Protecting San Diego from Urban Runoff
Urban runoff isn’t just a coastal issue.It is one of the main reasons water bodies throughout San Diego County fail to meet minimum water quality standards. San Diego Coastkeeper works to reverse this trend in San Diego by fighting urban runoff, advocating for protective regulations, reducing development impacts and uniting citizens to help.
Fighting urban runoff in San Diego
San Diego Coastkeeper holds cities accountable for urban runoff—a completely man-made problem.
We investigate cities in San Diego County to see if they comply with San Diego’s municipal stormwater permit. We’ve already audited the cities of Escondido, San Marcos, and Chula Vista, and the Agua Hedionda Watershed including the cities of Carlsbad, Vista, Oceanside and San Marcos. We have other cities on our radar. Where necessary, we bring cities, agencies, and businesses that violate the law back in line with the stormwater permit’s requirements.
Please download our complete stormwater audits:
- Agua Hedionda Watershed including cities of Carlsbad, Vista, Oceanside and San Marcos, along with aspects of San Diego County's program
- Chula Vista
- San Marcos
Advocating for more protective urban runoff regulations
We advocate for more protective runoff regulations to help safeguard you. We played an important role in ensuring the Regional Board issued a strong stormwater permit for San Diego County, which led to beach advisories declining 75 percent since San Diego adopted its historic 2001 stormwater permit.
We also work with individual cities to help them adopt protective regulations and ordinances. For example, Coastkeeper helped the City of Encinitas, which formerly had no stormwater plan, to become a national leader in reducing and managing urban runoff. We also worked with the City of San Diego to pass an ordinance prohibiting residential irrigation runoff (you can report San Diego residents who overwater by using our anonymous online form).
Reducing development impacts through innovative design
We continue to work with Natural Resources Defense Council and expert scientist Dr. Richard Horner to advise the Regional Board on a science-based Hydromodification Management Plan. This means that the San Diego County stormwater permit requires the cities to work together to create a plan to deal with increases in runoff for certain development projects that are likely to negatively impact habitats or water quality due to amplified runoff.
We also work with cities and other agencies to implement low impact development strategies to manage the water quality of stormwater runoff and how much of it enters our ecosystems. Using site-based planning and design techniques, low impact development aims to reduce the amount of runoff by filtering, slowing, evaporating, and infiltrating surface water before it enters sensitive habitats.
You can help prevent urban runoff, too
Coastkeeper needs your help to clean up and reduce urban runoff. You can make simple changes at home to reduce urban runoff.
You can watch for and report stormwater violations in your neighborhood.
And you can volunteer for San Diego Coastkeeper’s water quality monitoring program to gather information to help identify and address pollution hot spots.