Published: July 1, 2015

    Rebates Fueling Californians’ Desire for Drought-resistant Lawns

    The lingering California drought has been a disaster for most area residents and businesses, which have been forced to adhere to strict restrictions aimed at lowering consumption. On the other hand, it’s been a boon for state landscaping companies, who’ve seen a tremendous uptick in calls for remodeled front lawns.

    In an effort to urge residents to get rid of their thirsty grass lawns, the state has begun subsidizing renovations centered on replacing non-native grasses with rocks and drought-tolerant plants and shrubs. Recently, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to add $350 million to its turf removal and water conservation programs, which will create rebates for homeowners who are willing to make the change.

    Will it Make a Difference?

    Although subsidizing residential lawn renovations may seem like an expensive investment, it’s expected to pay big dividends. Of the 320 gallons of daily water used by the average American household, 30 percent goes to outdoor use. About half that is consumed by lawns and gardens, amounting to a total of 9 billion gallons per day nationwide.

    The numbers are even more staggering in drier states like California, where approximately 60 percent of its daily residential water usage goes to landscaping irrigation. By converting millions of square acres of grass to drought-resistant landscaping, the state could substantially lower water consumption and eliminate some of the strain on municipal water supplies.

    Is it Working?

    According to local landscaping companies, their phones have been ringing off the hook since community governments began offering rebates. In fact, some say they have waiting lists that span weeks or months. Now that some communities are offering rebates amounting to $2 per square foot, the demand is expected to rise even faster.

    All told, the arrangement appears to be a win-win for everyone. The economy enjoys the benefit of prosperous local businesses; communities enjoy less strain on diminishing water supplies; and residents enjoy the opportunity to get thousands of dollars in return for beautifying their lawns with lavender, pampas-style grasses, sage and other drought-resistant vegetation. Many cities in California now offer incentives for water softener alternative with salt free technology purchases due to their impact on the environment and how much water they save in comparison to salt-based softeners. Check with your local city water department to find out more.