BY LAURA LIERA Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
While the state is in the grips of a drought -- even with Friday's rain -- there's plenty you can do to conserve water at home.
Everyone has a role to play. This week the California Public Utilities Commission called on investor-owned water companies to urge customers to cut their water use by 20 percent.
One local landscaper is advocating for people to release their grip on water by watering their lawns less -- or even go so far as replacing natural grass with synthetic lawns.
"The best thing for us to do is minimize how much water we are using now. Let's do something about it now," Dan Monji of Monji Landscape Companies said Friday on the "First Look with Scott Cox" simulcast.
For the past three years, Monji has not only recommended synthetic lawns to clients, but has also carried an inventory of succulents for gardens.
Succulent plants -- which include cactus -- thrive in dry climates and require little water. When planting succulents, it's important to pick an area that has little to no ground precipitation, Monji said.
"First Look" host Scott Cox said he has seen succulent gardens as well as synthetic lawns near his neighborhood, and they're impressive.
Last year, Monji said, he laid down 20,000 square feet of synthetic grass in Bakersfield. This year, he expects to install 50,000 square feet.
"You never have to water or mow your lawn and it brings substantial savings," Monji said. And it looks good, he said.
Conserving water is important not only in your front yard garden, but also in your backyard -- the pool.
Brad Ward of Atlas Pool Care was also on the show to advise homeowners to keep their pools clean.
"Maintain your pool," Ward said. "Don't let it get away from you because once it (water) turns green, they are hard to get back."
Pool water should be drained every three to five years, but during a drought emergency, Ward said water can last up to 10 years -- with proper care.
If there is any leakage in your pool, it's important to get it fixed before the damage becomes worse, Ward said. He noted most leaks tend to be minor.
A simple test checks for pool leakage: Shut down the pool equipment, including the pool filter. Set a pitcher of water on the top step of your pool with the same water level as the pool, Ward said. Leave the pitcher there overnight. If the pool level is lower than the water level in the pitcher the next day, that will give you a heads-up that you have some kind of leak.
"Most leaks happen around the tile lines, so simply fill it with tile grout," Ward said.