Making California Friendly Plants Mainstream to Drought Proof Southern California

submission by patwater10

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

Southern California Water Committee

Organization(s) website(s):

Organization(s) twitter handle(s):

Organization(s) facebook handle(s):

Organization(s) instagram handle(s):

Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


The Southern California Water Committee (SCWC) — established in 1984 — is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public education partnership dedicated to informing Southern Californians about our water needs and our state’s water resources.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


This transformative public education campaign will make California friendly plants hotter than pokemon circa 1995. How? We're going to take existing water community efforts to the next level with pioneering data science and unleash some cool new creative videos and books to convert the best change-makers: kids.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

(e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County):

Across the Southern California region

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Live” metrics? (check all that apply)

Access to healthy food

Healthcare access

Exposure to air toxins

Number of households below the self-sufficiency index

Percent of imported water

Obesity rates

Housing affordability

Rates of homelessness

Walk/bike/transit score

Acres and miles of polluted waterways

Rates of mental illness

Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (Dream Metric)

Percentage of LA communities that are resilient (Dream Metric)

Percentage of residents receiving coordinated healthcare services (Dream Metric)

Percentage of tree canopy cover (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the healthiest place to live.


California faces its worst drought in over a century, compounding long term trends. The state's water supply system was largely built a generation ago for a state with half the population, and in recent years California's key water supply resources in the Bay Delta and Colorado river are under stress from rising usage, climate change, and long-term geological damage.

On April 1, 2015, Governor Brown stood in the Sierras in an empty field normally five feet deep in snow at this time of year and declared a historically unprecedented statewide 25% urban water conservation mandate. With outdoor landscaping representing roughly half of urban water usage, Governor Brown and the water community have identified ornamental lawns as a key opportunity in the larger effort to increase water conservation.

For generations, lawns have occupied a special place in the California mind. The Post WWII era saw abundant material wealth and water supplies, which manifested in lush lawns and landscaping. D.J. Waldie memorialized this lifestyle in his book “Holy Land.”

“The seven model yards were planted with mature shrubs and full lawns… Buyers waited in line, some watching their children in a supervised playground.”

Former State Librarian Kevin Starr highlights the broader connection to suburban life in his book “Golden Dreams.”

“…a place where middle class Americans might love, reproduce, succeed, fail, live, and die in American circumstances enlivened by day-to-day hope and immemorial pleasures, struggles, questions and rhythms of daily life.”

We’re launching this campaign to educate the next generation of Californians on how simply shifting from thirsty ornamental lawns to California friendly landscaping can increase our drought resiliency dramatically and deepen our connection to our community.

Rather than struggling like Biggie Badger and his friends with over-the-top water conservation actions like bathing halfway or skipping showers, we can save the water we need simply by converting lawns we aren’t using for anything except decoration to beautiful drought friendly landscaping.

Moreover, this generational shift in outdoor landscaping offers a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors and understand how we’re all dependent on the environment that was here before us.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


Number of households converted to California friendly landscaping. Our target with this hundred thousand dollars: 1,000,000 households with California friendly landscaping across Southern California. We're working closely with academic researchers using NAIP satellite imagery to study the diffusion of California friendly plants and will use the results of that study to help evaluate how many Californians this campaign converts to new landscaping. In addition, for a separate yet synergistic project we're working on pioneering a voluntary, bottom-up effort to put the entire lifecycle of California's water usage data in a centralized platform. That database will enable us to ask at a granular level the actual water savings of shifting to California friendly plants and target areas for future landscape maintenance education.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

1 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

There is no such thing as a non-native plant that is "friendly" to California. We've lost 90% of our native songbirds and butterflies in the last fifty years. Replacing exotic water hungry plants with exotic drought tolerant plants does nothing for the fauna. Go native or you don't save any biodiversity.

by SunriseW
5 months ago

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Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

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Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

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Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015