Water Wise Landscaping in Southern California

Shipley Nature Center, Huntington BeachThis is the time of year when thoughts turn to outdoor lawns and gardens. This year, some planning, and awareness of new laws, can save you some money.

Water conservation is a growing focus in a land that used to be a desert before all the swimming pools were added. Los Angeles' Metropolitan Water District developed a BeWaterWise website several years and (I still have a few CDs) for native plant gardening, classes, and irrigation systems installation. See the Water Calculator to assist with your climate's and soil's watering needs on a season basis.

The City of Long Beach recently passed an ordinance for saving water, and limits landscape watering to specific days (Monday, Thursday and Saturday) and times. Pressure washers (under pulldown menu at "Water Conservation") are to be used instead of hoses if absolutely necessary for outdoor use. The city Water Department is sponsoring landscaping classes during April, May and June focusing on irrigation systems and installation, and "California-friendly" plants. Certain neighborhoods are already popping up with water-efficient landscaping, and looking very attractive. There are also a few rebate programs offered by the City for using certain water-saving toilets, rotating sprinkler nozzles which use 20% less water and reduce runoff, and high-efficiency clothes washers (HECWs). In Orange County, rebates are also offered for synthetic turf and timers.

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