Environment & Science

Meet Lawn Dude: A recovering water addict who wants you to help him kick the habit

You'll be seeing the Lawn Dude on digital billboards around Southern California, but don't let him drink more than two days a week.
You'll be seeing the Lawn Dude on digital billboards around Southern California, but don't let him drink more than two days a week.
Molly Peterson/KPCC

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In the thirstiest days so far in the state’s ongoing drought, a new spokesman has emerged to get Southern Californians to save water. Meet Lawn Dude.

He’s not really a dude at all. As a lawn, he looks like he’s got a green tennis ball for a head…and he’s got a drinking problem that we enable with all our watering.

Clear Channel Outdoor and the nonprofit Southern California Water Committee are bringing the exploits of Lawn Dude to a billboard near you. The SCWC’s Charley Wilson says Lawn Dude wants you to help him stop drinking.

“Just cut back on your usage on your lawn,” Wilson says. “Drinkable water should be put in your mouth and drank. Not on the lawn.”

From a Twitter account, Lawn Dude points out nobody likes a drunk lawn.

Certainly state water regulators don’t: newly enacted rules set fines for excessive outdoor watering. But Charley Wilson says Lawn Dude can be effective because he’s edgier than something a public agency could do.

“This character has an ability to go places, say things, do things, that other people just can’t get away with.”

Clear Channel is providing some of those places: It's donating space on 25 digital billboards in LA and Orange counties. On one, Lawn Dude says he wants to cut back to only drinks two days a week. On another, he expresses disdain for being hosed.

SCWC's Charley Wilson didn't say how much the campaign costs. 

The campaign is supposed to be playful, says LA City Councilman Felipe Fuentes.

“I think Lawn Dude is a really interesting character cause he doesn’t want to get hosed, and if you’re a ratepayer and you’ve got a bill, you also don’t want to get hosed in the bill,” Fuentes said. “So conservation does two things. It does your part for Los Angeles and California and it also saves you a ton of money.”

The SCWC’s Wilson points out the digital billboards permit the message of the campaign to get tougher if necessary.

“Lawn dude, while he’s laid back, will say what he needs to say in order to get attention," he said.

He’s expected to be hanging out at least through the end of summer.