By Tony Lopez

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — In the middle of California’s drought, some businesses’ lawns are lush and green while others die out, prompting some to wonder if they’re following the rules.

Earl Schoen is green with envy these days, because as he shows us his not-so-green lawn, he tells us what he’s been seeing that has him seeing red.

It’s as if certain businesses and a high school dodged the drought bullet.

But why are they able to keep such green landscaping?

“The best answer to that is the prohibitions apply to all californians. It includes businesses,” said Amy Talbot with the Regional Water Authority.

One possible reason is a disconnect with the business owner telling the landscape manager to keep the lawn looking green. Since private landscapers don’t pay the water bill, they can easily overwater.

Jiffy Lube tells us they turn on their sprinklers just two days a week at its Marconi location, saying it follows the city’s rules and has replaced its sprinkler heads with more water-efficient models.

AT&T says its cuts its water use by 50 percent.

But how are the lawns staying so green?

It’s a case of you get what you pay for. Water district officials say professional landscapers are better equipped to navigate the rough waters of a drought.

But high schools like Mira Loma High don’t have the deep pockets to afford expert landscapers. Our viewer was right, and we found the school watering in the middle of the day on a day they weren’t supposed to be watering.

A San Juan Unified School District spokesperson says it was a mistake. The contractor in charge of some new construction on campus felt the need to run the sprinklers after they had been off for a week and had manually turned them on.

The school has now told the contractor to let them decide when to water. It has also cut its water use by 20 percent, and taken steps to redesign the campus to make it more drought-friendly.


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