SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwired - Apr 22, 2013) - What better way to celebrate Earth Day this year than to save water outdoors? Today 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 snow pack was only 52 percent of the historical average. This forced state water officials to reduce the amount of water that 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 percent 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."

Central Valley 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 irrigations system 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 the following Central Valley residents:

Steve Kraynak (Bakersfield) is a big fan of native California plants -- in fact, his whole front and back yards are filled with native plants. "California has 1000 species of plants adapted for every habitat in California. You will never solve the landscaping problems by using generic foreign plants that do not belong here," Steve says.

Ivy Darden and Linda Arrendondo's (Fresno) front yard looks like a Sunset Magazine cover. When asked what she loves most about their garden, Linda says, "I love the variety of plants and the beauty and serenity they offer. I also love that it is low maintenance. Plus, our garden attracts people passing by, which gives me a chance to talk about water-wise gardening."

David Schwartz (Bakersfield) replaced his front lawn with water-wise plants and flowers that require very little water. He says saving water is important because "we need to be responsible with this resource so that there is enough for all Californian -- individuals, industry, agriculture and the natural environment that surrounds us."

Jody Palmer (Fresno) is a master gardener who loves to sit outside and enjoy the beauty of her water-wise garden: "It is predominantly old roses, salvias, and ornamental grasses which blend well together. There's the play of light and shadow as the sun moves through the day. The colors and color combinations change through the seasons."

For more information about the homeowners 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)