College students across San Diego County can win free food and other prizes while contributing to regional water conservation efforts as the fall semester gets under way. The San Diego County Water Authority has delivered thousands of refrigerator magnets with indoor water conservation tips to campuses and invited students to promote water conservation by posting “selfies” with the magnets as part of a social media campaign.
Hundreds of prizes have been generously donated by Rubio’s, Jack in the Box, Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co. in Mission Valley, SeaWorld, Slater’s 50/50 and Woodstock’s Pizza.
The magnets emphasize the need for everyone in San Diego County to conserve water now that mandatory water-wasting restrictions are in place. They are being distributed in campus housing units and at university functions with support from school officials and student life leaders at Alliant International University, California State University at San Marcos, Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego State University, the University of California at San Diego, and the University of San Diego. College students at any campus in the county may request a magnet by sending a tweet to the Water Authority @sdcwa or emailing email@example.com.
“Everyone plays an important role in conserving our existing water supplies in case 2015 is a fourth consecutive dry year,” said Jason Foster, director of Public Outreach and Conservation for the Water Authority. “Thanks to civic-minded business and campus leaders around the region, we can offer college students a fun way to get involved with this serious topic.”
During September and October, the Water Authority will send coupons for free tacos to 50 randomly selected people each week who follow the Water Authority on Twitter @sdcwa and post a photo of themselves with the drought magnet to their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts using #DroughtSelfie. Winners of larger prizes will be randomly selected from participants. To be eligible, participants must tag @sdcwa using Twitter and Instagram or the San Diego County Water Authority using Facebook. Students are also encouraged to post tips about what they are doing to conserve water.
Easy ways college students can save water include: taking shorter showers; washing only full loads of clothes; turning off the faucet when brushing teeth or shaving; and alerting their landlords or apartment managers about leaks, runoff or other potential water waste on their properties.
The college outreach is part of the Water Authority’s regional campaign, “When in Drought: Save every day, every way.” Partly funded by grant money from the state Department of Water Resources, the campaign includes ads, public service announcements, online communications and drought reminders provided by community partners in public places such as San Diego International Airport and Petco Park. The Water Authority also is developing yard signs for residents that promote the region’s positive water conservation ethic, as well as magnetic car decals and other items designed to inspire efforts to reduce water use. The campaign is online at www.whenindrought.org.
As a wholesale water agency, the Water Authority plays an important role in coordinating drought response actions for San Diego County. The Water Authority’s Board declared a Drought Watch condition in February to encourage increased voluntary water conservation. Record-setting temperatures during the first half of 2014 made voluntary conservation difficult to achieve and contributed to a rapid drawdown in reservoir levels statewide.
The current Drought Alert condition declared in July makes Drought Watch conservation measures mandatory, and it adds outdoor watering restrictions such as limiting landscape irrigation to no more than three days per week. Local rules vary based on regulations adopted by the Water Authority’s 24 member agencies.
While some California communities have faced reduced water deliveries for months, the San Diego region has avoided them because of two decades of investments to diversify and improve the reliability of the region’s water supply sources, investments in Southern California reservoir storage and countywide water conservation efforts.
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.