San Diego Foundation Awards $364,000 to Six Agencies to Assist with Diminishing Water Supplies

By on October 12, 2019

Six nonprofit agency programs will share in $364,000 in 2019 grants from The San Diego Foundation (TSDF) to increase equity and strengthen regional resilience as it relates to diminishing water supplies due to the impacts of climate change. Since 2015, The San Diego Foundation Climate Initiative has partnered with the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to engage local stakeholders at the intersections between water, climate, agriculture, equity, land use and housing.

“As climate change increasingly impacts our daily lives and threatens the region’s access to water and its infrastructure, these grant projects will help ensure that the communities most impacted by global warming have the knowledge and tools to protect their quality of life,” explained Lydia Van Note, director of Environmental Initiatives at The San Diego Foundation. “By investing in capacity building and community-driven efforts, The San Diego Foundation Climate Initiative is empowering all San Diegans to take action and work toward solutions that mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

By engaging local stakeholders, The San Diego Foundation has leveraged more than $1 million in grant support in the past four years to spur innovative public-private partnerships that prepare cities for climate change and help protect San Diego’s water resources amid a drought-prone future. The current grants are the third phase of funding through the Bechtel-TSDF partnership, which heavily focuses on the intersection of climate, water and equity.

While working to ensure San Diego County is prepared for the impacts of climate change, The San Diego Foundation Climate Initiative is focused on the adoption of comprehensive, science-based climate action plans, the advancement of climate resilient strategies, facilitating public awareness and civic engagement, and by supporting strategic initiatives that will help the region meet its climate goals.

The future water demands in San Diego County are projected to be significant. As outlined in The San Diego Foundation’s Economic Resilience: Water report, local demand for water in San Diego is expected to increase by 46 percent by 2035. The San Diego Foundation is helping to prepare for this future by building public awareness and investing in programs and solutions to increase water conservation and reuse, particularly among the region’s most vulnerable communities.

Findings from the San Diego, 2050 is Calling. How Will We Answer? Report were also considered in determining the 2019 TSDF grants. These challenges include: the impacts of climate change with the adoption of comprehensive, science-based climate action plans; the advancement of climate resilient strategies, by facilitating public awareness and civic engagement; and, by supporting strategic initiatives that will help the region meet its climate goals.

The six nonprofit programs receiving TSDF 2019 grants include:

San Diego Coastkeeper – $100,000

Achieving Climate-Smart Integrated Water Management and Storm Water Funding in San Diego

This project will help San Diego Coastkeeper build its relationships with the City of San Diego to expand its strategic community engagement, education and outreach efforts, ultimately increasing the likelihood of a successful stormwater funding initiative in the future.


Climate Science Alliance (CSA) — via California State Wildlife Foundation – $74,000

Climate and Water Resilience for Natural and Human Communities

The grant will support CSA’s work with local Native American Tribes to build capacity and knowledge within the Tribal Work Group, and will advance resilience planning and strategies in a region often vulnerable to heat, drought and flash flooding. The grant will also support CSA’s Climate Kids Program, which offers youth education on climate change through immersive science activities, storytelling and art.


Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek – $50,000

Climate Resilience in the Chollas Creek Watershed: A Public/Private Collaborative

The Chollas Creek Watershed is a system of creeks and canyons in an urbanized, low-income part of the city of San Diego that drains into San Diego Bay. As part of this project, Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek will engage with stakeholders and residents along the watershed to develop strategies and policies that address watershed maintenance, stormwater control and integrated water management planning in the region.


Center on Policy Initiatives – $50,000

Thirst for Water Equity: A Snapshot of San Diego County Water Boards

In San Diego County, demand for water is increasing even while supply diminishes. This project will assess community engagement efforts by water boards in San Diego County by evaluating racial, gender and socioeconomic diversity among elected and appointed board members and making recommendations to enhance the diversity of voices included in future water decisions in order to better support all San Diego communities.


Borrego Valley Stewardship Council (via Borrego Valley Endowment Fund, Inc.) – $50,000

Capacity Building for Collaborative Governance and Community Resilience through Integrated Master Planning

The community of Borrego Springs relies completely on groundwater pumped from the desert aquifer, which has been declining for decades due to over-pumping and officials have determined the basin is in “critical overdraft” under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. In compliance with the Act, the Borrego Springs community to reduce pumping by 75 percent over the next 20 years. TSDF grant will help the Borrego Valley Stewardship Council develop a community-driven, ecosystem-based, watershed management plan that will help the community become more climate resilient.


University of San Diego, San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative (SDRCC) – $45,000

Advancing Climate-Smart Water Strategies

In the past year SDRCC has invested resources in advancing key programmatic areas around energy efficiency and water to support mitigation and adaptation solutions. This project will allow SDRCC to help regional community leaders understand how equity can be considered in planning and implementation around water.