Water Authority Teams with SDG&E to Boost Conservation Around County

Short Title
Water Authority and SDG&E Team to Boost Conservation
New programs target detention facility, water delivery systems and large landscapes

The Vista Detention Facility will get a water-efficiency makeover as the latest piece of a conservation collaboration between the San Diego County Water Authority and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).

Water and Energy Efficiency Programs

The Water Authority's Board of Directors has approved a three-part conservation partnership with SDG&E.

  • Detention facility: Install water-efficient devices such as electronic flush valves and low-flow showerheads.
  • Large landscapes: Audit irrigation systems and adjust watering times.
  • Leak detection: Assess water agency pipes for ways to limit leakage.

Related parts of the newly launched $829,280 initiative target large irrigated landscapes such as business parks and school campuses, along with local water retailers’ water distribution lines.

The Water Authority and SDG&E aim to boost water-use efficiency and reduce “embedded energy” use in the region.  Water can take large amounts of energy to treat and move, a relationship that is gaining increasing attention statewide.  SDG&E is contributing up to $679,280 to the new program.  The Water Authority’s Board of Directors on Jan. 24 committed up to $150,000 over the next two years.

The two utilities have worked together for more than two decades on a variety of programs that have saved large amounts of water and energy.  Those efforts included the distribution of low-flow showerheads, rebates for high-efficiency clothes washers and energy-efficiency audits for water agency facilities such as pump stations.

“We’re excited to find new ways to enhance the county’s strong conservation ethic through our partnership,” said Jason Foster, director of Public Outreach and Conservation for the Water Authority.  “Conservation is a critical part of our long-term water supply strategy, and programs like this underscore our commitment to be smart with our limited supplies.”

“SDG&E is proud to partner with the San Diego County Water Authority on projects that achieve energy savings and sustainability, providing environmental benefits to the community and championing energy efficiency in our region,” said SDG&E Director of Customer Programs and Projects Ted Reguly.

The program at the Vista Detention Facility, conducted in cooperation with the County of San Diego, will involve installing devices such as electronic flush valves, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to cut down on water used in everyday activities.  It is modeled after a successful effort at the Bailey Detention Facility in San Diego that reduced water demand by more than 300 acre-feet per year, roughly the amount used by 600 families of four.

The WaterSmart Landscape Efficiency Program targets a 20 percent reduction in water use at sites such as office and housing complexes with large irrigated landscapes.  A pilot project achieved 35 percent water savings through a combination of fixing broken irrigation systems and fine-tuning those systems so they don’t over-irrigate.

The third piece of the program involves audits designed to identify and minimize leaks in pipes operated by retail water agencies.

When the work is done, SDG&E will work with the California Public Utilities Commission to develop a comprehensive assessment of the water and energy savings.