Key Terms

Storm Drain – Water that is not soaked into the ground becomes surface runoff. Surface runoff especially in an urban area is an environmental concern. Pollutants such as motor oils, pet waste, trash, and sediment pollute local creeks and streams via the storm drain system.

Sewer System – The sanitary sewer system treats wastewater from sinks, showers, and toilets but does not drain storm water or runoff.

To report pollution or water waste violations use Report It! or call Public Works 760-839-4668.

The Storm Water Program administers and enforces storm water policies and regulations in a statewide effort to reduce pollutants in urban storm water runoff and protect natural water bodies. The City of Escondido implements water quality improvement and runoff management programs in compliance with the Regional Water Quality Control Board's Order No. R9-2017-0077 (MS4 Permit) issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB).

The City enforces the Escondido Municipal Code (Chapter 22 article 2, Chapter 33 article 55) in accordance with the MS4 Permit, implements a Jurisdictional Runoff Management Program, and collaborates with other jurisdictions to implement and update Water Quality Improvement Plans on a watershed basis.

The program describes the City's approach to improve water quality in local waterways. The City has implemented and updated Runoff Management Programs since municipal storm water requirements began in the early 2000s. The JRMP is an update to previous plans incorporating new requirements of the MS4 Permit or adaptations of programs. The JRMP was most recently updated in January 2022.  

The City's Environmental Programs Division works with a number of City Departments to manage and report on programs that detect and eliminate non-storm water discharges and reduce sources of pollutants in storm water runoff. Programs include: Construction Site Operations, Development Planning, Industrial and Commercial Facilities, Municipal infrastructure and Facility Inspection and Maintenance, Residential Inspection, Education and Public Participation, and Stream Restoration and Rehabilitation.

City of Escondido Jurisdictional Runoff Management Program (JRMP) 

*Data presented reflect geographic information available at the time of map creation. Data in the files provided may have been modified since that time. This geographic data should be used for general information purposes only. The dimensions and alignments of boundaries of mapping units in these files are approximations, and should not be considered authoritative or sufficient for determining the location or extent of the subject mapped features 

A WQIP has been developed for each of the City's urbanized watersheds, the Carlsbad and San Dieguito watersheds, through coordination with other cities and a public consultation panel that include stakeholders from business, environmental, and regulatory communities. WQIPs describes goals, strategies, and schedules to improve water quality and describes the process the City takes to measure these improvements. The plans are adapted as we continually learn more about what works in improving water quality.

Notification, updates, and opportunities for public comment on WQIPs, including Annual Reports and GIS data, are posted on Project Clean Water, a regional clearinghouse for water quality information. The City of Escondido is party to the WQIPs developed for the Carlsbad and San Dieguito Watershed Management Areas (WMAs). This map shows the City and watershed boundaries; Carlsbad Watershed includes Escondido, Reidy, and San Marcos Creeks, and the San Dieguito Watershed includes Felicita and Kit Carson Creeks draining to Lake Hodges.

What is a watershed?

Everyone lives in a watershed. In part, a watershed describes the movement of water from inland and to the sea. Water that runs off as rainwater sheds from a point upstream and into a nearby river or stream. The river or stream continues to travel downstream and ultimately discharges into the ocean. The boundaries of a watershed are defined by ridges and hills and cross political boundaries. Watersheds include all plants, animals, and man-made objects within its boundaries. It is a living watershed.

Channel Maintenance - Wetland Permits

The City's Public Works Department maintains a drainage network of pipes and open channels which allow storm water to flow from streets and neighborhoods to creeks, lakes, and lagoons. Maintenance activities prevent area flooding and use heavy equipment to remove vegetation, sediment, and debris from earthen and concrete-lined channels, some of which contain flowing water year-round.

In August 2015, the three regulatory agencies; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regional Water Quality Control Board, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a five-year Regional General Permit to the City to allow regular work in 63 earthen and concrete channels, including the entire 6.3-mile-long Escondido Creek flood control channel. The City maintains a map and list of all currently permitted maintenance facilities. Since 2015, 11,226 cubic yards of silt, vegetation, and trash debris has been removed from open channels. The City is working on renewing the permit to continue to allow maintenance and add select facilities not included in the initial permit.

Utilities/Environmental Programs works closely with Public Works staff to ensure City compliance with State and Federal regulations, including the Clean Water Act (Sections 401 and 404) and Endangered Species Act. Due to the sensitive nature of the project there are many permit conditions in place, including a biological monitor who surveys the site before and during the work to monitor potential impacts to water quality and nesting or endangered birds. Annual Reporting and maintenance of a wetland mitigation area in Kit Carson Park are also required.

Hydrology and Hydraulic Studies

Local studies of Escondido's creeks have been conducted to understand where water quality can be enhanced.


Water Quality Issues