California Drought Inspires Innovation & Cross Sector Collaboration


Communities throughout the state have stepped up to meet (and exceed) Governor Brown’s 25 percent water conservation mandate by letting lawns go golden, turning off outdoor fountains, and making other cuts to outdoor water use. But many fear that people will turn on sprinklers and hoses after winter El Nino rain events thinking the drought is “over.” California Coastkeeper Alliance has assembled a unique coalition of partners to inspire a permanent change to the way Californians view outdoor water use with the Drought without the Drab campaign.


California Coastkeeper Alliance and California Waterkeepers have joined forces with Blue Business Council Members and 1% For The Planet to counter the notion that conserving water means brown lawns, bare gravel and spiky cacti.The campaign features outdoor landscaping of universities, museums, hotels, and businesses from San Diego to Humboldt that show that native and low water plants can be stylish, vibrant and beautiful. The entities hope to inspire Californians to landscape with native and other low water plants that thrive naturally in California without a lot of irrigation. Coastkeeper Alliance reasons that our arid landscape and water scarcity issues are permanent, and so the change in thinking about landscaping must be permanent as well. Golden lawns and empty fountains are a good temporary way to save water, but a bigger transition is needed for lasting appeal with stylish and nature-loving Californians and visitors.  

The groups are promoting the campaign with the help of a new drought mascot, the water-wise California bear. A custom art print by San Francisco-artists 3 Fish Studios features the iconic image of the bear embracing California, surrounded by succulents, flowering fuchsia, the California poppy and other native plants that thrive in California.


Innovate Your State applauds California Coastkeeper Alliance for creating a drought campaign that taps into California pride, art and business ingenuity. Share this article using the #DroughtNotDrab hashtag to spread the word and join Innovate Your State to stay up to date on the Innovator Series and beyond!

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