Water Efficiency

The Water Efficiency strategy of the City’s Climate Action Plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging the community to conserve water in their homes and businesses. Clean water is an essential but limited resource that is expected to be strained even further through projected drought conditions in a changing climate. We can reduce GHGs and enhance our resilience by ensuring we all use water in the most efficient way possible.

Implementation of water conservation measures is estimated to reduce GHG emissions by 712 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) by 2020 and 792 MTCO2e by 2030. Explore the sections below to learn about the City’s planned and ongoing actions to achieve these reductions.

Conserve Water

Reduce Water Use

The City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) set a goal of reducing water consumption in Encinitas by approximately 5 gallons per capita per day (GPCD) by 2020 and another 2,400 acre-feet by 2030.  This equates to a reduction of 258 million gallons by 2020 and 672 million gallons by 2030 from the CAP’s 2012 baseline. The energy used to treat and deliver water creates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Reducing water use thereby reduces energy use.

The City’s two water districts, San Dieguito Water District (SDWD) and Olivenhain Municipal Water District (OMWD), regularly conduct water rate studies and adjust rates based on the cost to supply water and the cost of operations. It is anticipated that future water rate structures will incentivize residents to reduce water use. Both water districts also offer various public education programs to encourage water conservation efforts.

Encinitans will need to cut water use by an average of five gallons per day to meet the CAP’s water reduction goals. For context, standard shower heads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute and older toilets use as much as 6 gallons per flush. To reduce water use, consider decreasing outdoor irrigation, taking shorter showers, or investing in WaterSense products, like low-flow shower heads and toilets.

We measure water consumption in gallons per capita per day (GPCD). This measurement represents the average water use per person in the City of Encinitas per year. It allows individuals to have a sense of how much water they may be using and allows water utilities to prepare for future water needs.
GPCDGallons Per Capita Per Day


Conserve Water

During the most recent drought, Encinitas was able to reduce water consumption by 20%. When we must cut back on water use, we do a great job! In 2019, average water use by SDWD customers was 123 GPCD, which is a reduction of 31 GPCD from 2012. For OMWD customers, the average use was 161 GPCD, which is a reduction of 36 GPCD compared to 2012 levels. A potential explanation for the higher GPCD for OMWD is the larger property size and higher water use in the Olivenhain area. OMWD’s service district also encompasses areas outside of the City of Encinitas.

Our water use has varied over the years, but overall, Encinitas residents tend to use more than the average American. According to the United States Geological Survey USGS, the national average water use was 83 GPCD in 2015. Encinitas’ higher water use could be a result of southern California’s dry climate and the increased need for landscape irrigation. In southern California, outdoor irrigation accounts for about two-thirds of water usage.

GPCD values include all water rate classes (residential, commercial, agricultural, etc.).

Water Consumption

Be a Part of the Solution

Below are a few helpful links to learn more about reducing your water use.

Save Water and $$$ with SoCal Water Smart Rebates

See Rebates
Plant Native & Drought Tolerant Landscaping

Sign Up for Classes
Reduce outdoor water use with weather-based irrigation controllers

See Rebates