Chula Vista Couple Wins WaterSmart Landscape Contest

Contest winners in their yard

Chula Vista Couple Wins WaterSmart Landscape Contest

11:09 20 July in News

Program Exhibits the Importance of Water-Efficient Yards During Drought

Homeowners Bryan and Denee Felber have earned the title “Best in District” in the Otay Water District’s 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The 2,143 square feet of turf they converted to a drought-tolerant garden in 2015 continues to beautify the neighborhood and save water for the Chula Vista residents.

The Felbers reside in the Otay Water District’s division 4, which is represented by Board Director and Treasurer Jose Lopez.

Residential landscape

The Felbers’ yard before its transformation.

“Otay is proud to see that our contest winners have taken the necessary steps to limit their outdoor water use and make their home drought resilient,” said Lopez. “Now that our region is facing dry conditions, we encourage customers to do the same by taking full advantage of the programs and rebates available, which will make a significant difference in preserving our local water supply.”

Before relandscaping, the Felbers faced the high maintenance and cost that comes with keeping a grassy lawn vibrant and green. In 2015, they decided to make a change and join the San Diego County Water Authority’s WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program, which teaches residents the easiest and most efficient ways to create and maintain a low-water-use yard. The program became a great resource for the Felbers during the planning stages of their project.

That same year, they were approved for the Turf Replacement Program presented by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and San Diego County Water Authority. They received a rebate to replace 5,007 square feet of their front and back yards. But they didn’t stop there — eventually, the couple replaced an additional 202 square feet of their side yard.

Dry riverbed

A dry riverbed captures and directs rainfall, minimizing water runoff.

Spray nozzles are no longer a feature in their front yard. Instead, a drip system irrigates the plants on a programmed schedule of about three days a week. When rain is expected, the system is turned off or delayed for a few days. A dry riverbed that runs across the landscape captures and directs rainfall, minimizing water runoff.

Their completed landscape has allowed the Felbers to reduce their overall water use by approximately 33% compared to the years before upgrading.

When asked if they recommend others to consider upgrading their yards, Bryan responded “Absolutely!”

“It’s easier and requires much less time to maintain and it saves money,” said Bryan. “Designed well, it can be beautiful with far less water, reducing water demand, and preserving its supply.”

The District will recognize the couple at its August board meeting with a certificate of recognition, a gift certificate to a local nursery of their choice, a yard sign, and other promotional items.

For more information about the annual contest, visit To learn about water conservation resources, including turf replacement, visit