Posts Tagged 'water conservation'

New Resources Promote Water-Efficient Landscapes

Today’s blog is from our friends at the San Diego County Water Authority! Read on to learn more about the newest water-wise landscaping resources that are available!LogoColorVertPCbig

May is Water Awareness Month and studies have shown that large improvements are being made statewide to effectively conserve water and our reservoirs are slowly but surely making their way back to pre-drought levels. With that said, we all can do our part to conserve this precious and unpredictable resource.

When in Drought

Were you aware that more than half of a typical single-family household’s water use happens outdoors?

An_Irrigation_sprinkler_watering_a_garden

To help improve our region’s outdoor water efficiency, the San Diego County Water Authority recently launched two new resources – an online video series that guides homeowners through the process of transforming their yards into water-efficient landscapes, and an EPA-approved training program for landscape professionals.

The WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program’s Videos On Demand take the content of the Water Authority’s award-winning WaterSmart Landscape Makeover classes and condense it into 17 short, engaging episodes that provide step-by step guidance through the landscape retrofit process, including site analysis, design, implementation and maintenance.  To watch the videos, or learn more about the WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program, go to LandscapeMakeover.WaterSmartSD.org.

DSC00010

The Water Authority also is now a partner in the Qualified Water-Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) training program. This program provides landscape professionals with 20 hours of education on principles of proper plant selection for the local climate, irrigation system design and maintenance, and irrigation system programming and operation.  Go to QWEL.WaterSmartSD.org to learn more, including information about hiring QWEL-trained landscapers.

Water-wise yard - MJB (3)

In addition to these new resources, the Water Authority continues to work with multiple partners to help homeowners and business owners maximize water efficiency. Please visit  www.whenindrought.org for links to water-use rules by community and other conservation resources, such as incentives for rain barrels to low-water-use devices and appliances.

Thank you to all of you who have conserved and continue to find new ways to make the most of our most precious resource! 

DSC01029

Moriah bridges love for craft beer & the environment

Mo brewing beerToday’s blog comes from our Community Program Coordinator, Moriah as she shares her love for San Diego craft beer and our environment!

I am known as the resident beer nerd at I Love a Clean San Diego.  After working at a local brewery for about a year and brewing at home, it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about beer.  One thing I didn’t know, however, was how connected my love of beer was to my love for the environment.  In a city like San Diego, it’s not surprising that our local breweries value our environment as much as they value their craft.

Ways SD breweries minimize waste

Water conservation is a big issue for everyone in California, and that includes craft breweries.  The industry average in California ranges from 3.5 to 6 gallons of water for every gallon of beer produced.  Breweries in San Diego are leading the way in reducing the amount of water needed for their production.  Local breweries are becoming increasingly water-wise.  According to the California Craft Brewers Association, Ballast Point has reduced its water use by more than 24 percent, and Stone Brewing Company recycles more than 62 percent of its water daily.

One of the biggest ways that local breweries reduce waste is by using their spent grain in creative ways.  Spent grain is the grain left over after the brewing process.  Instead of throwing this used grain in the landfill, most of San Diego’s breweries donate it to local farms, where it can be used as livestock feed.  Stone Brewing Company even uses it as a mulching tool in their garden.  Some of their spent grain goes towards locally made soaps and dog treats as well!

Hop farm

Hop farm picture is Jordan Brownwood tending hops at Nopalito Farm & Hopyard. Photo credit:  slowfoodurbansandiego.org

San Diego is known for its hop-heavy beers, but did you know that farms right here in San Diego County grow one of beer’s most important ingredients? Nopalito Farms is a local, family-run organic hopyard and orchard in North County San Diego.  Since water conservation is always an issue in Southern California, Nopalito Farms has adopted sustainable farming practices like drip irrigation and mulching, and they work to maximize the rain that they get in Valley Center.

Imbibe with the earth in mind!

  • Bring a growler with you next time you pick up beer. Instead of cans or glass bottles that will end up in your blue bin, get a reusable growler and take it to the closest brewery.  Get fresh, draft beer straight from the source! Be sure to check with the brewery first to see if they have any specific growler policies.
  • Reuse old beer or wine bottles to make decorations for your house. At our recent Sustainable Living Workshop that focuses on a zero waste home, our educators taught attendees how to reuse their old bottles and turn them into fashionable home decorations.

    Zero Waste Home - Jan 2016 (29)

    One example of a  repurposed wine bottle from our Zero Waste Home Workshop.

Volunteer at Cupid’s Cleanup!

If all of this beer talk has you thirsty, you can join us and Benchmark Brewing Company on Saturday, February 13th from 10am-12pm for a cleanup of the San Diego River! Why not switch up the typical dinner and a movie Valentine’s Day date and help us clean up the San Diego River instead. Then, if this blog has inspired you to try some local San Diego suds, you can join us afterward for a Valentine’s Day-themed mixer hosted by Benchmark Brewing Company! Families, sweethearts, kids, and singles are all welcome.

Register here! Help us spread the word by joining the Facebook event and sharing the cleanup with your friends and family. 

cupids instagram

ILACSD Debuts Zero Waste Workshops

Emily_team15

Emily Nelson, Education Manager

Thanks to the generous support of the City of Encinitas and Healthy Day Partners, I Love A Clean San Diego is currently providing free adult workshops as part of our Sustainable Living Series. After a successful kick-off in November, we’re looking forward to our upcoming workshops in January and February. Read on to learn more!

As a San Diego native, I’ve always taken pride in how our community members rally together during a time of need. Most recently, San Diegans responded impressively to our drought crisis. Between June and August of this year, San Diego county residents decreased their water usage by 27%. We’ve all worked together to take shorter showers and limit our irrigation frequency, but is there more we could be doing?

10.7.15 - SLS (33)At our first Sustainable Living Series workshop – What to Know about H2O – I Love A Clean San Diego staff set out to tackle that very question. After reviewing the history of water in San Diego, participants rolled up their sleeves and dug into our repurposed planter activity. Using items salvaged from Goodwill as pots, we planted succulents, saving water and saving items from the landfill in one fell swoop.

Following a tour of the Ocean Knoll Farm, the site of the Sustainable Living Series workshops, our educators discussed the benefits of selecting native plants as part of your outdoor landscape design. We demonstrated water-wise irrigation options, exploring the benefits of backyard rain barrels and detailing the process of installing a Laundry to Landscape greywater system. Our youngest participants got to “bling their bucket” with reminders of how to conserve water in their home.

Thanks to generous donations from Walter Andersen Nursery in Point Loma and Home Depot in Encinitas, we raffled off a rain barrel and 10 native plants, among other items. Everyone walked away with something to set them on the path to living more a more sustainable life.

Join us for our upcoming zero waste workshops: Zero Waste Home on Saturday January 9th and Zero Waste Lifestyle on February 20th, offered at no cost to you!  

Zero-Waste-Home-Workshop

Click the image to register!

Visit www.cleansd.org/e_community.php for more information and to register.

 

Water Savings in Action

Last month, I Love A Clean San Diego and Media Arts Center San Diego came together to create a short but educational video to help San Diegans conserve water. Here’s a behind the scenes look at our video shoot!

DSC00017I Love A Clean San Diego’s Board President, Eric, is a water saving pro, so it was only fitting that we used his home as a backdrop for our video. He and his family have made all sorts of changes – some small, some large – to make their home more water wise.

When we pulled up, we were in awe of his front yard. He recently removed all of his grass and shrubs, replacing it with mulch, wood chips and lots of drought tolerant plants. It looked professionally done, so of course we were in shock when he said that he did it all himself! He showed us how the mulch ground cover helps to retain moisture in the soil, so he rarely waters but the ground still felt damp and cool.

DSC00019

Whether you have 1 rain barrel or 5, you will be making the most out of the few rainy days San Diego sees each year.

Then we headed to the side of his house, where he showed off his massive rain barrel array. I have to say, it was a little intimidating to see such a feat of engineering, but he assured us that it’s really easy after you do a little math. To help with this, we’ve put together a DIY guide to plan for and install rain barrels at your home!

DSC00029

Low flow shower heads and faucet aerators can make a huge impact!

After checking out Eric’s amazing vegetable garden, which he irrigates with water collected from his rain barrels, we headed inside the house! One clever tactic that we’d never even thought of is to fill up a large bottle with water and put it inside your toilets water tank to help displace water. Then, the toilet tank thinks that it is full and shuts off before using too much water. 

Another quick and easy bathroom water savings retrofit…low flow shower heads and faucet aerators. They are simple to install and the water savings can really add up. And best of all? I Love A Clean San Diego has lots of them available through a partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric. If you are an SDG&E customer, you can swing by our office to pick up your free water savings kit! Or, you can request one online and they’ll mail it to your home!

bottle-in-tank

Displacing the water in your toilet tank allows it to use far less water with each flush.

We finished the day by taking a tour of his garage. You might not think that a garage has anything to do with water conservation, but it does if that’s where you do your laundry. Eric’s family has installed a gray water system in the garage to collect water from the washing machine to irrigate shrubs on the side of his house. This installation is a bit more technical, since you have to create a two-way valve and find a way to run PVC pipe through your garage and out to the yard. But, the good news is that in San Diego, you no longer need a permit to install gray water systems, as long as it is only hooked up to your washing machine. For more water savings tips for every room of your home click here and if you’re interested in learning more about rebates, we have an infographic for that too!

DSC00033

Gray water, commonly referred to as Landry to Landscape is another great option to make the most out of every drop.

Now that you’ve gone behind the scenes, here is the final product – our water conservation video!

 

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.
meter
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. 

postit

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!).

IMG_1854 (3)

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.

picture 2

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.

picture 4 picture 5

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.

picture 6

 

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.

picture 7

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.


ILACSD Logo

Subscribe to ecoBLOGic

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email!

Join 8,929 other followers

Archives

Follow Us On Twitter


%d bloggers like this: