When you turn to page 42 of this month’s issue, you’ll see an illustration of some landscapers in the Northeast looking over some shrubs at landscapers in Florida, Texas and California.

The contractors in those states are removing turf in place of a xeriscape, installing a rain barrel and observing sprinkler run times.

It ties in with our first story in this year’s Water Issue, which features two contractors in Connecticut talking about the drought the state went through last summer.

They give details about how their customers never had much interest in water conservation. Sure, there were some who did it for environmental reasons, but the large percentage of residents didn’t think twice about running out of water until the state was on a drought watch.

So, the illustration is a bit dramatic and our message here isn’t that Connecticut or that area of the country will soon find itself in the same position those three states did. Or that landscapers in wet parts of the country should be taking diligent notes now and spending all their time preparing for the worst.

But we wanted to paint a picture that drought can hit almost any area, and it’s important to be prepared. From talking to those contractors, it’s clear they had for years been trying to entice customers to try some water efficient products, but, for the most part, were met with resistance.

As water conservation continues to pop up more consistently in the news, landscapers can take advantage of it by offering customers ways to save money in the long run.

Water conservation doesn’t have to be a political statement or a cause you’re pushing. It can be a business opportunity to make money and satisfy your customer, whatever their reason is for purchasing water-efficient services from you.

It’s why I found our story on page 60 so refreshing. The story is about Jesse Lafian, a recent graduate from the University of Georgia who won a contest for a soil sensor he invented.

We wanted to paint a picture that drought can hit almost any area and it’s important to be prepared.

The sensor sounds interesting, but what stood out to me was that Jesse joined a business start-up program to make some money off it, and maybe turn it into a career.

So even if you don’t offer irrigation services, maybe it’s time to look into it.

Or, at the very least, become educated enough to offer advice to your customers when they need it. – Brian Horn