Orange County’s water area brings California landscapes to Laguna Niguel Yards and conserves water through a rebate program

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (KABC) — The Moulton Niguel Water District is teaching people how to drought-proof their lawns and offering homeowners a chance to relax in a quiet, eco-friendly place while saving money.

It’s a new look that Laguna Niguel’s Dennis Ghan and his wife enjoy on a daily basis.

“Just coming and going and seeing it out here all the time,” Ghan said. “We get a lot of compliments from people who come to our house.”

Three years ago it was just a lawn and a hedge. That was roughly the start of the Moulton Niguel Water District’s NatureScape programme.

The Ghans and their neighbors are among 100 participants who transformed their lawns into California landscapes while saving water, time and money.

The package includes a discount for lawn removal and half of the design cost.

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“There used to be lawns out here that needed to be watered several times a week and now we only water it every three weeks,” Ghan said.

Water District President Brian Probolsky said that since his customers use 40% of water outdoors, this is the perfect place to start making savings.

The coastal fire that burned at Laguna Niguel in mid-May is a prime example of the increasing need to conserve water.

According to Probolsky, the district plans fire safety in advance, but it helps when everyone works toward a common goal as climate change turns year-round fire season.

“Everyone can do their part. First, if you see a fire in your neighborhood, in your area, just turn off your own water and save that pressure on the firefighters,” Probolsky said.

Creating this eco-conscious, tranquil space also helps the community. The district has a water balance-based tariff structure.

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The water district’s general manager, Joone Kim Lopez, said those under budget are helping to keep the dollars saved through discounts and partnerships like those offered through the NatureScape program.

“We’re investing that money back into our community to be resilient and reliable because we know that with climate change, droughts are getting longer,” Kim Lopez said. “It’s happening more and more often and we really need to have a sustainable approach to make sure we’re efficient.”

Probolsky says it’s about more than reducing water consumption.

“We’re restoring nature to how it was,” Probolsky said. “It’s not just about the plants and saving water, we’re bringing animals back.”

Before homeowners get too deep into the program, they must complete a free two-hour workshop to ensure they really want to get involved in the entire process.

Anyone interested in such a thing can check with their local water authority. Many of them offer similar programs.

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https://abc7.com/oc-naturescape-program-rebate-water-saving-yards/11910307/ Orange County’s water area brings California landscapes to Laguna Niguel Yards and conserves water through a rebate program

Laura Coffey

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