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State and Local Officials Inspire Residents to Beautify Yards with Low-Water Landscapes

Save Our Water sign on transformed front yard

Published: 8 December 2022

State and Local Officials Inspire Residents to Beautify Yards with Low-Water Landscapes
City of Fresno residential lawn replacement program highlighted as resource
Fresno, Calif. – Save Our Water joined leaders in Fresno today to spotlight a local family’s inspiring effort to reduce water outdoors and encourage Californians to transform their yards with water-wise landscaping, especially as extreme drought continues to impact residents in the Central Valley and across the state. 
Through the City of Fresno’s Lawn to Garden rebate program, the Dunshee family cut their water use in half over the last five years by replacing more than 800 square feet of lawn with drought-tolerant plants and installing drip irrigation. 
California State Water Resources Control Board Member Dorene D’Adamo commended the city and the family’s commitment to water conservation and called on all Californians to consider swapping out their own thirsty lawns for beautiful, drought-resistant landscapes. 
“Even as we start to get more rain this fall and winter, the long-term, gradual drying of our state is here to stay,” said D’Adamo. “But if we all do our part, there is hope. That’s why we came together today – to celebrate the great work happening in Fresno, like this California-friendly front yard, and to encourage more Californians to follow with landscape transformations of their own.”
As California’s climate becomes hotter and drier, lawn replacement programs provide critical resources to help residents make the shift to low water landscapes. Transforming yards into functional, drought-tolerant outdoor spaces goes a long way in helping to mitigate the consequences of extreme drought and are even more vital in the hardest hit regions, including the Central Valley.
“It’s obvious to anyone living here that we are in a severe, long-term drought, a challenge exacerbated by California’s semi-arid climate. Given these realities, it is imperative that we take further steps now to address water-intensive lawns,” said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer. “Low-water landscapes are the future. Drought-tolerant plants fit our landscape and will help us preserve our most precious resource.”
The City of Fresno last year increased its contributions and expanded the square footage allowance for its Lawn to Garden rebate program to help more residents cost-effectively convert their yards. The city also provides rebate programs for high-efficiency sprinkler nozzle replacements, pool covers, smart irrigation controllers and more water-savings efforts that can save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
“We know how important it is to do our part to save water and that’s what inspired us to turn our front yard into a beautiful, water-wise garden,” the Dunshee family shared. “The Lawn to Garden program helped offset the cost and was a great incentive to encourage our yard transformation – we hope our upgraded landscaping can be an inspiration to others to replace their lawns too.”
To further drive the transformation from grass to drought-tolerant landscapes, the state has allocated $75 million to bolster the Save Our Water campaign, providing Californians with actionable tools and resources to conserve water. Governor Gavin Newsom also signed legislation earlier this year to ensure that dollars continue helping residents transform lawns into water-wise yards.
“We are all doing our part and the state is helping to provide financial assistance to local water agencies for yard transformation rebates, leak detection, and more.” said Arthur Hinojosa, manager of the Division of Regional Assistance for the California Department of Water Resources. “Providing resources like local lawn replacement rebates are key to helping Californians prioritize conservation and stretching water supplies in local communities and statewide.”
With cooler temperatures and wetter weather moving in, now is an ideal time to consider replacing lawns with drought-tolerant plants and taking advantage of local rebates and resources. Save Our Water encourages California residents to check with their local water agency to learn more about the tools and rebates available in their area to help conserve. For more water saving tips and information, visit


State Water Resources Control Board
Jackie Carpenter
(916) 508-9563

City of Fresno
Sontaya Rose
(559) 903-7026

Save Our Water
Hayley Carbullido 
(916) 833-6076