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article imageCalifornia family sued for practicing water conservation

By Stephanie Dearing     Mar 3, 2010 in World
Los Angeles - Most North Americans are in love with their lawns, even when those lawns suck up large amounts of resources, particularly water.
This article has been corrected, as it erroneously originally said Los Angeles was suing the Ha family over their lawn.
Municipalities facing water shortages during hot periods have restricted water use for landscaping purposes, and even fined people who violate the new by-laws. But this story has a twist. The Has, a couple in Orange, California removed most of the grass in their front yard two years ago, replacing the sod with drought-tolerant plants and wood chips.
They've substantially reduced their water needs -- but the city is suing the couple now, for falling foul of a by-law that requires forces homeowners to keep 40 percent of their yards covered with living plants.
Orange City, only about 30 miles from Los Angeles, suffers from the same problem as most of Southern California: there is not much local water to be had. Los Angeles, for example, pipes in most of its water. A plan to conserve water in the city states "In 2007, we reached a boiling point as several factors converged to create water shortages from all major sources, parking the need to rethink existing and future water supplies to meet the demand of more than 4 million people in Los Angeles." According to that document, outdoor water use constitutes a large portion of all water use. To combat those water shortages, the city has employed the strategy of resticting water use, particularly for lawns.
Afflicted with much the same problems as Lost Angeles, the story of the Ha family illustrates the largest problem facing the municipal government -- its inability to amend its by-laws to reflect the realities of water availability.
The Ha family said they reduced their water consumption by hundreds of gallons per year since they put in plants that love hot and dry climates.
Orange City and the Has met in court Tuesday over the law suit. There have been no reports on the outcome of the court case.
In Santa Cruz, California as well as many other municipalities in North America where water shortages are a recurring issue, there is a movement to replace lawns with drought-resistant plants. This type of landscaping is called xeriscaping because the gardens use minimal water.
More about Los angeles, Landscaping, Water, Xeriscaping, Family
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