Southern California is in the midst of what some are labeling a “megadrought.” In April 2022, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California laid out plans to enforce mandatory water restrictions in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties. Additionally, they’re also putting pressure on the rest of Southern California. The classic California dream of palm trees surrounded by a lush green lawn seems to be evaporating.
However, as a property owner there is help to be found! Whether you’re curious in a turf removal rebate or the longer-term cost savings, we’ve put together some information and links for you below.
The Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance was passed in 2015. According to the California Department of Water Resources:
“About half of urban water produced in California is used for landscape irrigation. Large water savings can be gained by efficient landscape design, installation, management, and maintenance. This is accomplished by choosing climate adapted plants, improving soil conditions, using, and maintaining high efficiency irrigation equipment and managing the irrigation schedule to fit the plants water needs as they are influenced by local climate. To increase water efficiency and better use a valuable resource, rainwater and stormwater collection and graywater and recycled water can replace or augment potable water use in landscapes.”
The ordinance limits new landscape installations over 500 square feet to about 25% turf. Further, it also restricts other “high water use” design elements. This includes residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional projects. Finally, current property owners with more than 2,500 square feet of outdoor space considering a redesign will also be subject to new, severe restrictions.
Homeowners and corporate campuses alike are looking for alternatives to vast lawns, cement structures, and prickly desert-scapes. California Farm and Garden has already established that the installation of fruit and vegetable gardens, in conjunction with proper irrigation techniques, are water conscious. Additionally, they have even been exempt from California’s watering-schedule restrictions in the past. In fact, our calculations show that our edible gardens and orchards use 75% less water than lawns in the same space! This equates to saving hundreds to thousands of dollars per year on your water bill.
Yet, benefits of culinary gardens don’t stop there. Vegetable gardens on your property can:
– Provide healthy physical and mental benefits
– Create sustainable ecosystems for local flora and fauna
– Give you more control of how and where your product is being grown
– Did we mention local produce just tastes better, too?
The San Diego Department of Public Works has a Waterscape Rebate Program accessible here. “Residential and Commercial properties may receive up to $4 per sq. foot of converted yard… [and] Commercial properties may receive up to $2 per sq. ft for additional converted turf grass…” Find out if you’re eligible by clicking the link above!