The city of La Cañada Flintridge’s deeply rooted lush lawn traditions are tied to a romance with the English or cottage garden. Today, there is essentially one way most residents envision landscapes for their homes: a green lawn accompanied by various shrubs or flowers with a tree or two which have become iconic of the city. Modeling our landscapes after those of rain-soaked England requires intensive watering and is environmentally unsustainable. Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown presented data that concluded calendar year 2013 ended as the driest year on record for the state of California. Current conditions suggest calendar year 2014 will end as another below-average rainfall year for the entire state.

Considering that the bulk of water supplies consumed in this community are imported from the Colorado River and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, re-imagining our personal landscapes to fit within the context of the state’s regular droughts will make for an important exercise in regional self-sufficiency. Our Mediterranean climate offers a great opportunity to use long-established landscaping choices to reduce water use and still create a comfortable retreat.

Foothill Municipal Water District currently offers turf-removal rebates that will assist the city of La Cañada Flintridge in taking the next step to install drought-tolerant landscapes. Rebates of $1 for every square foot of turf removed are currently available. Residents and businesses must pre-qualify for the rebate prior to starting any work. For more information on the turf-removal rebates and other rebates the District offers, please visit www.fmwd.com/conservation.aspx or www.socalwatersmart.com.

Nina Jazmadarian
Glendale

Editor's Note: The writer is the general manager of Foothill Municipal Water District, which is headquartered in La Cañada Flintridge.