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CWA Approves New Water Audit Contract With Mission RCD

The San Diego County Water Authority has approved a new contract with the Mission Resource Conservation District to administer the SDCWA’s WaterSmart Field Services Program. The Thursday, Oct. 27, CWA board action authorized CWA general manager Sandra Kerl to enter into a three-year professional services agreement with the Mission RCD which will pay $200,000 for administration of the WaterSmart Field Services Program through Oct. 31, 2025.

WaterSmart Makeover: A Mediterranean Transformation in Otay Water District

When Denee and Bryan Felber bought their Chula Vista home back in 2011, the entire front and back yard were the quintessential SoCal dream: lawn. About three years in, the couple, who have four grown children, started to make some practical upgrades, installing both energy efficient windows and solar panels.

Free Online WaterSmart Landscape Design Workshops

As California enters a fourth straight year of drought, more residents are taking advantage of free, online webinars helping them create a beautiful, water-efficient outdoor landscape. New three-hour workshops are now scheduled through December, funded in part by the County of San Diego Watershed Protection Program.

Free online landscape design classes-webinar-water conservation

Free Online WaterSmart Landscape Design Workshops

As California enters a fourth straight year of drought, more residents are taking advantage of free, online webinars helping them create a beautiful, water-efficient outdoor landscape. New three-hour workshops are now scheduled through December, funded in part by the County of San Diego Watershed Protection Program.

Taught by local landscape professionals, upcoming webinars focus on specific landscape topics with a “do-it-yourself” approach. From plant choices and irrigation to design and maintenance, the webinars offer timely help on upgrading landscapes with low water use plants and other design touches.

“The workshops give people the skills and knowledge to create an outdoor space that is sustainable and water-efficient,” said Joni German, a water resources specialist for the San Diego County Water Authority. “Residents can also take advantage of other free WaterSmart resources, including rebates for replacing grass and other outdoor and indoor incentives.”

Registration is required for the online workshops. Weekday workshops are held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday workshops from 9:00 a.m. to Noon. Register here.

Create a drought-tolerant landscape

Outdoor watering accounts for more than half of a typical household’s water use in California. The online classes can help residents create a drought-tolerant, water-efficient landscape with a design that maximizes enjoyment of the outdoor space.

Yank thirsty grass, create a beautiful, water-efficient landscape

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. Residents in unincorporated San Diego County, may be eligible for additional incentives through the Waterscape Rebate Program.  

WaterSmart Resources

  • Commercial and residential rebates
  • Landscape makeover classes
  • Indoor and outdoor incentives
  • Grass replacement
  • Free on-site irrigation system evaluations

While San Diego County’s investments in supply reliability continue to protect the region, national weather models suggest drought will continue to strain water resources across the West and make water conservation a priority in 2023. Additional free, online WaterSmart landscape workshops are planned for 2023.

(Editor’s Note: The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $240 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 24 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base.)

To encourage water conservation as drought conditions persist, North County water district offer discounted rain barrels to area residents. Photo: Solana Center

Water Districts Offer Discounted Rain Barrels

Due to the persistence of California’s unprecedented megadrought, capturing rainfall when it occurs is a conservation priority. Several water districts in North San Diego County are offering discounted rain barrels.

To encourage water conservation as drought conditions persist, the Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Carlsbad Municipal Water District, San Dieguito Water District, and Santa Fe Irrigation District, are offering discounted rain barrels to area residents.

Collecting rainwater for future use saves both potable water and consumer costs. Capturing rainwater also reduces irrigation runoff that can carry pollutants into local waterways and beaches. This is especially true in the “first flush” of the rain season currently underway.

Capture the rain

Fifty-gallon barrels are on sale for $97, with a final cost of $62 after a $35 rebate from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Rebates on rain barrels and other water-saving measures are available at www.SoCalWaterSmart.com.

Rain barrels ordered through November 30 will be available for pick up at the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation at 137 North El Camino Real in Encinitas. Visit the Solana Center’s website for more information and to place your order.

Rain barrels conserve water for Watersmart landscape maintenance

Although San Diego County’s average rainfall in normal seasons is just under ten inches annually, even light rain can provide enough water for later use. A roof with a 2,000-square-foot surface area can capture 300 gallons from only a quarter inch of rain.

Rain Barrels-Drought-Water Conservation

Stored water can be released gradually into Watersmart landscaping between winter rainstorms, building up the soil sponge and ensuring that native plants get adequate water during the winter months when they need it most. If you need additional water in the summer and capture enough of it during the winter, you may be able to use your stored water for supplemental irrigation.

Rain barrels are inexpensive to purchase and easy to install. Practice pest management and use screens to prevent mosquito breeding. With minimum maintenance and common sense, the water can be kept safe.

(Editor’s note: The Olivenhain Municipal Water District, City of Carlsbad, San Dieguito Water District, and Santa Fe Irrigation District, are four of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Free ‘Drought-Proof Your Garden’ Webinars Start Nov. 2

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.”

The next webinar will be Nov. 21, starting at 5 p.m.; to register for that date, click here.

Free “Drought-Proof Your Garden” Webinars Start Nov. 2

October 26, 2022 – 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.”

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.

New State Tax Break and Lawn Removal Rebates Save Money, Water

Fall is the perfect time to yank those thirsty lawns and install drought-tolerant landscapes with the help of cooler days and major financial incentives.

Homeowners and businesses in San Diego County can receive between $2 and $4 per square foot for removing grass and replacing it with low water-use plants that are better suited to withstand the hot and dry conditions that continue to hammer the West.

Chula Vista Elementary School students participate in learning activities at the Hydro Station. Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School District

Hydro Station Lets Students Explore WaterSmart Landscape Design

As its fourth year begins, the Chula Vista Hydro Station offers new activities in 2022, helping Chula Vista Elementary School District students learn about using water wisely through hands-on activities.

A unique joint educational partnership between the Sweetwater Authority, the Otay Water District, and the Chula Vista Elementary School District, the Hydro Station, opened in 2019 at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility.

More than 4,000 students visit the Hydro Station annually and learn more about careers and opportunities in the water and wastewater industry through various learning experiences.

“Sweetwater Authority’s Board is proud to continue to support the Hydro Station for another school year,” said Board Chair Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. “We’re excited that more students will have the opportunity to visit our Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility to learn about how water agencies deliver safe, reliable water to our communities and discover the vast career opportunities in the water industry.”

Landscape design and engineering projects 

Students get the opportunity to practice landscape design with a watersmart focus. Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School Districtv Hydro Station

Students get the opportunity to practice landscape design with a watersmart focus. Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School District

This year, students can step into the role of a civil engineer and learn about the ways water is transported across long distances. They take what they learn and try their hand at designing a model of an aqueduct.

Students are also invited to explore the artistic aspects of water management by taking on the role of a landscape architect. They work in teams to design beautiful, WaterSmart landscapes using various design elements.

“The Otay Water District believes this Hydro Station effort is critical to educating the younger generation about water industry jobs as they prepare for their futures,” said Otay Board President Tim Smith. “We continue to promote and recruit for water industry jobs, and this program is another resource to help us to increase the talent pool in the industry as our youth learn about what is available to them early on.”

Hands-on experience in an interactive space

Projects in progress by Halecrest Elementary School students at the Hydro Station. Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School District

Projects in progress by Halecrest Elementary School students at the Hydro Station. Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School District

The Hydro Station is an interactive educational space with learning exhibits and hands-on activities dedicated to introducing fifth-grade students to the ecological cycle of water, water conservation, water quality, and careers in the water industry.

Educating the next-generation water industry workforce

Locally, more than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sector at the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. One-third of these industry professionals will be eligible for retirement in the next few years. The Hydro Station helps develop interest among a new generation of potential water professionals to participate in the mission to deliver safe and reliable water to hundreds and thousands of people in communities who rely on this essential workforce.

Students participate in activities focused on career opportunities, learning how their strengths, interests, and values may align with career options through hands-on activities connecting to specific careers. It also educates children, their families, and the community on the thoughtful use of water resources.

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

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.