It’s National Water Quality Month!

county of san diego watershed protection program


Water photo

It’s National Water Quality Month!

August is National Water Quality Month – a month that reminds us to appreciate our water resources! Not only do we need clean water in our daily lives, but we San Diego County residents who love to play at our beaches, lakes, or rivers, rely on it for our recreational activities too. In order to truly appreciate the quality of our water, it’s important to know where it comes from and the role pollutants play in contaminating our water resources.

Water Flow and Pollutants

The quality of our waterways depends largely on water flows through our watersheds. Watersheds are land areas that drain water to a common low point – usually the ocean. Water from rain (stormwater) or sprinklers and hoses (non-stormwater) that runs off our property can pick up common pollutants such as pet waste, trash and green waste, fertilizers and pesticides, and soil/sediment on its way to that common low point. These pollutants flow untreated through our storm drain system and ultimately drain to waterways within our watershed, eventually reaching the ocean.

Learn About Your Watershed

The County is home to 11 westward-draining watersheds. Find the watershed you live in by typing your address into the County’s interactive watershed map. Once you know what watershed you live in, read more about it and it’s specific pollutants of concern on the Watershed Specific Flyers or by visiting Project Clean Water, one of the County’s partners focused on improving water quality.       

Simple Actions to Protect Our Water Quality

Many factors contribute to the overall quality of our water. Runoff pollution is one of the key contributors to water pollution, but also one of the most manageable. By thinking about the little things we do on a daily basis, we’ll be one step closer to protecting the quality of our water. Follow these simple actions to prevent these pollutants from harming our county’s watersheds:

  • Nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous)
    • Use less fertilizer. Sweep up leaves and plant debris and dispose of them in a designated container.
  • Bacteria (found in pet waste and sewage)
    • Keep your yard free of pet waste. Carry bags when walking your pet and properly dispose of their waste in designated containers.
    • Maintain your private sewer laterals or septic system (pumping rebate available) and report sewage leaks or spills immediately to 1-858-565-5262. Properly dispose of RV sewage at a designated dump station.
  • Trash (including green/yard waste)
    • Throw all trash away in designated containers and keep the lids closed.
    • Visit to find out how to dispose of or recycle specific items.
  • Sediment (dirt and soil)
    • Sweep your driveway or porch instead of using a hose. Dispose of debris in a designated container
    • Use mulch or gravel in landscaped areas to prevent erosion and save water.

Celebrate National Water Quality Month all year long by learning about The ABCs of BMPs (Best Management Practices) and additional measures you can take to prevent pollutants from leaving your property in the first place.

San Diego Watershed Map


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




Learn more about available water quality rebates that you could apply to your property!

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