Gift of Sparkling Waterways

county of san diego watershed protection program


Sparkling Water

Sparkling Waterways…The Gift that Keeps on Giving!

As we prepare for the holidays, we naturally think of festivities, gathering with friends and family, along with gift-giving and receiving! Many of the gifts we exchange are short-term in nature, but one gift can last a lifetime and beyond – the gift of our beautiful San Diego waterways!

Preserving our waterways now and for future generations begins with simple actions we can take to prevent stormwater pollution. Pollutants such as yard clippings, trash, pet waste, and other chemicals, can be carried to storm drains and end up untreated in our waterways and ocean. Follow these helpful tips and links to protect our sparkling waterways for years to come!

  • Lawn Care /Irrigation Management –Chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens can enter our storm drains and pollute our watersheds and waterways. When applying fertilizers or pesticides, use only the recommended amount, and avoid using them when it is windy or within 48 hours of a forecasted rain event. Use least-toxic pesticide alternatives or Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which focuses on the long-term prevention of pests through a combination of techniques. Yard clippings and leaves can wash into storm drains and be a source of nutrient pollution which can be harmful to aquatic life and human health. Sweep or rake up yard debris and place it in your green waste bin with a secured cover. Prevent overwatering your lawn and garden by watering in the early morning and in shorter cycles to allow water to absorb into the soil. Repair broken sprinklers and adjust sprinkler heads so they don’t spray onto the sidewalk or streets.
  • Trash/Pet Waste – If trash or pet waste enters our waterways they can contaminate aquatic habitats, create water flow problems that lead to flooding and erosion, and introduce harmful bacteria. Always pick up after your pet and properly dispose of both trash and pet waste in a trash bin with a secure lid. To further prevent waste from reaching our waterways, remember to reduce, reuse, or recycle products whenever possible.  Follow the County of San Diego’s Organic Waste Recycling Program guidelines to help manage food waste, just in time for the holiday season! Learn more by attending various waste reduction events throughout the County and by visiting the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation waste reduction webpage.
  • Automobile Maintenance – If not done properly, washing your car or performing other automobile maintenance at home can lead to soaps, oils, and other contaminants reaching the storm drain system. To prevent this, use a commercial car wash that treats or recycles its wastewater, or wash your car on permeable surfaces like a lawn, gravel, or pavers, so that the water can soak into the ground rather than run off. Repair leaks and dispose of used automobile fluids at your local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) drop-off facility.

Happy Holidays to all of our San Diego County residents! Thank you for the work you do throughout the year to help prevent water pollution and preserve the beauty and quality of our waterways for years to come. For more information on the most common pollutants affecting the San Diego area specifically, check out Project Clean Water’s article on 8 Common Pollutants in San Diego and How You Can Help, and the County’s Watershed Protection Program webpage.

Beach and Happy Holidays


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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