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San Diego County businesses have special opportunities to help the region conserve water through the adoption of water-efficient practices indoors and outdoors during what is shaping up to be a fourth consecutive dry year. Those upgrades can boost the bottom line and demonstrate the business’ dedication to the efficient use of natural resources.

After record-setting heat in 2014, California’s snowpack remains meager and the San Diego region’s largest imported water supplier -- the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California -- may decide to implement water supply cutbacks in April. Cutbacks, if adopted, would take effect July 1.

Two decades of investments by the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies in water supply reliability will reduce the impact of any allocations by MWD by about half. Those investments -- made with the support of the region’s business community -- include independent Colorado River water transfers and the Carlsbad Desalination Project, which is expected to start producing up to 50 million gallons a day of drinking water this fall.

While the region has spent decades preparing for dry times, conservation remains a key element of coping with drought. That means everyone, from homeowners and shopkeepers to manufacturers and farmers, must do their part to save water. The Water Authority and its partners offer a number of programs specially designed to help businesses achieve water savings through on-site assessments, device retrofits and water-efficient landscaping.

Several programs are at www.BeWaterWise.com:

*Landscape irrigation surveys
Provides free irrigation surveys that show whether landscapes are using more water than they should.

*Water savings incentive program
Provides incentives based on the amount of water saved through the installation of commercial or industrial high-efficiency equipment; industrial process improvements; agricultural and landscape water efficiency improvements; and water management services.

*On-site retrofit pilot program
Provides financial incentives for public and private property owners to convert potable irrigation or industrial systems to recycled water.

Other programs are at www.socalwatersmart.com:

*WaterSmart turf removal program
Provides rebates of $2 per square foot of turf removed and replaced with water-efficient landscaping options more suited to the regions semi-arid climate.

*Rebates on water-saving technologies
High-efficiency toilets and urinals ($100 to $200 depending on device); air-cooled ice machines ($1,000); cooling tower and pH conductivity controllers ($635 to $1,750); weather-based irrigation controllers ($35/station); rotating spray and high-efficiency large rotary nozzles retrofits (varies).

If you have additional questions about these programs, send an email to sdcwa@sdcwa.org. For more information about water supply and demand in San Diego County, along with additional water-saving resources, go to www.whenindrought.org.

-Submitted by the San Diego County Water Authority.

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