Can green lawns survive this summer’s severe drought?

Cisterns and rain barrels are an excellent way to capture rainwater for reuse in your garden later. Contributed Photo.

A garden needs water to grow. With strict watering limitations to only twice a week (even numbered addresses allowed Tuesday and Friday, odd numbered addresses allowed Monday and Thursday) now in effect in Malibu, will green lawns survive this summer’s expected punishing heat? The severe drought, now in its third year and on the heels of 2015’s drought, has many homeowners reconsidering grass as landscaping at all. 

Rebate programs that pay homeowners to replace grass with drought-tolerant landscaping, decomposed granite, or other hardscaping are available, but seem to fluctuate with demand and available reimbursement monies available. has information on how to qualify for rebates up to $5 a square foot. The website also has information on rebates for water efficient clothes washers, toilets, sprinkler nozzles and cisterns. 

Those trying to hang on to lawns and gardens will need to stretch their limited water budgets.

Cisterns and rain barrels are an excellent way to capture rainwater for reuse in your garden later. Although we’re not in rainy season now, this could be the time to get a jump start for next season. The West Basin Municipal Water District encourages the use of rain barrels for the collection and reuse of rain water. The agency had an overwhelming response to a recent home delivery distribution of barrels and hosted two successful drive-through pick-up distributions of rain barrels. To be notified about future rain barrel distribution opportunities check their website

Those trying to save their outdoor greenery may resort to the old trick of water collection in the shower. Placing a bucket on the shower floor to collect water, especially as it’s warming up, can be an excellent strategy in saving every last drop to use on your lawn or garden later. The same ban be done with a watering can in the kitchen sink while rinsing fruits and vegetables. And if you need to save every last drop you can always drop unused ice leftover from drinks into a kitchen receptacle to use later for watering plants.

Speaking of kitchens, many people are used to rinsing dishes before putting them in a dishwasher; however, most manufacturers of newer efficient dishwashers say that practice is no longer necessary. With a good scraping of food from plates, dishes should come out of newer washers as sparkling as ever. Also, running a dishwasher full instead of half-full saves 5 to 15 gallons of water per load. Same goes for clothes. Washing full loads of clothes instead of half-loads saves 15 to 45 gallons of water per load. Filling a bathtub halfway or less saves roughly 12 gallons per person.

For those with swimming pools, if you don’t have a pool cover, now is the time to get one. Covering a pool when not in use reduces the amount of water needed by 30 percent to 50 percent and you won’t be refilling up the pool as often leaving precious more water to use in your garden.

Every heard of a Navy shower? It’s an excellent form of water conservation. It originated on naval ships where fresh water is often in short supply. A Navy shower has one quickly get wet then lathers up while the water is turned off. After soaping and shampooing the rinse off should take no more than a minute. A Navy shower may use as little as three gallons a person, while a typical 10-minute shower might use 60 gallons.

Homeowners can install a flow monitor device that tracks your water usage and helps detect leaks. Southern California residents may qualify for a $100 rebate on qualifying flow monitors. For more information check

Saving water in desperate times may call for extreme measures, but following smart water conservation tips can become habit just as years ago when many of us stopped running the faucet while practicing another habit, brushing our teeth. For more tips and information on applying for rebates visit