WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) — Bay Area companies that install artificial grass are seeing an uptick in business during California’s record drought. But certain water companies are discouraging their customers from installing turf.

The phone has been ringing off the hook at First Impressions, a San Ramon company that installs synthetic turf.

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“The drought is the cause. The effect is a brown lawn. People don’t want brown lawns,” said Jason Webb, the company’s owner.

Webb has actually been selling artificial grass for eight years now, but for him the drought has been a godsend, even if he’s a bit reluctant to admit it.

“We didn’t intend on that,” he said.

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Webb said his company offers a product that looks lush and green but uses no water at all.

One may think the water companies urging us to conserve would be all for it, but most are not. The Santa Clara Valley Water District created a flyer, warning customers that fake grass could be bad for the environment.

Webb thinks there’s another explanation. “Our belief is because synthetic lawn uses no water at all, it’s just bad business for the water companies.”

Jim Short says his lawn may be brown, but he wouldn’t mind his neighbor having a green one, if it didn’t take any water to do it.

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“You can get artificial flowers, too. But they don’t look too good. I think the lawn looks the best of the artificial,” he said.