By Geena Martinez
ODESSA - Local landscapers are getting ready for a possible boom in business for artificial grass in Odessa.
This comes after city officials announced last week a 40% hike in water rates.
Water costs are rising and phone lines are ringing.
"Especially with the water restrictions and the increase of costs, people are really asking a lot of questions," Designer Lee Petty with Turf Specialists, said.
A 40% water rate increase is on the horizon. City council members are set to vote on the first reading of the controversial issue at Tuesday's meeting.
But homeowners are trying to getting a jump start on making sure their water bills continue to drop.
Petty said he's ready for a rush.
"When Midland rates went up there was an increase in phone calls and concern about it," Petty said. "I expect it, in Odessa, to be the same way."
Artificial yards are popping up all over the Basin. Petty said he has a four month waiting list.
"On top of the synthetic grass, some gravel, granite, xeriscape planting," he said.
On Tuesday morning, small spurts of people lined up outside Ratliff Stadium for free turf.
The stadium got new artificial grass and the Ector County School District was giving away the old field.
We called the ECISD athletics department who said they were flooded with callers about the free turf, many of whom were against the proposed water hike.
"You could barely water anyways," resident, David Garten, said. "No, now that I have a house, no increase. I wanna get some turf so I don't have to water."
But as the day developed, ECISD decided not offer the old turf anymore.
"The turf is perfectly safe," District Spokesman, Mike Adkins, said. "But when we don't have control of it and we're not sure how people are gonna handle it, or what they're gonna do with it or how they're gonna install it, it's really just best that we go ahead and dispose of it ourselves. The risk is slight but we don't wanna take it."
But whether it's free or paid for, Petty said fake grass could become more common than not.