Water Use Efficiency

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Popular turf program changes the landscape

Drought conditions highlighted the value of the Water Authority’s long-term water conservation efforts, including the grant-funded WaterSmart Turf Replacement Program launched in December 2012.

A surge in applications exhausted available grant funds in January, nearly three years ahead of schedule. The program will pay for nearly 800 turf replacement projects and directly account for the replacement of more than 1.1 million square feet of water-intensive turf grass with low water-use landscapes across the region. Those landscapes will save an estimated 1,500 acre-feet of water over 10 years.

The turf replacement program also helped to catalyze a market transformation in the region’s landscaping industry at a minimal cost to ratepayers. By the end of the year, low-water landscapes were becoming more prominent across the region.

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Conservation education programs grow in popularity

Residents and business across San Diego County stepped up to the conservation challenge by taking advantage of the Water Authority’s water-saving educational programs.

The Water Authority held 49 California Friendly Landscape Training classes during the year, educating nearly 2,000 participants – more than double the previous year. The Water Authority also hosted 13 WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series for more than 250 homeowners. On average, makeover series participants reduced their household water use by 58 percent, or approximately 21,000 gallons per year, for a combined savings of more than 5.3 million gallons per year.

The Water Authority’s water-use checkups also proved popular. Residential assessments jumped by more than 17 percent to more than 2,500 participants. In addition, 72 commercial, industrial and institutional water users participated in irrigation checkups, an increase of 140 percent.