Love For Your Waterways

county of san diego watershed protection program


Heart in the sand

Love Your Waterways!

Valentine’s Day is a great reminder to celebrate the people in your life who are special to you! You can also show your love for your waterways by becoming more aware of the many sources of water pollution in your community, and then taking action to prevent it.

Cigarette butts, food wrappers, and plastics (bottles, caps, and straws) are among the most visible and common pollutants found along beaches during organized beach cleanups. But there are also less obvious pollutants to the eye -- such as detergents and soaps, automobile fluids, and pesticides/fertilizers to name a few – that can flow undetected through our storm drain system that equally impact our waterways and can be harmful to aquatic life and human health.

Through runoff from rainfall or outdoor watering practices, pollutants flow from our homes and businesses into our storm drains. Water in storm drains is not treated before it flows (pollutants and all) through our watershed to our local waterways, and eventually into the ocean.

Loving our southern California waterways is easy, and so is playing a role at preserving the beauty of our creeks, rivers, lakes, and ocean with these simple actions:

  • Identify Little Known Pollutants: Did you know only 4% of residents in San Diego County identified soap and cleaners as a source of pollution on a recent public opinion survey? This pollutant, typically generated from washing cars on driveways, or improper disposal of carpet cleaning water, can break down the protective mucous layer on fish that they need to survive. Other important, but less identified pollutants include yard debris, irrigation runoff, and pet waste. Each of these can harm our waterways if left unchecked. You can find other sources of water pollution that most impact your community here.
  • Prevent Pollution: The County of San Diego has a wealth of handouts and videos to help you prevent various sources of pollution from impacting our communities and environment. Get started by preventing soaps, yard debris, irrigation runoff, and pet waste from entering the storm drain system!
  • Report: Be a steward of your environment and report pollution when you see it. Releasing pollutants directly or indirectly into the storm drain system is a violation of the County’s Watershed Protection Ordinance (WPO). Unincorporated residents of San Diego can report pollution on the County’s report pollution webpage; residents in other jurisdictions can report pollution through the Project Clean Water’s report pollution tool.
  • Pledge: Pledge to ‘Love Your Water’ by continuing to participate in the 52 Ways to Love Your Water Pledge highlighted in last month’s Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Happier Waterways! bulletin. The 52-Week Action Plan/Checklist includes some great ways to pledge your commitment to cleaner waterways.

Spread the love for your waterways this Valentine’s Day and throughout the year by signing up for the Watershed Protection Program’s Residential Stormwater e-mail list serve bulletin to receive monthly tips and resources involving water quality best management practices for your home. 

Heart in the sand at sunset


Find My District


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