Bay Area landscaping business sees 300% increase in irrigation repairs as drought worsens

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

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

RELATED: Despite pleas for conservation, California's March water usage jumped nearly 19%

"Usually the first three months is pretty slow," says Jon Meyers of Meyers Landscaping.

Meyers says that is not the case this year. The record dry weather has pushed his clients to start watering their lawns earlier and more often, and because of that, he's been busy.

"My irrigation repairs have increased by almost 300 percent for the first quarter January through March," says Meyers.

But no leaking water in Jill Proctor's yard.

VIDEO: State lawmaker calls for audit after California 'loses' billions of gallons of water
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The amount of water that was "lost" is estimated to be 700,000-acre-feet -- that's roughly 228 billion gallons of water.



"We've got the drip system set up in this flower bed as well," says Proctor.

Proctor had her yard redone within the past few years to be more drought-friendly.

"Turf just 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 turf and sometimes with other options like rocks or plants.

RELATED: How recycled wastewater could help combat dwindling supplies amid CA's drought

"I had a client earlier this week that was spending $800 for their water bill so with a full assessment we found a few leaky valves and from there we're now in talks to converting their lawn to a drought-tolerant landscape," says Meyers.

It's not cheap though, Proctor says it cost them just under $30,000 to convert her entire yard.

"It was well worth it because we're not going to have to redo this now for a very long time and so to me the cost was part of it, but also it's 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 that his clients are much more concerned about their landscaping now because many of them are working from home. Instead of looking at it two days a week pre-pandemic, many are now there around-the-clock, seven days a week.

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