MALIBU/WEST HOLLYWOOD—The West Basin Municipal Water District has increased its turf removal incentive to $3 per square foot for its customers, who include residents of Malibu, Ranchos Palos Verdes, Carson, West Hollywood, and several other cities.
The limited time program, devised using a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, is expected to save 20 million gallons of water per year. The district’s incentive program is one of many water conservation measures that districts across California – the driest state during the summer, with an average monthly rainfall of a quarter inch – have been recently adopting. Water districts, whose principle aim right now is conservation, have to struggle with a large influx of new residents every year. According to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the state is expected to receive 2.6 million new residents over the next 15 years – the equivalent of the population of Kansas moving west.
The Los Angeles County of Public Works has a similar program they call “Cash for Grass,” which offers property owners $1-$2 per square foot of turf removed, for up to 5,000 feet. Like most of the programs, it recommends replacing turf with desert plants, mulch, rocks, stepping stones, “permeable hardscape,” and artificial turf.
Some cash rebate programs aren’t running as smoothly as intended. Back in May, 70 residents participated in Coachella’s $75,000 turf-conversion program. The city ran out of money through July, although one resident did win the city’s “Most Beautiful Water Saving Yard” award.