Winner of 2024 WaterSmart Landscape Contest Recognized by OMWD

At its June 19 meeting, Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors honored Rick Whitney as the winner of its annual WaterSmart Landscape design contest.

Water agencies throughout the county participate in an annual contest to encourage landscape transformations that reduce outdoor water use, are attractive, and often require less maintenance than turf-heavy landscapes. Each agency selects a winner within its service area that exhibits climate-appropriate plant selection, water-efficient irrigation, and appealing design.

“Using water efficiently outdoors will always be important in Southern California, and replacing a lawn with a water-wise landscape can significantly reduce water bills,” said OMWD Vice President Matthew Hahn. “Mr. Whitney’s California-friendly alternative to grass provides an attractive example of a sustainable, water-wise landscape.”

Mr. Whitney’s water-efficient landscape uses rainwater capture in its design. Rainwater from the roof collects in a rock riverbed, keeping it on the property and reducing runoff that can carry pollutants to waterways and beaches. An in-line drip system irrigates all other areas of the landscape.

“We decided to install a water-conserving landscape because of the severe drought California has experienced over the last decade,” said Mr. Whitney. “We are glad we did, as our water usage is down now, and our front yard looks beautiful.”

Photos of Mr. Whitney’s landscape, as well as winners from throughout the county, are available at