News Release

Water Authority Launches Regional “Live WaterSmart” Campaign

Agency promotes water-use efficiency as a way of life in San Diego County; regional water use drops 23 percent in first month after state mandates
10 Top Ways to Live WaterSmart
  • Seek (free) professional help. Request a no-cost home water-use evaluation and receive site-specific water-saving recommendations. 
  • Look for trouble.Use your water meter to check for leaks, and monitor water bills to check for changes that may signal a leak or other problems. 
  • Load ‘em up. Wash full loads of laundry and dishes to save water, energy and time.
  • Come clean with the car. Patronize car washes that recycle water. (If washing at home, use a bucket, sponge and self-closing hose nozzle.)
  • Turn off the tap.Don’t let the water run when brushing teeth, shaving and lathering; wash fruit and vegetables in a bowl of water; scrape food waste instead of rinsing.
  • Start making WaterSense®.Replace older appliances and fixtures with efficient WaterSense® models, and take advantage of incentives to save money.
  • Tame your turf’s thirst. Water only when needed. Test by stepping on your grass. If it springs back when you lift your foot, it doesn’t need water. Irrigate in the evening or early morning, and set lawn mower blades to 3 inches to reduce evaporation.  (Make sure to comply with local irrigation rules.)
  • Work from the ground up.Improve your soil’s ability to retain moisture by aerating heavy or compacted soil and routinely incorporating compost. Add mulch around trees and plants.
  • Handle with care.Regularly check your irrigation system for leaks, misting, overspray, runoff and broken sprinkler heads. Repair promptly. Upgrade to water-efficient irrigation systems to ensure plants receive precisely the water they need.
  • Get an upgrade.When adding or replacing trees, shrubs, groundcovers or flowers, choose less-thirsty varieties. Group plants with similar watering needs together. Incorporate plants such as edibles and shade trees that provide added benefits.

For more water-saving resources, go to

July 26, 2016

A new outreach and education campaign launched today by the San Diego County Water Authority encourages the region to Live WaterSmart even though state water-use mandates have been lifted.

The Live WaterSmart campaign promotes everyday actions that make the best use of water while promoting programs such as free WaterSmart Checkups for homes and businesses, WaterSmart landscaping classes, and a new incentive program coming soon as part of the San Diego Sustainable Landscapes Program.The Water Authority and its 24 member agencies also will continue to raise awareness about the need to avoid wasteful water practices prohibited statewide, such as irrigating lawns so as to cause runoff or within 48 hours after measurable rain.

The campaign was created to help maintain what’s already a strong regional commitment to water-use efficiency. In June 2016 – the first month following the end of state water-use reduction mandates – water use was down 23 percent compared to June 2013.

Water Authority Board Chair Mark Weston and Secretary Jim Madaffer kicked off the campaign today during a news conference at a Kensington home that recently received a free WaterSmart Checkup. The checkups provide residents with site-specific water-saving recommendations indoors and outdoors. Checkups for commercial properties address outdoor water use. For more information, and to sign up, go to

“Today we celebrate our long-standing commitment to water-use efficiency, underscored by the significant water savings in June after the state’s water-use mandates ended,” Weston said. “We must make the most of our water resources regardless of the weather, and I am confident that people across the San Diego region will continue to answer the call to Live WaterSmart.”

“This is about each of us doing our part to help our region thrive,” said Madaffer. “It’s important that we not allow any water-wasting habits to creep back in, and that we continue to look for ways to be efficient – for instance, by having a certified professional check your home’s water use for free so you can fix any problems.”

The Water Authority has taken a multi-faceted approach to achieving water supply reliability by investing in drought-resilient supplies such as the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, which produces about 10 percent of the regional water supply, and infrastructure upgrades such as the San Vicente Dam Raise, which allowed the region to store 100,000 acre-feet of conserved water as a hedge against potential future dry years.

In addition, the region has been a state and national leader in water-use efficiency, reducing per capita water use by nearly 40 percent between 1990 and 2015 due to a number of efforts including Water Authority-sponsored legislation, education and resources. Under state mandates to reduce water use from June 2015 through May 2016, regional water use declined by 22 percent compared to the state’s baseline in 2013.

In May, the State Water Board replaced state-mandated conservation targets with a supply-based approach that considers each agency’s specific situation and water supplies – an approach the Water Authority and others sought for more than a year. Due to the San Diego region’s investments in supply reliability, the Water Authority and its member agencies have all of the water needed to sustain the region’s $222 billion economy and 3.3 million residents under the state’s “stress test” methodology. State officials plan to reassess the regulations in January.

The Live WaterSmart campaign is designed to maintain the region’s focus on making the best use of precious water supplies, for instance, by washing full loads of laundry and dishes, looking for and fixing leaks and overspray in irrigation systems, and replacing lawns with climate-appropriate, water-efficient plants.

The Water Authority offers numerous resources to help at (Click on the “Live WaterSmart Resources” box.) The resources include:

  • Award-winning water-efficient landscaping classes for homeowners
  • An on-demand video version of the classes
  • An online home water-use calculator
  • QWEL – Qualified Water-Efficient Landscaper program to train landscaping professionals
  • A water-waste reporting smartphone app
  • Rebates for highly efficient irrigation equipment, washing machines and other devices

Later this summer, the Water Authority and its partners in the San Diego Sustainable Landscapes Program plan to roll out a new incentive program for people who want to remove their turf and renovate their yards to achieve greater water-use efficiency and other environmental benefits.

Outdoor ad spaces in regional malls donated by Media Services Worldwide already show the Live WaterSmart message. The campaign will also include digital ads promoting WaterSmart Checkups and everyday water-saving actions, along with the distribution of promotional items such as hose nozzles with automatic shut-offs and food scrapers (to remove food from plates instead of rinsing) at community events.Additional partnerships with leading organizations in San Diego County also are under development to spread the Live WaterSmart message during the high water-use months of August, September and October.

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