Investing in new water conservation practices and technologies has resulted in significant water savings while maintaining public spaces in the City of Santa Monica. City Hall, parks, and other municipal facilities collectively recorded a 52 percent reduction in water usage in June, compared to the same month in 2013.

To achieve outdoor savings, City staff removed 3,000 square feet of turf from park and landscape sites where there was very little public use; reduced watering cycles in landscapes and grass areas, and stopped watering grassy street medians altogether.

To save even more water, City staff plan to install more efficient irrigation systems and drip systems, remove unnecessary grass around trees, install sustainable landscaping in street medians, and spread a thick layer of organic mulch over planted areas.

“We all love Santa Monica and just as we are asking residents to save water, the City itself is doing its part to conserve at every opportunity,” said Devin Starns, facilities maintenance manager of the City of Santa Monica.

The landscaping surrounding City Hall uses a smart irrigation system with recycled water from the Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility (SMURRF), saving precious potable water. SMURRF water is also piped to irrigate Tongva Park, Palisades Park and the Cemetery, and to pressure-wash sidewalks downtown.

Trees are an important asset to Santa Monica and the entire region. To keep trees healthy and conserve water, the City is watering trees by hand and through the use of slow-release watering bags. Grass is removed from around trees and organic mulch is installed where appropriate.

Indoors, the City has installed high-efficiency fixtures in 60 percent of its buildings. Remaining buildings will be refitted with high-efficiency fixtures by the end of the year. Staff also conduct monthly water audits at all sites to identify and fix water wasting issues and system repairs. To further reduce water use in City buildings, staff is required to immediately report leaks and use water efficiently.

The City is asking for residents to continue to use water-wisely at home and at public facilities such as the showers at the beach and the Santa Monica Swim Center. “Santa Monica is a leader in water conservation. I am proud to see all of the new, beautiful sustainable landscapes in homes and city facilities being put in across Santa Monica,” said Dean Kubani, Santa Monica’s Sustainability Manager, “The savings achieved show the commitment of this community to save water.”

Residents are invited to visit the sustainable landscape event on Aug. 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Airport Demonstration Garden, located at 3200 Airport Avenue. City staff and landscape consultants will be on-hand to showcase sustainable landscaping ideas, explain how to apply for rebates and provide specific water-saving tips. If you have questions about plants, then don’t miss this free event.

For more information about these rebates and other practical water-saving measures and programs, please visit, call (310) 458-8972 or email


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