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New and Improved ‘Think Blue San Diego’ Launches to Highlight Importance of Stormwater System to Our Quality of Life

To raise public awareness about how a modern stormwater system helps ensure clean water and clean beaches for future generations, the City of San Diego is relaunching the new and improved Think Blue San Diego – the public education and outreach arm of the Stormwater Department – with a series of events this week and a call to action for all San Diegans to “Think Blue.” 

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Think Blue is urging San Diegans to show love for clean water and clean beaches this Valentine’s Day weekend by taking at least 30 minutes to remove trash and debris in your neighborhood.  

“One of main reasons so many people love to live in San Diego – and why millions come to visit each year – is our breathtaking environment,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “To keep our city clean and beautiful, we’re calling on San Diegans this Valentine’s Day weekend to show their love for San Diego by picking up trash around their homes or businesses. Taking just a few minutes to ‘Think Blue’ will help preserve and protect what makes San Diego so special.” 

The Think Blue reboot began this week with updated educational materials and a series of community events. It culminates Monday, Feb. 14, with the launch of a new marketing and advertising effort intended to educate San Diegans about how they can do their part to improve water quality and prevent stormwater pollution. There are many ways to get involved. 

Visit the new and improved Think Blue San Diego website is now live! The website includes detailed information on how the stormwater system works, and the need for about $6.7 billion in upgrades over the next 20 years to modernize the system to ensure clean water and clean beaches for future generations. Don’t miss the website’s new data visualization tool highlighting Fiscal Year 2021 information collected by the Stormwater Department in the Data & Maps section. 

Volunteer at the Hollywood Canyon Cleanup in City Heights 

Think Blue and its community partners, I Love A Clean San Diego and San Diego Canyonlands, will hold a two-hour litter cleanup event starting at 3 p.m. on Thursday in City Heights.

Learn more about Think Blue at San Diego Gulls game  

City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell and Think Blue will be featured during the game’s Community Spotlight segment to encourage everyone to Think Blue. A Think Blue information booth will be at Sports Arena before and during Friday’s 7 p.m. game with free metal straws for those willing to take a brief survey. 

Review the new Think Blue educational video on the City’s YouTube  

The video highlights daily actions that every San Diegan can take to improve water quality and prevent pollution from entering storm drains, from picking up pet waste to stopping over-irrigation of their lawns. The video will debut in Community Spotlight during Gulls game. 

Cupid’s Cleanup in Point Loma 

Think Blue and I Love A Clean San Diego will partner for this special Valentine’s Day weekend cleanup on Saturday morning to remove trash from the San Diego River Watershed. Registration is full. 

Engage in a free webinar on rebate opportunities  

Think Blue and I Love a Clean San Diego held an hourlong webinar on Tuesday with easy tips for water conservation and an overview of the free money-saving rebates the City offers for rain barrels, rain gutters, graywater systems, and more. The recorded session is now available for viewing here for those who missed it. 

Keep an eye on Think Blue across TV, radio, print and social media  

A new public outreach and education advertising push for Think Blue will begin to roll out on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. The goal is to help raise public awareness that pollution is threatening our quality of life and the need for a strong stormwater system to ensure clean water and clean beaches for future generations. 

“Every San Diegan agrees that clean water and clean beaches are vital to our health and our community’s health,” said Council President Sean Elo-Rivera. “Ensuring we do our part to address the causes of pollution in our neighborhoods that go to our streams, rivers and ultimately the ocean means properly disposing of our trash and yard waste, not overwatering our lawns and, for pet owners like me, picking up our pet waste. These small efforts can make a big impact in keeping our water and beaches clean and enjoyable for everyone.” 

San Diego is defined by the natural beauty of its beaches and coastal waters, and keeping those precious resources clean, safe and healthy is the Stormwater Department’s mission. That mission gets more difficult each year as the costs soar to upgrade and modernize the City’s massive storm drain system. 

While much of that system is hidden underground, obscured from public view, it is essential to the health, safety and quality of life of San Diegans. This complex network of pipes, drains and other critical infrastructure work together to help protect our environment and communities from pollution and flooding. 

The City first introduced Think Blue two decades ago as an awareness campaign to prevent stormwater pollution featuring a yellow rubber duck mascot. Advertisements ran on local television and in movie theaters for many years before the City stopped funding Think Blue about a decade ago, and it has remained largely dormant since. 

The Think Blue relaunch comes at a critical time as public awareness of stormwater issues has eroded over the past decade. In 2011, a survey showed 43% of San Diegans know that stormwater goes directly to local waterways untreated, but that fell to 26% in a survey conducted last year. 

“Stormwater infrastructure is largely out of sight and out of mind compared to more visible infrastructure like street repairs and park improvements,” said Ian Monahan, Director of Communications at I Love A Clean San Diego. “This new Think Blue movement will help bolster the work we do year-round to educate San Diegans about the importance of stormwater in our daily lives, and highlight the significant upgrades needed for our aging storm drain system to create a cleaner San Diego now and for future generations.”  

To learn more about Think Blue San Diego and how to implement a Think Blue mindset, go to