California drought: Bay Area landscaping companies see 300% increase in irrigation repairs as people try to conserve

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) – California water officials say saving water is a must right now because of the drought.

But the owner of an East Bay landscaping business says his business is booming with people working to fix their irrigation systems.

RELATED: Despite calls for conservation, California’s water use in March jumped nearly 19%

“Usually the first three months are pretty slow,” says Jon Meyers of Meyers Landscaping.

Meyers says that’s not the case this year. The record-breaking dry weather has prompted his customers to start watering their lawns earlier and more often, and because of that, he’s been busy.

“My irrigation repairs are up almost 300% from the first quarter from January to March,” says Meyers.

But no water leak in Jill Proctor’s garden.

VIDEO: State lawmaker calls for audit after California ‘lost’ billions of gallons of water

“We also installed the drip system in this flowerbed,” says Proctor.

Proctor has had his garden redone in recent years to better withstand the drought.

“The turf seemed like the perfect solution. All the plants are either deer resistant or water resistant. We dropped about half the amount of water overall,” says Proctor.

Meyers says he has clients looking to do what Proctor did, sometimes with sod and sometimes with other options like rocks or plants.

RELATED: How Recycled Wastewater Could Help Fight Dwindling Supplies Amid CA Drought

“Earlier this week I had a client who was spending $800 on their water bill so with a full assessment we found a few leaky valves and from there we are now in talks to convert their lawn into a drought-tolerant landscape,” Meyers says.

It’s not cheap though, Proctor says it cost them just under $30,000 to convert his entire garden.

“It was worth it because we’re not going to have to do this again for a very long time and so for me the cost was part of that, but it’s also the right thing to do for the environment and we don’t have the water to waste here in California,” says Proctor.

Meyers also says his clients are much more concerned about their landscaping now because many of them are working from home. Instead of watching it two days a week before the pandemic, many are now there 24/7.

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