Posts Tagged 'drought'

Summer Water Savings Solutions

Today’s blog comes from our Education Manager, Erika. To help all of us to better understand the relationship between our water use and drought conditions, Erika has taken it upon herself to become well-versed in the ways of water conservation. Read on to learn more about how you can help America’s Finest City reach its water conservation goals! 

 

 

It’s not news that San Diego and the rest of California is experiencing severe drought conditions. In April, Governor Brown imposed mandatory restrictions in municipal water use, designed to save 25% of state drinking water supplies. Despite the fact that most San Diegans are aware of our drought, according to the Equinox Center, “the member agencies of San Diego County Water Authority experienced a 2 percent increase in average daily water consumption on a per person basis” in 2014. While it is my opinion, the best way to conserve water is to evaluate your eating and purchasing habits; although these savings won’t be reflected on your water bill. So, here are some ways you can #wastenowater this summer.water conservation

Educate yourself.

Figure out where you are using the most water in your home: watering the lawn, long showers, or perhaps there’s a leak? One of the first steps is learning how to decipher your water bill and read your water meter (and teach the kids in your life to do the same!). Once acquainted with your standard water usage, any abnormalities will alert you of any leaks. Another simple solution to identify toilet leaks is to put food coloring in the fill tank; if dye travels to the bowl, you know you have a leak.
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There are also lots of resources available including free water savings kits from SDG&E – click here to request yours today

Go beyond the bucket.

I’ve been hearing stories of people capturing shower water while waiting for it to heat, which is awesome. Most people use this water for irrigation; however, there are plenty of other uses for this water. Try using it to fill the toilet fill tank, as water for your animals, or to fill ice cube trays and water jugs. If you plan to do laundry or cleaning that day, you can keep it to mop or use for hand washing your delicates. 

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Scrape and Soak.

When washing dishes, make sure to scrape excess food into the trash (or compost) before rinsing. You can use a bucket to minimize excess water use, too. Also, if you are fortunate enough to have a dish washer, make sure to have a full load before starting. Water saving doesn’t have to start with dishes. Use a bowl to wash fruits and veggies and be smart about the size of the pot you use to cook.

Gray your garden.

graywaterIrrigation accounts for a large percentage of water use, especially in the summer. Our solution, go gray(water)! Laundry to landscape graywater systems don’t require permits. Take a course or study up through YouTube on how to be most efficient in your garden. Also, you can never use too much mulch! Mulch and compost can prevent evaporation from your soil and your plants will love it, too! Don’t forget to use water wise and native plans and try out a rain barrel! Whenever I see a sprinkler watering the sidewalk, I adjust the head to point toward the grass.

 

These habits don’t develop overnight, so place sticky notes around places that are atypical of your routine (and don’t forget to recycle the notes once you are done!).

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Water Wasters Beware!

May is Water Awareness Month and it is only fitting that today’s blog comes from our friends at the San Diego County Water Authority! You may remember a blog from last fall called, When in DROUGHT, turn to us!” that focused on water use restrictions and how ILACSD staff conserve water in their lives. As water restrictions have intensified, we wanted to make sure you’re are up-to-date. Read on to learn new ways to conserve water in your life! 

When in Drought

State Mandates Water-Use Cuts

This means we all need to do our part to save water every day, every way

May is Water Awareness Month, and what we all need to be aware of is that the governor has ordered mandatory cuts in water use to start June 1.   If we all do a little more to save water, it can add up to big savings for our region – in terms of water and avoiding financial penalties from the state.

Each local water agency has a conservation target to reach from June 2015 through February 2016. These cuts range from 8 to 36 percent depending on each agency’s level of per-capita water-use. If a member agency does not reach its conservation target in the coming months, the agency could face fines. 

Summer is almost here, the peak season for water use.

  • watering yardLimit outdoor watering to two days per week, less if you can.
  • Leaks should be corrected immediately – sign up for your free WaterSmart Check up today!
  • Decorative water fountains must use a recirculating pump.
  • Use a broom to clear driveways, sidewalks and paved areas instead of a hose, which is prohibited.

Are you looking for even more ways to conserve water?

  • Opt to stop watering you lawn areas and let them get a tan this summer! (forget Orange is the New Black, Brown is the new Green!)washer
  • Shorten your showers. Shaving 1 minute off your shower time saves 150 gallons a month! 
  • Collect the warm-up water from your shower and use it to water plants.
  • Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.
  • Turn off the faucet when washing, shaving or brushing teeth – you’ll save about 2 gallons per minute!
  • Install water-efficient appliances and take advantage of rebates at WaterSmartSD.org.
Sarah watering plants

Sarah, ILACSD’s Development & Marketing Coordinator, uses old water to water plants at the office instead of pouring it down the sink!

Already doing everything to conserve? Share what you’re doing with SDCWA on Facebook and Twitter

Check with your local water agency to see what restrictions are in place in your community. If you aren’t sure which member agency to contact, go to whenindrought.org for the member agency locator, more conservation tips, and rebate information.

Thank you for saving water every day, every way!

 

 

A Crash Course in Local Water Issues

Today, we share our last blog post from Environmental Educator, Monica Rosquillas, who will be setting out on a new path in 2015. A member of the ILACSD team for more than two years, Monica just completed the Citizen Water Academy program and provides a brief rundown of what she learned below. You can even test your local water knowledge in a quiz she created!

Last October, I had the privilege of being part of the inaugural class of the San Diego County Water Authority’s Citizens Water Academy.

The Citizens Water Academy is open to future and emerging leaders in the San Diego region that desire to learn about critical water issues in the region.

Fall 2014 Citizens Water Academy participants

Fall 2014 Citizens Water Academy participants

It was a four session program the included presentations from local water experts and tours to local water facilities.

Here’s a short run-through of the academy and some interesting information I learned along the way.

Session 1 was held at the San Diego History Center in beautiful Balboa Park.
During this session, local water experts presented on San Diego’s water history and its future.
Within the last 24 years, San Diego has increased its water reliability through supply diversification.

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Did you know where our tap water comes from?

 

Here’s Michael Page, ILACSD board member who also participated in the Citizens Water Academy. On the right is Mark Weston, Water Authority Board Chair. On the left is Ramesses Surban, Citizens Water Academy student

Here’s Michael Page, ILACSD board member who also participated in the Citizens Water Academy. On the right is Mark Weston, Water Authority Board Chair. On the left is Ramesses Surban, Citizens Water Academy student

Session 2 was held at the Escondido Operations and Maintenance Center. We learned about Regional Water Infrastructure, Water Authority Operations, and the Water Authority’s Emergency Preparedness Efforts.

Did you know that San Diego uses enough water every day to fill Qualcomm Stadium twice?

During session two I learned all about what goes into importing water to San Diego, storing it, treating it, and delivering that water to our homes. I have always been conscious of my water use but I now have a new appreciation of San Diego’s clean and reliable tap water.

Ever wonder what happens to our water supply in case of an emergency? Watch this video  to find out.

 

Session 3 was at the North City Water Reclamation Plant.

There, we took a tour of San Diego’s Advanced Water Purification Facility, where wastewater is treated and recycled.

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Session 4 was a busy day!

After breakfast and check in at the Escondido office, we got on a bus and headed over to the Carlsbad Desalination Plant.

The Desalination plant is a $ 1 Billion project expected to produce drinking water for the San Diego region as soon as fall 2015. The plant will meet about 7% of the county’s water demands in 2020.

Here’s how it works.

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We then headed over to Olivenhain Reservoir.  This is the region’s first major new dam and reservoir in 50 years. The Olivenhain Reservoir can store 24,000 Acre Feet of Water.

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Here I am at the Olivenhain Reservoir

 

Afterwards, we took a trip over to Stone Brewery in Escondido and were able to tour their water recycling facility.

Here I am at Stone.

Here I am at Stone.

Finally, we headed back to the Escondido office for our Graduation Ceremony.

Here I am with Mark Weston, Board Chair, and Maureen A. Stapleton, General Manager of the San Diego County Water Authority

Here I am with Mark Weston, Board Chair, and Maureen A. Stapleton, General Manager of the San Diego County Water Authority

 

The Citizens Water Academy provided me with the opportunity to learn firsthand from local water experts about the region’s water supply that I have shared with hundreds of students in San Diego County, hopefully inspiring them to conserve this precious natural resource.  If you’re interested in participating in the Citizens Water Academy, a project of the San Diego County Water Authority, they are currently accepting applications for their Spring 2015 class. Learn more information online.

Think you’re a water expert? Test your local water knowledge in a quiz that Monica created based on what she learned in the Citizens Water Academy!

When in DROUGHT, turn to us!

Today’s blog is a collaboration with ILACSD and our friends that the San Diego County Water Authority. With a serious drought on our hands, it is up to all of us to take immediate action to reduce our use and save our stored water reserves for 2015. Read on to learn more about what we do to fight the drought, and go to WaterSmartSD.org to learn more!

Recently, we asked ILACSD staff members about how they fight the drought. Here are some of our favorite responses:

Save 5 gallons of water every time you brush!

Save 5 gallons of water every time you brush just by turning off the faucet!

  • Ann, ILACSD Director of Finance, puts a bucket under her bathtub faucet to collect the cold water as she waits for the shower water to heat up. Then she uses that to water her plants.
  • Sarah, our Marketing Coordinator, waters her plants with left over, day-old drinking water.
  • Natalie, Director of Community Events, has a wireless speaker in her bathroom and uses Pandora to time her showers.
  • Monica, ILACSD Environmental Educator, turns off the tap while brushing your teeth. Millions of people doing even the little things makes a difference!
  • Morgan, Director of Development & Marketing, and Ann have both recently replaced their lawns with native plants and rocks!
Before & after shots of Morgan's water-friendly yard!

Before & after shots of Morgan’s water-friendly yard!

There are also some mandatory water-saving restrictions in effect across the region. Requirements vary by local water agency, but they include:

When in Drought, visit WaterSmartSD.org!

When in Drought, visit WaterSmartSD.org!

• Limit outdoor watering days and times.
Water only during the late evening or early morning hours.
• Eliminate runoff from irrigation systems.
Repair all leaks within 72 hours.
• Turn off water fountains and other water features unless they recycle water.
Use hoses with shut-off valves for washing cars (or patronizing commercial car washes that re-circulate water).
• If you do not plan to drink water with your meal at a restaurant, please remind the waitstaff not to bring water to the table.
If you stay at a hotel, request the option of not laundering towels and linens daily.
• Use recycled or non-potable water for construction when available.

The Water Authority is not anticipating cutbacks to its imported water supplies this year that would trigger mandatory supply cutbacks to its member agencies. Allocations could happen in 2015 if conditions don’t improve, but regional investments in water supply reliability such as independent Colorado River water transfers and the Carlsbad Desalination Project will help offset the impacts of any supply reductions.

For more details about the drought, including links to water-use rules and conservation programs in your community, go to WhenInDrought.org. The webpage also includes a link to the Water Authority’s online conservation portal WaterSmartSD.org, which offers numerous water-saving incentives, free water-use evaluations, classes on WaterSmart landscaping and a home water-use calculator.


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