News Release


DATE: October 21, 2008

CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108 


Jacob proposes fire-wise, water-wise plantings to counter drought, fire

SAN DIEGO – With San Diegans facing water rationing in the near future, the County of San Diego may soon mandate drought-tolerant and fire-resistant landscaping for all new construction projects in the unincorporated area.

At the request of Vice Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to consider stricter landscape requirements that would swap thirsty vegetation with varieties that use less water and can slow the spread of fire. A report is due back in the spring.

“Some 60 percent of residential water usage goes toward watering our yards,” said Jacob. “By requiring water-wise and fire-wise landscaping, the County can help San Diegans save water, protect homes and even save money.”

Jacob praised building industry officials who supported the proposal and said businesses, residents and government need to join forces to increase water conservation.

“We are an arid region facing record drought and dwindling water supplies. The statewide water crisis is everyone’s problem,” Jacob said. “San Diegans are already conserving and many are eager to do more. Government and the private sector need to lead by example and ramp up our conservation efforts.”

Jacob encouraged residents to visit the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College. In partnership with the San Miguel Fire Protection District, the garden features a fire-wise exhibit designed to educate homeowners about fire-resistant landscaping. More information is available at

Last year, the County strengthened its landscaping rules to require drought-tolerant and fire-resistant landscaping at new County projects.