About Us

Think Blue San Diego

Think Blue San Diego – the City’s Stormwater Department – works in all weather conditions to build, maintain and modernize efficient stormwater infrastructure that lays the foundation for safe, sustainable and thriving communities. Part of that job is educating the public on the need for significant investments to upgrade the stormwater system to ensure clean water and clean beaches for all of us.

Stormwater Goals

Think Blue works to achieve the following goals to improve San Diego’s quality of life and create more resilient and sustainable communities.

Improve & Protect Water Quality

Stormwater runoff enters storm drains UNTREATED, and that runoff collects pollutants from properties and streets and carries them into local waterways. The City’s Stormwater Department helps protect our local waterways from that pollution through actions like street sweeping, inspections and water-quality monitoring.

Safeguard Neighborhoods from Flooding

Did you know that the City’s massive stormwater system is designed to reduce the risk of flooding in our neighborhoods? It takes regular, proactive maintenance – such as clearing channels of trash and debris and inspecting and cleaning pipes – to keep runoff flowing to local waterways and ensure public safety.

Modernize Stormwater Infrastructure

The City of San Diego’s stormwater system consists of over 47,000 infrastructure assets – storm drains, pipes, channels, levees and pump stations. The system has been repeatedly modernized over the past century as the city’s population swelled and today needs $1.2 billion in upgrades to serve future generations.

Prioritize Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure systems help bolster the City’s capacity to manage stormwater and achieve environmental benefits. Green infrastructure – which filters and absorbs stormwater where it falls – can be woven into a community at varying scales, from a rain barrel against a house to a row of trees along a major street.

Revitalize Our Waterways

The City of San Diego’s population growth over time has resulted in increased pollution that puts our local waterways in distress. Restoring and revitalizing those waterways by implementing the best science and technology available will reduce the impacts of pollution, urbanization and a changing climate.

Capture Stormwater for Reuse

Stormwater reuse, also known as harvesting, is the collection and storage of stormwater for its eventual reuse. This is a growing practice in the United States as a way to address rising water demands as population rises because it helps bolster local water supply.

Stormwater Pollution

Rainfall that enters storm drains is NOT TREATED, and that runoff collects pollutants from properties and streets and carries them into local waterways. Stormwater is a leading contributor to pollution in streams, rivers and ocean across the globe. Most people think all stormwater is rainfall, but it also includes dry weather flows on days without precipitation. Because stormwater contains pollutants from many different sources, decreasing pollution from stormwater runoff is a challenging task. An important step in protecting waterways from stormwater pollution is understanding our watersheds, the stormwater system and how it all affects water quality.

Did You Know?

The City’s stormwater system is made up of


miles of pipe,


storm drains and outfalls,


pump stations and


miles of channels spread throughout the City.

The City’s fleet of sweepers routinely cover


miles of streets, removing


tons of trash a year. That pollution the equivalent of preventing a Boeing 757 aircraft from entering storm drains.

Stormwater inspection and enforcement teams work hard to enforce water quality standards. Teams performed


construction site inspections annually and investigated and eliminated


dry weather flows.

Benefits of Clean Stormwater

  • Improves Water Quality: Safe, clean water is essential for the health of our residents, visitors and environment.
  • Creates Flood-safe Communities: Protects neighborhoods from flooding and property damage.
  • Restores/Revitalizes Natural Spaces: Helps protect and preserve San Diego’s most precious natural resources.
  • Bolsters Water Supply: Stormwater is a valuable and untapped resource that can be harvested for local use.
  • Strengthens the City: Creates more sustainable, resilient and vibrant neighborhoods.
  • Brings Community Together: Local partners and community leaders work together to ensure clean water and clean beaches.