Free rocks in California?

By |  April 6, 2015

While watching a television news report about the California drought, I learned of the state’s plans to cut water usage. The report discussed an initiative to replace 50 million sq. ft. of lawns throughout the state with drought-tolerant landscaping in partnership with local governments. And the video showed landscapers dumping wheelbarrows full of rocks onto a property. Free aggregate. Free to the homeowner. Paid for by some municipalities in the state.

Palm Springs is one area helping homeowners in this way. The city has ordered 50 percent cuts in water use by city agencies, and plans to replace the lawns and annual flowers around city buildings with native landscapes. It is paying residents to replace their lawns with rocks and desert plants, and offering rebates to people who install low-flow toilets.

Following the lowest snowpack ever recorded and with no end to the drought in sight, Governor Jerry Brown announced the state’s actions, which are designed to save water, increase enforcement to prevent wasteful water use, streamline the state’s drought response and invest in new technologies that will make California more drought resilient.

For the first time in state history, the governor has directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across California to reduce water usage by 25 percent. This savings amounts to approximately 1.5 million acre-ft. of water over the next nine months.

If you’re an aggregate producer supplying rocks as a part of such a program in California, we’d like to know how it has affected your business. Write to me at

Photo by Suzanne Hunt

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About the Author:

Darren Constantino is an editor of Pit & Quarry magazine. He can be reached at

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