022 video has the cheeky title “Ode to the Commode”

WaterSense is a program sponsored by the EPA, designed to encourage water efficiency in the U.S. through the use of a special label on consumer products. The goal of the program is to protect the future of the nation’s water supply by encouraging a nationwide ethic of water efficiency to conserve water resources for future generations and reduce infrastructure costs.

The WaterSense label makes it simple to find water-efficient products, new homes, and programs meeting the EPA’s criteria for efficiency and performance. WaterSense-labeled products and services are certified to use at least 20% less water, save energy, and perform as well as or better than regular models.

Starting in 2019, VWD began using video to document the district’s workforce and infrastructure improvements on its social media platforms and has also engaged the public with discussions of critically important water management issues. It has won multiple awards for its work. VWD also offers live video of its board meetings and other public discussions on its YouTube channel.

(Editors Note: The Vallecitos Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

WaterSmart Living Landscapes Come in Many Styles

Using water efficiently is a way of life and an important responsibility in a beautiful, Mediterranean climate like San Diego County. WaterSmart landscaping is all about rethinking the way limited water resources are applied and making smart choices to reduce outdoor water use.

San Diego County Showing Way Forward in Beating Back Water Shortages

More than 30 years ago, if you were to visit San Diego County, you would be struck by the lush green lawns, beautiful gardens, and many folks washing their cars.

The county alongside the Pacific Coast appeared to be flush with water. But in all actuality, a major water catastrophe was already in the works.

From 1987-1992, California was hit with a megadrought, and San Diego, which was at the end of the fresh water pipeline, was in deep trouble.

Free webinar-large landscapes-QWEL-drought

Water-Use Efficiency for Large Landscapes Focus of Free Webinar

In the third year of drought, water agencies are providing opportunities, including rebates and resources, to increase water-use efficiency. A free webinar August 31 is geared for people who manage or own properties with large landscape areas.

Managers of homeowner associations, rental housing, commercial, industrial and public properties are invited to the webinar on the State of California’s evolving drought response, status of the Colorado River Basin, regional impacts and landscape restrictions.

The San Diego County Water Authority leads a panel that includes arboriculture, irrigation, design and horticulture experts focused on information and resources applicable to large landscape decision makers. Topics include:

  • Local resources for property-specific drought information.
  • Tree watering options and turf zone exemptions.
  • Monitoring and measuring, plant choices and water budgets.
  • Landscape maintenance priorities.

Low-cost landscape maintenance strategies

The webinar is scheduled from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Along with clarifying current drought restrictions and options, participants will also hear about access to education and training programs, funding resources and low-cost landscape maintenance strategies that can help achieve significant water savings.

Registration and additional information about the “Demystifying Drought” webinar:

Drought-Large Landscapes-webinar

Program partners include San Diego chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) and the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA). The professional educational opportunity is a continuing education feature of the Water Authority’s Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) professional certification training program.

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper

From soils to water budgets, audits and controller programming, San Diego professionals have increased their knowledge of the science and principles of water-efficient landscapes in the Water Authority-sponsored QWEL training program. The professional certificate training is highly rated by industry pros and recognized with the WaterSense® label. In the San Diego region, the interactive and engaging live webinar classes are taught by leading industry educators. The fall and winter schedule includes certification and continuing education opportunities offered during the day and evening in English and Spanish.

Rebates-Businesses-Drought-Water Conservation

Water-Use Efficiency Rebates for Businesses

As extreme drought grips the Southwest, businesses across California are taking a variety of water-saving actions. The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies offer business rebates and other incentives to help businesses save money while saving water.

State ban on commercial turf

The state’s watering ban was put into place on May 24, 2022 and applies to non-functional turf grass defined as grass that is “solely ornamental” and not regularly used for recreational purposes or community events. The restriction does not apply to yards at individual homes and includes exemptions for sports fields and grassy areas made for community gatherings. Watering trees is allowed and encouraged. Enforcement of the state regulations is at the discretion of the local water agency.

Incentives for business property owners

From turf conversions to incentives for converting industrial water systems to recycled water service, there are numerous opportunities to improve water efficiency on commercial properties. To learn more and find more details, visit Available rebates and resources for business property owners include:

  • Through a partnership between the County of San Diego’s Watershed Protection Program and the San Diego County Water Authority, businesses in unincorporated areas of the county are eligible for newly enhanced water-use efficiency rebates in 2021. The Waterscape Rebate Program saves money for residential, commercial, and agricultural customers who make landscape upgrades to improve the region’s climate resilience.
  • SoCalWaterSmart’s Commercial Turf Replacement Program offers great incentives to HOAs and commercial business landscapes. Businesses that convert 1 acre or more of irrigated landscapes, can also apply for the WaterSmart Contractor Incentive Program which offers rebates for irrigation devices such as controllers, nozzles, and drip irrigation.
  • The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California On-Site Retrofit Program provides financial incentives to public or private property owners to convert potable water irrigation or industrial water systems to recycled water service.
  • Certified landscape irrigation auditors provide free, on-site inspections, or WaterSmart Irrigation Checkups, and written site-specific water-saving recommendations for qualifying commercial properties in the Water Authority’s service area.

San Diego has reliable supply

Declining water availability on the Colorado River and worsening drought conditions statewide underscore the importance of collective actions to ensure reliable water supplies.

“We are committed as a region to answering the Governor’s call to step up conservation efforts in the face of extreme hot and dry conditions statewide,” said Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher. “We are collaborating with the Department of Water Resources’ Save Our Water program, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and our 24 member agencies on public outreach and education efforts this summer to stop water waste and increase conservation efforts to stretch our water supplies.”

The San Diego region has prepared for dry periods and water supplies will continue to sustain the San Diego economy and quality of life. The San Diego County Water Authority is working with its partners at the regional, state, and federal levels to advance water management solutions for the Southwest.

Details on the Water Authority’s programs and drought response and on state regulations go to