Water conservation and lawn blonding: most neighbors get it
Two or three days ago, I got a phone call from a home owner in another Silicon Valley city who was interested in selling his house. “My lawn is a perfect green, both front and back”, he boasted to me. “My neighbors are letting their lawns get yellow and brown, but not me. If I get a fine, I’ll pay it, but my lawn will be green.”
You don’t hear a lot of that around here these days, luckily.
In fact, the opposite is true – most Silicon Valley neighbors, including folks in Los Gatos, understand that keeping a lawn perfectly green means that you are squandering a resource (unless you are painting your lawn green or have replaced it with artificial turf). In other words, due to our very severe and 4 years long drought, most home owners or tenants believe that it is unethical to water your lawn to the point where it is a healthy green.
That new sense of ethics appears to be helping to get more people onboard. Having slogans like “brown is the new green” isn’t all that motivating. But noticing that yours is the only green lawn on the block might cause some (hopefully most) people to get with the program.
There are oodles of rules about when and how much to water. If you are a San Jose Water Company customer, you can water only twice a week, on set days (homes with even numbered houses, you water Tuesdays and Fridays, after 8pm and before 10am, for 15 minutes per zone max; for odd numbered days it’s Mondays and Thursdays). You are not allowed to hose down sidewalks, driveways, or cars. And water is never allowed to run off. Some of it’s intuitive, but much of it is not.
Get all the San Jose Water Company rules here:
You can report water waste in Belwood, Belgatos, or Surmont to the San Jose Water Company online – see link at the bottom of this article. There’s even an app, DroughtShame, for photographing and turning in offenders. Drought shaming is a way of trying to get neighbors to comply – not sure if it works or not, but it does appear that social change, meaning that most people embrace conservation and letting lawns go, does seem to work.
Big thanks to the neighbors who are doing a good job of conserving. Some of you are ripping out lawn and putting in artificial grass or low water landscaping. Others are allowing once lush greenery to go “California blonde”, as my husband calls it. When we walk the neighborhood and see so many lawns which are barely hanging on, we know that a lot of people really do care about the drought and conservation. No one loves a dead or dying lawn – but it’s a very visible way of doing your part. Thank you.
Water saving plants on the San Jose Water Company’s website
California water wasters beware: Drought Shaming on the rise Article on the San Jose Mercury News
You can report water waste for the San Jose Water Company’s service area online: