Water board calls for new use restrictions in South Bay

For those already conserving, this is tough to take. Tighter restrictions may mean the end of their lawns.

"We're going to have to let it die. I mean, where do we need the water most? Not on our lawn," said San Jose resident Anne Dipalermo.

With the Santa Clara Valley Water District approving the water usage rules, outdoor watering will be restricted to two days a week.

That means landscapers like Tim Dooling are fielding tons of questions.

"We're getting a lot of calls from people who are concerned, they don't want to lose their yards. They're looking for other alternatives. And people are realizing that drought resistant doesn't have to be ugly," says Tim Dooling of Dooling Landscape Service.

But for all those doing their parts to cut back, many more are not.

At Tuesday night's board meeting, directors pointed out, they came nowhere near hitting last year's less restrictive conservation goal of a 20-percent reduction.

"We didn't hit 20 percent. What number would you say we hit? 13 percent and that includes the Hetch Hetchy. I think if you adjust out, it's 11. That's half of where we wanted. What can we do?" asked board member Gary Kremen.

They say this year, they'll focus on additional outreach, extending rebates and hiring more water waste inspectors.

"We think we can do better this year, in fact we really need to," said Marty Grimes with the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

They say if people don't respond, there will be consequences.

"If we don't get water use reductions this year, our estimates are that our groundwater level would drop to what we call the critical stage," says Grimes.

Landscapers say some lawns will be able to survive this summer, but that now may be the time to invest in drought-resistant plants.

"This landscape here," he says pointing to a newly installed drought resistant front lawn, "No problem keeping this alive on two days a week."