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HERRIMAN — As the drought intensified over the summer, many Utahns made adjustments in their landscapes to save water.
The state helped set an example Tuesday by flipping the parking strip for four eager homeowners in Salt Lake County.
"We're saving water. We're converting a park strip. We're tearing out the turf that was there and putting in water-wise landscaping using a localscapes design," said Candice Hasenyager, director of the Utah Division of Water Resources.
Hasenyager joined in with a shovel as her team and a group of landscapers put on a blitz to simultaneously flip the strips.
They took the turf out of the parking strips and put in pretty plants and mulch that need a lot less water.
"We want this to be a billboard for the neighborhood, so other people see it and say, 'That looks really beautiful and it saves water,'" said Hasenyager.
KSL-TV caught up with her crew at the "Up" house in Herriman, modeled after the home from the Disney movie.
The Utah Division of Water Resources ran the opportunity on Facebook for several days and had 199 applications.
They ultimately selected homeowners eager to save water, who can showcase the beauty of their strips.
"Grass is awesome and is great and has its purpose, but so do other things, so it's nice to have a balance between them," said Kim Eden, a local landscaper who owns and operates Eden's Garden Design.
She is one of the landscapers who pitched in Tuesday.
The plants they used are not only native and water-wise, "but they also bring in a lot of pollinators, a lot of bees and a lot of hummingbirds, so they feed our native insects and animal populations, too," said Eden.
The strip they flipped will save the homeowner about 5,000 to 10,000 gallons of water a year.
In general, swapping out turf for water-wise plants on a drip system can save about two-thirds on water in that zone.
"If we all do it, it will add up, and it will become a significant amount," said Hasenyager.
This was a one time opportunity because of limited funds for the program.
They hope to get more money from the state legislature for next summer.