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Drought-Proof Your Garden-webinar-Nan Sterman

Free “Drought-Proof Your Garden” Webinars with Waterwise Garden Guru

The San Diego County Water Authority and waterwise garden guru Nan Sterman have teamed up to offer a series of free public webinars designed to help San Diego County residents care for their gardens during a fourth straight year of severe drought.

Starting at 7 p.m. on Nov. 2, Sterman will host periodic webinars during the fall and winter called “How to Drought-Proof Your Garden.” Registration is required and the next webinar is scheduled on Nov. 21.

The events include a short update on drought conditions, followed by survival strategies for landscapes and a question-and-answer session. The presentation focuses on how to use water wisely in landscapes, how to care for plants during drought, and how to create beautiful gardens that require little – if any – irrigation.

In addition, residents can follow Sterman and the Water Authority on social media for information about future webinars, which are scheduled for every few weeks through February, along with tips and resources for WaterSmart living.

“These webinars offer great opportunities for anyone who wants to maintain a beautiful and functional landscape that uses less water,” said Sandra L. Kerl, general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority. “In addition, we offer numerous resources and rebates to foster low-water lifestyles that will sustain our economy and quality of life for generations.”

About half of water used in homes is typically used outdoors, that makes landscape the biggest opportunity to reduce water use.

Waterwise Garden Guru Nan Sterman

Sterman is a garden designer, author, botanist, and award-winning garden communicator who specializes in waterwise, sustainable and edible plants and gardens. She has written several books and numerous articles on gardening and teaches classes on gardening and WaterSmart landscaping. As a California native, she’s attuned to the seasons, soils, plants, and waterwise practices.

“I’m pleased to partner with the Water Authority to help residents learn to save water and money, while creating beautiful, flower-filled gardens that benefit the environment in many different ways,” said Sterman.

Extreme drought conditions

San Diegans have reduced their per capita water use by more than 40% over the past three decades, but extreme drought conditions underscore the need to continue to improve water-use efficiency, while maintaining the regional economy and quality of life.

There are many incentives for reducing the amount of water used in landscapes. For instance, homeowners and businesses in San Diego County can receive between $2 and $4 per square foot to remove turf and replace it with low water-use plants suited to the hot and dry conditions that are common in our region. All customers are eligible for the base rebate of $2 per square foot; some agencies offer additional funding, including the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego.

Rebates, classes and incentives available to all residents and businesses in San Diego County are at: www.sdcwa.org/your-water/conservation/.

Press Club-Best Public Service Website-San Diego Press Club Winners

Water News Network Best Public Service Website 5th Time at SD Press Club Awards

The Water News Network was awarded first place as the Best Public Service or Consumer Advocacy Website in the 49th annual San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards. It’s the fifth consecutive year the WNN website has won first place in that category. The award for best public service website is one of seven awards the WNN received during a ceremony October 25 at Balboa Park.

San Diego County Water Authority Public Affairs Department staffers Ed Joyce and Kimberlyn Velasquez, and Water Resources Specialist Joni German, also were recognized with awards for their work on the Water News Network.

Joyce received two second place awards in two categories for original reporting: Online and Daily newspapers: Environment, for “California Drought Now in Third Year” and Online and Daily newspapers: General News, for “Pure Water Oceanside Provides New Local Supply of Drinking Water.”

Pure Water Oceanside

Pure Water Oceanside-Recycling-Local Supply

Elected officials and water leaders throughout Southern California, including San Diego County Water Authority General Manager Sandra Kerl, celebrated the dedication of Pure Water Oceanside on March 22 in Oceanside. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

German took second place in the Online and Daily newspapers: Series – Light Subject, for “WaterSmart Living Series,” which was created to showcase the steps needed to create water-efficient landscapes.

Velasquez was awarded honorable mention for Photography/Video in the Feature-Light Subject category for her video, “Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir Moving to Completion,” which included in a WNN story on the project.

The WNN took home a second-place award in the Online and Daily newspapers category: Public Service/Consumer Advocacy, for “Spring Valley HOA and Watershed Benefit from Landscape Optimization Service.”

Former Public Affairs Dept. intern Noah Harrell won third place in the Online and Daily Newspapers: Military category for “Skillbridge Interns Explore Career Opportunities After Military Service.”

Imagine A Day Without Water

The Vallecitos Water District also won a first place for Television/Online Video editing for “Imagine a Day Without Water,” a video featuring San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones, which was featured in a WNN story.

In only its fifth year of operation, the Water News Network is viewed as a reliable source of factual information upholding the standards of journalism to benefit the Water Authority, its 24 member agencies, its stakeholders, and the residents of San Diego County.

The San Diego Press Club honors the region’s best communicators in media each year at the Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Update: On November 16, the San Diego County Water Authority outreach program, “Drought Safe San Diego,” won a Silver Award of Excellence at the annual Public Relations Society of America, San Diego-Imperial Counties chapter 2022 Edward L. Bernays Awards.

(Editor’s note: The Vallecitos Water District and the City of Oceanside are two of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Find the Right Plant for Your Landscape Plans Online

If you’re looking to upgrade your landscape or just love gardens, it can be challenging to choose the right plant that will thrive within your WaterSmart Living landscape plans for your specific conditions.

The online plant finder WaterSmart Landscaping in San Diego County can assist you through a comprehensive database of choices well suited to this region’s Mediterranean climate.

Most native Southern California plants do well in hotter temperatures, so summer plant care is easy with a little planning. Photo: Annie Spratt/Pixabay

Find the Right Plant for Your Landscape Plans Online

If you’re looking to upgrade your landscape or just love gardens, it can be challenging to choose the right plant that will thrive within your WaterSmart Living landscape plans for your specific conditions.

The online plant finder WaterSmart Landscaping in San Diego County can assist you through a comprehensive database of choices well suited to this region’s Mediterranean climate.

Pollinators and birds are attracted to native plants like this Stonecrop (Crassulae). Photo: City of Escondido

Pollinators and birds are attracted to native plants like this Stonecrop (Crassulae). Photo: City of Escondido

This interactive gardening tool has thousands of pictures of plants and garden designs. Take visual tours of beautiful, water-efficient landscapes through photographs that include hotlinks to plant information screens.

Photos are organized by landscape category to make them easy to find. Explore galleries of ideas for back yards, front yards, hillsides, patios, planters, and other outdoor living areas.

If you’re simply looking at plants, the online guide offers more than 1,000 plants and search tools that make plants easy to find.

Online guide features specialty plant sections

right plant

Beach strawberry makes an attractive lawn substitute. Photo: Flickr

Specialty sections include:

  • Lawn alternatives: Create non-traditional lawn space without thirsty turf.
  • Pollinator attracting plants: Pollinator gardens with flowers that provide pollen and nectar for pollinating insects provide vital nutrients to support the pollinator population, and preserve agriculture, ecosystems, and biodiversity.
  • Plants for fire safety: trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines, and perennials that can help reduce fire intensity and do not contribute significantly to fuel the fire due to moisture or chemical content, or total volume.
  • California natives: Because native plants are adapted to local environmental conditions, they require far less water. They also provide vital habitat for birds and other wildlife and preserve biodiversity.you’re exploring, save plant and garden images you like to your plant list, then print reports about them before you shop.
Most native Southern California plants do well in hotter temperatures, so summer plant care is easy with a little planning. Photo: Annie Spratt/Pixabay

Most native Southern California plants do well in hotter temperatures, so summer plant care is easy with a little planning. Photo: Annie Spratt/Pixabay

Go to the website to get started

Click through the navigation bar to see the lists and available resources.

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WaterSmart Living-Logo-San Diego County Water Authority

(Editor’s Note: The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies offer programs, resources, and incentives to improve water-use efficiency for residential, commercial, and agricultural users. WaterSmart choices are a way of life in the region. Stay WaterSmart San Diego! For more water-use efficiency resources, go to WaterSmart.SD.org.)

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.

WaterSmart-The Bucks' winning landscape design includes beautiful outdoor living areas. Photo: OMWD

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.

Saving water isn’t the only reason for a WaterSmart garden. WaterSmart landscapes are attractive and in balance with our environment and climate. They incorporate elements of sustainable landscaping such as healthy, living soils, climate-appropriate plants, high-efficiency irrigation and rainwater harvesting, and generate many environmental and community benefits.

Working within the WaterSmart Matrix, you have lots of flexibility when selecting the combination of plants and irrigation to meet your water efficiency goals. Whether you want to create space for entertaining, limit landscape maintenance, or maintain some turf for children and pets, you can reach your water-saving goals and create an outdoor space to live in without resorting to gravel, concrete, or artificial turf.

These three models can help you get started. You can swap plants within the same usage categories, as long as the percentage mix of low, moderate, and high water use plants remain the same.

Mediterranean Effect: Low to Moderate Water Use Planting

The Bucks' winning landscape design includes beautiful outdoor living areas. Photo: OMWD

The Bucks’ winning landscape design includes beautiful outdoor living areas. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Low water-use plants: 45%.

Moderate water-use plants: 45%

High water-use plants: 10%

In this style, small areas of turf in the high water use category are balanced by beautiful trees, flowering shrubs, and groundcover choices which thrive in our San Diego-style Mediterranean climate. This is a landscape perfect for outdoor entertaining.

Contemporary Effect: Low Water Use Planting

Turf rebates-after-November 2020-fall planting

This homeowner took advantage of turf rebates to transform the front yard with climate-appropriate plants. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority.

Low water-use plants: 90%.

High water-use plants: 10%

For even greater water savings, shrubs that thrive in our San Diego-style Mediterranean climate take center stage along with smart choices of drought-tolerant trees and minimal turf for a lush landscape look full of texture and color.

Native Garden Effect: Very Low Water Use Planting

Native plants-drought-City of Escondido-Landscape Makeover

The Everetts’ winning landscape provides a native habitat and saves water. Photo: City of Escondido

Very low water-use plants: 50%.

Low water-use plants: 50%

California native plants and succulents thrive in our environments. They have adapted over thousands of years to survive on limited natural rainfall. Using natives to create natural habitat is the ultimate accomplishment in WaterSmart landscaping design.

Refer to the plant lists in A Homeowner’s Guide to a WaterSmart Landscape, or ask a local nursery professional for help choosing your landscape plants from the appropriate categories.

WaterSmart landscapes are an upgrade, not a compromise. Creating a yard that loves San Diego as much as you do also creates a sustainable habitat that also preserves our native environment. It can save you maintenance time and costs and conserves our most valuable community resource: water.

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WaterSmart Living-Logo-San Diego County Water Authority

(Editor’s Note: The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies offer programs, resources, and incentives to improve water-use efficiency for residential, commercial, and agricultural users. WaterSmart choices are a way of life in the region. Stay WaterSmart San Diego! For more water-use efficiency resources, go to WaterSmart.SD.org.)

Make Your Landscape Trees a Priority During This Record Drought

As the unprecedented drought continues to affect California and the San Diego region, homeowners can still balance the need to conserve water as efficiently as possible while preserving valuable landscaping, including trees.

Getting the Dirt on Healthy Landscape Soil

Soil is essential to a healthy landscape and efficient water use. Learn about your soil’s characteristics and how to care for it. The results include easier maintenance, a healthier environment, and a more beautiful landscape.

Here’s How to Choose a Professional to Help Create a Water-Saving Landscape

If you choose to design, implement and maintain a new water-saving landscape yourself, you can follow the Homeowner’s Guide to a WaterSmart Landscape to help you plan, prepare, and work through each step. Free classes and online videos can help.

Make Landscape Trees a Priority During Drought

As the unprecedented drought continues to affect California and the San Diego region, homeowners can still balance the need to conserve water as efficiently as possible while preserving valuable landscaping, including trees. Trees can be maintained while following California’s water guidelines.