SOURCE: Save Our Water

Save Our Water

April 19, 2013 18:45 ET

Earth Day Is a Great Time to Save Water Outdoors

Southern California Homeowners Lead the Way With Beautiful Water-Wise Landscapes

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwired - Apr 19, 2013) - What better way to celebrate Earth Day this year than to save water outdoors? Monday, April 22 marks the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day, a day when people around the world celebrate environmental citizenship. Save Our Water, a statewide water conservation education program, invites Californians to mark Earth Day 2013 by taking steps to save water outdoors.

Despite an extremely wet December, California's winter ultimately turned out to be one of the driest on record. At the end of March (the latest snow survey), the snow pack was only 52 percent of the historical average. This forced state water officials to reduce the amount of water that the State Water Project provides to local water agencies -- water agencies that serve the needs of 25 million people and nearly one million acres of agricultural land. Federal water officials are also making sharp cutbacks in their water deliveries.

The Save Our Water program, which was created by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) in 2009, educates consumers on ways to reduce their household water use. Outdoor water use is a major focus of the program since, in many areas, 50 percent or more of residential water use goes to lawns and outdoor landscaping. Program leaders are calling on consumers to take steps this Earth Day to reduce outdoor water use by picking California-friendly plants, converting to water-efficient irrigation systems and/or investing in a "smart" controller for their sprinklers.

"After this dry winter, we are concerned about this year's water supply," said DWR director Mark Cowin. "Water is critical to California's environment and economy. Saving water outdoors would be a great way to celebrate Earth Day this year."

Southern California Real People
Save Our Water's "Real People, Real Savings" campaign highlights homeowners who have reduced their outdoor water use by making changes to their landscaping. While some of the landscaping projects were extensive, others made minor changes to their plants and/or irrigation systems to save water. All of the homeowners profiled on the Save Our Water website have reduced their outdoor water use for the long term.

"As people spruce up their gardens this spring, we encourage them to learn about the many easy ways they can save water in their landscaping," said Jennifer Persike, ACWA's Deputy Executive Director for External Affairs and Operations. "Save Our Water's website, your local water agency's website, and your local nursery or home improvement store are great places to learn more about water-efficient landscape ideas."

The Save Our Water website profiles the water-wise gardens of 41 different homeowners, including following the Southern California residents:

Anita McNair (Compton) was tired of paying water bills and decided to replace her lawn with water-wise landscaping, which only requires water once or twice a month. But there are other benefits too: "My grandkids love their Nanna's garden. I took them to nurseries as far as Palm Springs to help me select fun cactus and succulents. Right now they are only 4, 6 and 7 but I let them know that they helped save water for their future and for their kids to come."

Eddie Rosales (Long Beach) says his water-wise landscaping had side benefits for the whole neighborhood: "Because of ground water replenishment from my dry river bed, my street no longer floods!"

Ileana Cataldo (Pasadena) shrunk her lawn and replaced it with water-wise plants: "I feel very proud that I'm helping conserve water and setting an example for the thousands of people who pass by daily."

Kassy Brohaugh (Paso Robles) installed water-wise landscaping at her new house to save water because she believes that "we have to think of the generations to come and prepare for them."

Rick Cole (Ventura) loves having a water-wise garden instead of a front lawn: "Since the day we revamped our garden, we've enjoyed the hummingbirds, butterflies and bees that it has attracted. And I've been gratified at the number of neighbors who've adopted similar plants and ideas for their front yards."

L.A. Simmons (Grover Beach) says the Grover Beach "Cash for Grass" program was a motivating factor in his decision to replace his lawn with water-wise plants and mulch but he loves the new look: "It looks way better than my previous sad-looking grass lot."

Dee Peden (Palm Desert) led the effort to convert much of the water-hungry landscape at The Desert Resort Country Club to water-wise plants and flowers. "When we announced our plan to change the landscaping to water-efficient plants and flowers, people thought it would be cactus and rocks and look like Phoenix," she said. "But after we finished landscaping some of the common spaces and homes, people love it! They are so pleased with how pretty, colorful and lush it looks."

John Sahagian (Chino) loves having a lawn. But he also loves saving water, which led him to take advantage of a local rebate program and reduce his outside water use. "We all need to do our part," says John. "People need to understand that there are great rebates offered from their local municipalities that bring the cost of the changes to their irrigation systems to a very minimal cost."

For more information about the homeowners highlighted in the Real People, Real Savings campaign, please contact Save Our Water.

To learn more about the Save Our Water program, visit or follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Save Our Water is a joint program founded and run by the California Department of Water Resources and the Association of California Water Agencies.

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    Jennifer Persike
    Association of California Water Agencies
    916-296-3981 (cell)
    Email Contact

    Nancy Vogel
    Dept. of Water Resources
    916-796-3048 (cell)
    Email Contact