The containers can collect water during showers, while doing dishes or rinsing produce, or used to boil pasta or steam vegetables, according to the water authority.
The collected water can then be used for plants, washing cars or windows, soaking dishes or even flushing toilets, SDCWA officials said.
California residents have been ordered to cut back water use by 25 percent over 2013 levels -- the result of a four-year-long drought. Local water agencies were assigned individual cutback targets by state water officials, ranging from 12 percent to 36 percent.
Pails will be given away Friday at the Del Mar Fair, from 10 a.m. until noon -- or while supplies last -- at the entrance to the Paul Ecke Jr. Flower & Garden Show.
They will be available at the water authority headquarters, 4677 Overland Ave. in Kearny Mesa, beginning Monday during regular business hours.
Additional giveaways are being planned through the summer.