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Calif. couple charged after removing lawn

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Water conservation

Calif. couple charged after removing lawn

Effort to save water violates city ordinance

  • vzaliva/Flickr

An Orange, Calif., couple was charged with misdemeanor for not having enough plants in their yard.

Quan Ha and his wife, Angelina, said they were wasting thousands of gallons of water and hundreds of dollars keeping their lawn green, so they took it out.

“Our water bill was $180 every two months,” said Ha, 36, told the Orange County Register. “We wanted to save money, and we didn’t want to spend $125 a month on our gardener, and we really didn’t want to use fertilizer or water.”

They placed wood chips over the bare dirt after the city complained, but it wasn't good enough. City ordinances require that 40 percent of the yard have live plants.

They installed plants that require less water, but the city was not appeased. On Tuesday, the couple will appear in Orange County Superior Court to challenge the charge.

"It's just funny that we pay our taxes to the city and the city is now prosecuting us with our own money. Doesn't it waste funds to go back and forth in court, rather than sending pictures, e-mails and having phone conversations?" Quan Ha told the Los Angeles Times.

Meanwhile, the couple said they had reduced their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009, the Times said.

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