Joint DWP-VA project saves water, money

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Molly Peterson/KPCC

Officials with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power hold a press conference on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010 to tout a water-conservation effort at the West Los Angeles Healthcare Center.

Seven and a half acres of grass turf at the Veterans Administration Healthcare facility in west Los Angeles have been replaced with drought-resistant landscaping - and a rebate check from the Department of Water and Power.

In a presentation this morning DWP water conservation officials are giving $328,317 to the VA.

The VA healthcare system in Los Angeles is getting $1 for every foot of grass replaced under a program DWP initiated among commercial and industrial water users.

Veterans administration officials say the new drought-tolerant landscaping will be the focus of a healing environment for their patients.

The landscaper who installed it - The Turf Company - is a veteran-owned operation, and apparently employed veteran patients to help with the work.

The turf company's John Young showed off his turfless creation, scattered with native and drought-tolerant plants.

The plant specialist he worked with encouraged using plants from New Zealand, South Africa, Latin America and other places where water for landscaping is ata premium.

"This was 'Caddyshack' out here," he said, referencing the cult comedy movie. "Every four feet you found a gopher. Why wouldn't you want all this instead?"

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