Irrigation Runoff

Preventing irrigation runoff helps conserve water and protect our waterways from pollution!

Irrigation Runoff

Did You Know?

  • That even when water restrictions are lifted, irrigation runoff is still prohibited by the State, local agencies, and water districts.
  • Irrigation runoff is defined as the discharge of irrigation water to the storm drain system.
  • The storm drain system includes gutters, streets, storm drains and culverts, etc.
  • Irrigation water from your yard drain is also prohibited from entering the storm drain system. 


Irrigation runoff can pick up pollutants that accumulate on the ground like dirt, bacteria, trash, and motor oil, and may send it into the nearest storm drain. Eventually, bacteria and other pollutants in the storm drain system could enter our creeks and beaches untreated. 

Tips For Reducing Runoff:

  • Adjust sprinklers so they don’t spray onto streets and sidewalks
  • Repair leaking or broken sprinklers
  • Water in short cycles (3-5 minutes) to allow water to absorb into the soil
  • Water in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler outside
  • Temporarily cover your yard drain with a bowl or mat when watering
  • Replace thirsty landscapes with drought-tolerant or native plants 

Ongoing Efforts to Reduce Irrigation Runoff:

  • County of San Diego conducts regular surveys of irrigated areas
  • Coordination with water districts to support water conservation
  • Enhanced outreach on reducing irrigation runoff per the Water Quality Improvement Plan strategies
  • For information on available incentives and rebates, visit


Resources & Outreach:


If you would like to report an irrigation runoff concern, have questions about our program, or would like additional information call the County Stormwater hotline at:

1(888) 846-0800

or e-mail us at