On Tuesday, a state water board approved sweeping restrictions on water usage for Californians, including a $500 fine for water wasters.
In Escondido, one couple is already shrinking their water bill dramatically in a simple way.
Bill and Vannete Wirant converted to a drought-tolerant landscape that has cut their water usage by 70 percent.
Their cost and water-saving strategy started in 2009, when nearly half of their property was covered with English ivy and cool season turf with plants demanding a lot of water.
That’s when they began researching and decided to take advantage of the San Diego County Water Authority’s rebate program that rewards residents who replace turf grass with drought-tolerant landscaping.
It does require spending money initially to convert to the program, but it’s worth it, the couple said.
“The reality is we live in a desert. We do,” said Bill Wirant. “So we have to act like we live in a desert and plant accordingly.”
The county’s water authority also offers rebates for high-efficiency toilets and washers. Some agencies such as California American Water, which serves the communities around Imperial Beach and Coronado, offer free water-saving devices. They include low-flow shower heads and garden hose nozzles.
On Tuesday evening, members of the California Water Resources Control Board voted in favor of a set of restrictions that haven’t been imposed statewide in more than two decades. The restrictions take effect on Aug. 1.