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About two years in the planning and building, the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation Demonstration garden is a partnership between the university, its Water Resources Institute (WRI) and several community partners who were seeking to educate San Bernardino Valley residents about ways to lower their outdoor water consumption.

A state mandate adopted in 2009 compels urban water supplies to achieve a 20 percent per capita reduction by 2020. One way to do this is by replacing irrigated grass with water-wise landscaping. But there is a lack of knowledge about planning, building and maintaining these landscapes, along with the misconception that saving water on landscapes limits homeowners to cactus. That is not the case, and the demonstration garden is a colorful testament to the variety of looks available.

The Garden was built without state funds, with major donations from San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District ($500,000), San Manuel Band of Mission Indians ($100,000), and Inland Empire Resource Conservation District ($50,000).

In-kind gifts included labor, soil, plants, signage, and technical advice.