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California-Friendly Landscaping Urged: More Beauty, Less Water

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Aired 4/19/09

(Photo: One example of water-wise landscape that can be part of a shift to more native cactus and succulents suitable for the arid Mediterranean climate of our region. Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College .)

Water officials say homeowners should reduce outdoor watering because of record-dry conditions in Southern California. One solution is to replace lawns with drought-resistant plants. A new law makes that easier for some homeowners, as KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce explains.

Homeowners associations require condo or home owners to abide by certain rules. Some of those restrictions kept people from replacing their lawns with native plants. But Vickie Driver with the San Diego County Water Authority says a new California law has changed that.

Driver: The architectural guidelines of property owner's associations may not prohibit water conserving landscapes.

She says that means homeowners are free to replace water-greedy lawns with native plants that require less of the precious resource. Driver says more than 40 percent of the water in the county is used on lawns. Replacing lawns not only saves water, it also reduces monthly bills. Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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