California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) introduced legislation Thursday reigniting a debate over whether homeowner associations should have the right to require green lawns and lush flowers, even during a drought.
Gonzalez’s proposed bill would allow those governed by homeowner associations to plant yards with drought-tolerant landscaping without fear of fines.
The San Diego County Water Authority estimates more than half of San Diego’s residential water use goes to gardens and lawns, but experts say it is important to consider alternatives during the ongoing drought in the state.
Clayton Tschudy works at the Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon, which features almost entirely drought-tolerant plants. He said drought-tolerant plants can look as good as any other plants.
“Sometimes people think that drought tolerant plants look brown, or ugly, or less beautiful than tropical plants, but nothing could be further from the truth,” Tschudy said.
While a typical California backyard uses 28,000 gallons of water a year, a backyard with lots of drought-tolerant plants uses only 6,000 gallons.