AND WHO BENEFITS…
With the recent water use reduction mandates in full effect we take a closer look at the business who will benefit from these changes. Businesses ready to help consumers and businesses change their behavior — and save them money in lower water bills — should do well in California’s browner landscape. With strict water use rules coming, anyone who wants a yard that doesn’t look like a dust bowl needs to redesign and replant. Lawns are out, rocks and water-sipping ground covers like sage, yarrow and iceplant are in.
People are coming out of the woodwork” to get water-efficient gardens now – Many companies specialize in xeriscape garden design. Xeros means “dry” in Greek and xeriscaped gardens are designed to require very little water, using drought-tolerant plants.
Other businesses positioned to do well are those who install rainwater collection systems as well as crafting gray-water systems that reuse bath, shower and washing machine water to irrigate gardens. Three years ago, I got maybe one call a week from people who wanted to add water collection bins and zero scape their their gardens. Now I’m getting two or three calls day – said anonymous business owner.
Nurseries are stocking more hardy dry-weather plants native to California and the Mediterranean region. Succulents like agave, aloe and hen & chickens are popular as are perennial grasses like sedge and blue oat. Manzanita and ceanothus, sometimes called California lilac, are both increasingly must-have plants for modern yards because, once established, they need little water.
Appliance sales haven’t changed drastically so far because water-efficient clothes and dishwashers have been widely used for “years now,” reports Bob Harrison with Aztec Appliance in San Diego.Even so, he says, he hears more people mention water efficiency in his showroom. In laundry equipment in particular, that’s where we hear it,” says Harrison, who’s been selling appliances for 30 years. “San Diego literally is a desert that’s parked next to the ocean. We’ve got to think about it.”
EYES ON THE FUTURE
This being California, the drought could spur innovation. Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles has effectively remade the roughs on its golf course into desert by converting them into dry patches, which use less water. Many other gold courses which California has 1,140 (according to GolfLink.com) said they wont be impacted by the new reduction mandates as many courses already have water recycling systems in place which reuse grey water to keep the course green and healthy.
One famed golf course group said it should be able to keep its fairways and greens green. Pebble Beach company, said it is studying the restrictions to see what effect it will have on business.
“It will not affect our golf course irrigation because we use recycled waste water (for golf course irrigation) from a plant we built in 1994,” said a spokeperson for Pebble Beach. The company operates Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and The Links at Spanish Bay as well as three hotels. He said the drought has yet to hurt revenue. People up here are also very conscious about water usage and the expense of water in this area,” he said.
Pepperdine University in Malibu, known for its beautiful campus, said it would be challenging to meet the restrictions given the water-saving practices already in effect. The school already uses recycled and reclaimed water for campus irrigation and now it has turned off all fountains on campus. The university was also encouraging students to further reduce water usage.