Irrigation Management/Watering Efficiency

county of san diego watershed protection program



Most Effective Outdoor Watering Practices

Did you know that you can help protect San Diego’s watersheds and water quality by managing your outdoor watering practices?  Water that flows through our watersheds and into our storm drain system from natural rainfall or outdoor water use can pick up pollutants like nutrients, bacteria, and trash. The water that enters the stormwater system is not treated before it ultimately reaches our local bodies of water, which can contaminate San Diego’s waterways, harm aquatic life and human health, and interfere with recreational water activities.

One way to prevent pollutants from entering the storm drain system and local waterways is to avoid unnecessary outdoor water use. Not only will you be protecting the quality of our streams, lakes, and ocean, you’ll also be conserving water, which is especially important during droughts and for adhering to California’s water restrictions.

There are many easy things that we can each do to help keep our waterways clean and conserve water:

  • Do not allow water from outdoor landscapes or unnecessary water use to run off from your property.
    • Adjust sprinklers so they don’t spray onto streets, driveways, and sidewalks.
    • Check after you mow for broken or misaligned sprinklers and repair any you find.
    • Water in short cycles to allow water to absorb into the soil; water in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler outside.
    • When washing vehicles, use an automatic shut-off nozzle. Better yet, take your car to a commercial car wash so that the wash water is captured and recycled.
    • Do not water landscapes during or within 48 hours after a measurable rainfall event.
  • Learn how much water your lawn actually needs by observing an entire watering cycle or consulting a free online watering calculator. Visit and to learn more.
  • Replace turf with drought-tolerant or native plants to reduce watering needs. For more ideas, check out the Sustainable Landscape Guidelines.

Your local Water District is a great resource for information on efficient water use. See the County’s Water District flyer to find your Water District and learn more.

For more information about how San Diego County is preventing pollution in our waterways and watersheds, please visit us at

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Report Stormwater Pollution
Report observed pollution to the correct jurisdiction.

Citizen Access Portal
Research property information and permits. Apply for some permits online.

GIS Maps
Find property information including zoning designation with our web-based mapping tool. 

Watershed Protection Website


New Project Clean Water

Project Clean Water efforts are focused on providing a centralized point of access to water quality information and resources for San Diego County Watersheds. Click HERE to visit Project Clean Water’s website. 

To learn more about the County of San Diego - Watershed Protection Program, please visit