SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) --California's drought is far from over, but the Bay Area's largest city says it now feels comfortable easing some of the water restrictions placed upon residents and businesses over the past year.
City officials say it's a testament to the people of San Jose and the efforts they've made to reduce their water use. While some residents say they're looking forward to watering their lawns a little bit more, others say they know it's only temporary.
In San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood, Christine Norton looks on as her front yard gets a makeover.
"I used to have really nice green lawns and the end of summer last year, I had brown grass," she said with a laugh.
She's one of many making the switch to artificial turf. And as they say, it's soft to the touch and green in every sense of the word.
"I think it looks darn good," said Norton. "And it's really going to be nice and easy to take care of."
Starting July 1, San Jose will have new water conservation rules due to a revised water conservation target of 20-percent. The city's water supply has improved due to a 27-percent reduction by residents and businesses over the past year.
City staff felt comfortable with making the recommendation, which will increase the allowable days for outdoor watering with a sprinkler system from two to three days per week. The city council approved the changes this week.
"We're going to continue to conserve water," said Jennie Loft with the San Jose Environmental Services Department. "But because of the really good work that our residents have done, and businesses, that we're able to relax it a little bit."
Tim Fullerton with Heavenly Greens says he continues to field multiple calls on a daily basis from people who are looking to reduce their water bill and who still want to do their part to conserve during the drought.
"By reducing the amount of water you use in your lawn, you can use that water you're saving to keep your plants and your trees alive," he said.
Norton hopes the changes don't affect the progress that's already been made.
"It's not going away anytime soon, it's nice, to think it's getting better, but not that much, you gotta make an effort," said Norton.
Officials will set new statewide water restrictions or mandates by January 2017.
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