Sunday, July 31st, is Customer Appreciation Day!

Sunday, July 31st, is Customer Appreciation Day!

Don’t forget!  Sunday is Customer Appreciation Day at The Water Conservation Garden.
Drop by — the event runs from 9:00am to 4:00pm. We’ll have kid stuff, tours and expert landscaping advice. And, just about everything is free: parking, admission, giveaways and the first 300 Hawaiian Shaved Ice’s served between 11:00am and 2:00pm. Yeah! Free Hawaiian Shaved Ice.

The Schedule

9:30 & 11:30
Ms. Smarty-PlantsTM presentation on how to attract native butterflies
10:00 & 12:00
Docent-led garden tours
10:00 – 1:00 
Soils Q&A and Veggie Garden Open House
11:00 & 1:00  
Native Habitat Garden tour and talk with Clayton Tschudy,
Director of Horticulture & Exhibits

The Water Conservation Garden is at 12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West in El Cajon.

Where should California store water?

Where should California store water?

In 2014, California voters passed Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion water bond that earmarks $2.7 billion for water storage projects. The big question is whether or not to spend that money on new dams.

On the table in Sacramento are two new dams and the expansion of three existing reservoirs at a cost of $9 billion. Support for the projects comes primarily from Central Valley farmers and a small group of legislators who tried unsuccessfully to put a measure on the November 2016 ballot to fund the projects by diverting $8 billion from the state’s high speed rail project.

Those opposed to the projects cite the impact of new dam construction on ecosystems and, specifically, salmon. In California, Oregon and Washington, dams are coming down to restore spawning routes and dwindling salmon populations. Dam opponents also cite research from Stanford University that makes the case for focusing instead on developing California’s groundwater storage.

Yesterday, Stanford released its latest findings. The two earlier reports are also highly recommended.

July 21, 2016 / Stanford researchers reveal cost-effective path to drought resiliency

June 27, 2016 / Stanford scientists find ‘water windfall’ beneath California’s Central Valley

July 31, 2014 / Recharge: Groundwater’s Second Act – Water in the West

Photo: groundwater emerging from farmer’s pump in a Kern County orchard.(Circle of Blue)

The week ahead: corn sweat and flash drought

The week ahead: corn sweat and flash drought

Take a look at the map above. It shows what meteorologists are expecting this Friday, July 22nd: the beginning of a massive heat wave enveloping most of the United States in punishing 100-115 degree temperatures. If you’re from the Midwest, then you know it won’t be a dry heat. When it gets this hot, the moisture is pulled out of the plants and soil, increasing humidity levels, public health concerns, and the risk of a phenomenon meteorologists are just beginning to understand — flash drought.

Read the story on wunderground.com

Fine tune your irrigation this summer

Fine tune your irrigation this summer

You’ll save money and see better results.

Do you know anyone that still hand waters their landscaping? Life is busy these days, so most of us rely on the convenience of automatic sprinkler systems to keep our yards looking nice. But convenient doesn’t always equal efficient. We have all seen sprinklers watering grass during a downpour or flooding a sidewalk.

Like everything, automatic irrigation systems need attention to work their best. To find out how to get the most out of your automatic sprinkler system, join us this July for the Irrigation Association’s Smart Irrigation Month and take the following steps this month and every month to keep your plants healthy and your water bill low.

  • Get your own custom watering schedule. Use this landscape watering calculator (link) so that your watering times are in sync with the season. The calculator will create separate watering schedules for your high, moderate and low water use plants based on the type of sprinkler and the type of soil you have.
  • Water at the right time of day. Watering when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cooler minimizes evaporation by as much as 30 percent. The best times to water are late afternoon, evening and just before sunrise.
  • Water more often for shorter periods. Setting your system to run for three, 5-minute intervals lets soil absorb more water than watering for 15 minutes at one time.
  • Water only when needed. Saturate root zones and then let the soil dry. Overwatering results in shallow roots and encourages weeds, disease and fungus growth.
  • Inspect your irrigation system monthly. Check for leaks, broken or clogged heads and other problems. Check and clean your drip and micro-irrigation filters, too.
  • Adjust sprinkler heads. Remove obstructions that prevent sprinklers from distributing water evenly and make sure you’re watering plants, not sidewalks or buildings.
  • Install drip irrigation in plant beds. If you have overhead sprinklers in your plant beds, replace one of the sprinkler nozzles with a drip irrigation adapter, and replace the other sprinkler nozzles with caps. Then connect dripline to your adapter and position it in the bed so that each plant gets water, and cover with mulch to prevent evaporation. That’s how easy it is to install drip irrigation.
  • Install an inexpensive rain shutoff switch. These money-saving sensors prevent watering in rainy weather and can be retrofitted to almost any irrigation system.
  • Consider “smart” technology. If you’re ready for a new irrigation controller, buy one that automatically adjusts the watering schedule based on climate and weather conditions or based on soil moisture levels.

Want some help?

Contact our conservation staff to schedule a free irrigation survey. And don’t forget to take advantage of rebates available for select irrigation components!

The first 300 of these are FREE!

The first 300 of these are FREE!

Helix Customer
Appreciation Day

Sunday, July 31, 9am-4pm
@ The Water Conservation Garden

It has been a tough year, and we would like to say thank you.
So if you’re looking for something fun for your kids, some expert landscaping advice, or somewhere beautiful, drop by The Water Conservation Garden on Sunday, July 31st for Customer Appreciation Day.

For Everyone

  • Free parking & admission
  • Hawaiian Shave Ice 11am-2pm: first 300 are FREE!
  • Giveaways
  • Gift shop discounts

For Kids

  • Balloon animals
  • The Butterfly Pavilion
  • Ms. Smarty-PlantsTM

9:30 & 11:30
Ms. Smarty-PlantsTM presentation on how to attract native butterflies
10:00 & 12:00
Docent-led garden tours
10:00 – 1:00 
Soils Q&A and Veggie Garden Open House
11:00 & 1:00  
Native Habitat Garden tour and talk with Clayton Tschudy,
Director of Horticulture & Exhibits

Location
The Water Conservation Garden is located at 12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West in El Cajon. Hope to see you there!

There’s more to drought-proofing than water mandates

There’s more to drought-proofing than water mandates

Mark Weston, Chairman of the Board at the San Diego County Water Authority and Helix’s former general manager, responded today to criticism of the regional drought management approach adopted by the Authority and its member agencies. Weston maintains that the San Diego region’s long-term investment in water conservation and new water supplies is more effective than short-term water restrictions.

Read the Voice of San Diego editorial

Photo: Carlsbad Desalination Plant

Stanford scientists find new water supply

Stanford scientists find new water supply

Scientists at Stanford University announced last week that the amount of usable groundwater under California’s Central Valley is almost triple the State of California’s estimates.

Groundwater provides about 35 percent of California’s water supply, and is a critical resource for agriculture when drought impacts the state’s annual snowpack, rivers and reservoirs.

The scientists used fracking data, from 938 oil and gas pools and over 35,000 oil and gas wells in eight counties, to study geological formations 1,000 to 3,000 feet below ground. They found a new water supply, and reason for concern.

Read more

July 5-6: Water is Life Poster Exhibit at Helix

July 5-6: Water is Life Poster Exhibit at Helix

Drop by Helix’s Administration Office on Tuesday or Wednesday this week to see the best of the posters drawn by students throughout Southern California for Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s 2016 Water is Life Poster Contest.  They’re good! You’ll also see the poster drawn by local student, James Gonzalez (shown above).

The poster exhibit is touring Southern California water agencies and the posters appear in Metropolitan’s 2016 Water is Life Calendar.  Helix’s Administration Office is located at 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa, and we’re open from 8:30am to 5:00pm.

 

You know that fleece jacket you love?

You know that fleece jacket you love?

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have been washing fleece jackets — which does not sound like good use of our tax dollars. However, on June 20th, they announced that, on average, synthetic fleece jackets release 1.7 grams of microfibers each wash. This is big, because it relates to a 2011 study that found that synthetic microfibers make up more than 85 percent of all human-made trash on shorelines worldwide, and that the fibers are killing freshwater and ocean fish.

Read the story in The Guardian