By Anne Makovec

ALAMEDA (CBS) — Brown is the new green. At least, it is when it comes to lawns in Alameda.

Water officials hope it’s a new trend that will catch on all over California.

Linda Brooks’ lawn is so dry, even some of the cactus are dying. Her other water-saving ruse is to turn off her fountain.

“It was hard,” said Brooks, “The sound is so pretty.”

Brooks is serious about saving water after a recent trip.

“We were in the Sierra for 3 weeks, you cannot believe how dry it is up there, ” said Brooks. “It’s really scary.”

‘Brown is the New Green’ is the motto of a $500K campaign launched by the Santa Clara Valley District. Water use is typically up to 60% higher during the summer months. Lawns are the worst offenders. Even a small lawn can use more than 18,000 gallons of water per year.

Still, there are still a lot of people who aren’t concerned, including some of Brooks’ neighbors.

“We’re still watering our lawns,” said Joey Jacobowitz. “We’re giving the kids water, everything’s fine.”

When asked at what point he’ll become concerned, Jacobowitz said, “When they shut the water off.”

Brooks is acting now.

“If it’s yellow, let it mellow,” said Brooks. “We’ve just got to keep it up.”

The goal in most water districts is to heed Governor Brown’s request from earlier this year: reduce water use by at least 20%.


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