Our Water Our World

The purpose of the Our Water, Our World (OWOW) program is to raise awareness of the connection between pesticide use and water quality and provide information to consumers at the point-of-purchase about integrated pest management (IPM) and less-toxic alternatives that are not causing water quality problems.  

The Our Water - Our World program began in 1997 by Central Contra Costa Sanitary District in cooperation with the Regional Water Quality Control Plant in Palo Alto, CA and grant support from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the National Foundation for Integrated Pest Management Education (USEPA funding). The pilot project was implemented in various nurseries and other retail outlets in Contra Costa County, the city of Palo Alto and Marin County in 1998. In Spring 1999, the program became a collaboration among regional and local water agencies in San Francisco Bay area counties. In Spring 2004, with funding from the State Water Resources Control Board, the program was expanded to include additional California communities. And again in 2005, with funding from NFIPME / USEPA, the program expanded statewide, including the addition of all Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) stores (over 80) throughout California. 

The OWOW program now provides 30 fact sheets (all translated in Spanish) that offer less-toxic pest management tips for specific pests. These fact sheets are placed in retail nursery and hardware stores that sell pesticides to the public. ‘Shelf-talkers’ (shelf tags) are also placed below selected products on store shelves to make it easier for the public to identify safer alternatives to conventional pesticides. In addition, community outreach / educational events are held in the stores to promote the availability of less toxic methods and products. Training of store personnel is given and consists of principles of IPM and successful application strategies and sales techniques for less toxic products. To learn more about the program, the following items are available:

Technical reports relating to pesticides and water quality are available online.