San Diego County's second largest city is saving water by killing grass

City Hall may go green by getting rid of green

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - The revolution against grass is growing in San Diego County’s second largest city.

“We stopped watering in early April,” said UTC Aerospace Systems facility Manager Paul Sackos, while pointing at the 51,000 square foot grassy knoll outside of their Chula Vista office building.

He said it needs two million gallons of water every year to stay green.

“That’s like three Olympic pools worth of water,” he said.

So UTC Aerospace Systems is ripping out the grass and replacing it with drought-tolerant plants.

“Change is good,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas.

At Tuesday night’s Chula Vista City Council meeting, Mayor Salas suggested removing a large plot of grass outside of City Hall and building a demonstration garden similar to the one outside the San Diego County Water Authority building in Kearny Mesa.

“So that people can look at it and visualize, ‘how is this going to look in my front yard,’” said Salas.

It would help the city meet Governor Jerry Brown’s goal of cutting water use by 25-percent statewide.

“I love all my bulb plants that take a lot of water but they simply have to go,” said the Mayor.

“More native, more drought-tolerant plants,” said Sackos.

UTC, which is Chula Vista’s largest employer, is doing the same thing once it removes its grass. It’s another step along their water-saving path.

“We have been conserving water since 2006,” he added.

Sackos said UTC Aerospace Systems facility has reduced water use 33 percent since then. He said they’ve saved 176-million gallons of water.

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