A landscape professional
An example of sustainable landscaping. Photo credit: Courtesy, San Diego County Water Authority

The San Diego County Water Authority was awarded $3.3 million Thursday by the state’s Department of Water Resources for installation of high-efficiency toilets and smart irrigation controllers.

The funding is part of $46 million in grants the department awarded nine projects in six counties. The Urban Community Drought Relief Grant program is intended to “address drought impacts in California’s communities while furthering water conservation,” a statement from the agency reads.

According to the state, the San Diego County projects are expected to provide 1,323 acre-feet in water savings per year and transform up to 333,420 acres to more water-efficient landscapes.

While recent storms have improved conditions and helped fill many of the state’s reservoirs to average or above-average levels, California may see a return to dry conditions in the months ahead. Much of the state continues to experience drought impacts following the three driest years on record.

“California is facing the real-time impacts of a changing climate, as evidenced by our state’s historic drought and recent flood emergency,” said director Karla Nemeth. “Preparing for a future impacted by climate change not only means supporting new water supply efforts, but also strategies that capture excess flows during extreme wet events.

The funding, with $28 million to be directed to underrepresented communities, “will help strengthen water supply reliability across the state by supporting recycled water and groundwater recharge infrastructure while promoting wise water use” Nemeth said.

The second phase of awards will be announced in the spring.

City News Service