SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwired - Apr 19, 2013) - What better way to celebrate Earth Day this year than to save water outdoors? Monday, April 22 marks the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day, a day when people around the world celebrate environmental citizenship. Save Our Water, a statewide water conservation education program, invites Californians to mark Earth Day 2013 by taking steps to save water outdoors.

Despite an extremely wet December, California's winter ultimately turned out to be one of the driest on record. At the end of March (the latest snow survey), the snowpack was only 52% of the historical average. This forced state water officials to reduce the amount of water the State Water Project delivers to local water agencies -- water agencies that serve the needs of 25 million people and nearly one million acres of agricultural land. Federal water officials are also making sharp cutbacks in their water deliveries.

The Save Our Water program, which was created by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) in 2009, educates consumers on ways to reduce their household water use. Outdoor water use is a major focus of the program since, in many areas, 50% or more of residential water use goes to lawns and outdoor landscaping. Program leaders are calling on consumers to take steps this Earth Day to reduce outdoor water use by picking California-friendly plants, converting to water-efficient irrigation systems and/or investing in a "smart" controller for their sprinklers.

"After this dry winter, we are concerned about this year's water supply," said DWR Director Mark Cowin. "Water is critical to California's environment and economy. Saving water outdoors would be a great way to celebrate Earth Day this year."

Bay Area Real People
Save Our Water's "Real People, Real Savings" campaign highlights homeowners who have reduced their outdoor water use by making changes to their landscaping. While some of the landscaping projects were extensive, others made minor changes to their plants and/or irrigation systems to save water. All of the homeowners profiled on the Save Our Water website have reduced their outdoor water use for the long term.

"As people spruce up their gardens this spring, we encourage them to learn about the many easy ways they can save water in their landscaping," said Jennifer Persike, ACWA's Deputy Executive Director for External Affairs and Operations. "Save Our Water's website, your local water agency's website, and your local nursery or home improvement store are great places to learn more about water-efficient landscape ideas."

The Save Our Water website profiles the water-wise gardens of 41 different homeowners, including following the Bay Area residents:

Kimberly Wong (Palo Alto) says her friends "are surprised that there is so much diversity and choices of drought-resistant plants. They think the only choices are cactuses, grasses and aloes."

Jon Cook (San Jose) says people are always surprised at how much he saves on water and how good the garden looks without a lawn. "It looks great all year and is low maintenance which gives me more free time," he says.

Kelly Marshall (Clayton): "When I say 'drought-tolerant gardening,' I think people envision a yard filled with gravel, steer skulls, and tumbleweeds. My garden is proof that you can have a beautiful, lush, four-season garden with the right plant choices and a water-saving irrigation system."

Susan Lovelace (Cotati). Susan is Master Gardner who says: "My garden is a combination of all the things that are important to me: A habitat for wildlife; a place to grow our own food; a colorful mix of flowers and flora for my arrangements; an area where native and drought-tolerant plants are emphasized; a truly fulfilling adventure."

For more information about the Bay Area residents highlighted in the Real People, Real Savings campaign, please contact Save Our Water.

To learn more about the Save Our Water program, visit or follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Save Our Water is a joint program founded and run by the California Department of Water Resources and the Association of California Water Agencies.

Contact Information:

Media Contacts:
Jennifer Persike
Association of California Water Agencies
916-296-3981 (cell)

Nancy Vogel
Dept. of Water Resources
916-796-3048 (cell)