Governor Jerry Brown’s recent state of emergency declaration plus overall public awareness of the California drought have resulted in some new rebate opportunities for local homeowners and businesses. With no rain in sight (at the moment) and more drastic reduction measures being considered by local authorities, it’s critical that homeowners stay ahead of the game by reducing water usage gradually at home.  One of the biggest culprits of residential water use is outdoor landscaping and lawns.  Both require tons of water to survive and both are not necessary to the health and well being of humanity.  The average homeowner spends 60% of their water bill on outdoor irrigation. Turf grass usually requires most of that spend, in addition to other maintenance like mowing and fertilization. Using drought tolerant plants as turf grass replacement qualifies for rebate consideration though artificial turf may provide more convenience over time along with zero need for irrigation.

Remove your turf grass lawn, replace it with water-wise plants (or even a 50-50 combination of water-wise plants and permeable pavers), and now receive up to $2.50 per square foot after combining rebates offered by the Metropolitan Water District and the San Diego Water Authority.

Earning a rebate does take effort and organization, but here’s the gist of how to do it…

You can’t earn a rebate for just removing the lawn. A plan involving water-wise plants must be implemented (there are listed requirements online).

If removing 250 square feet or more of turf, homeowners in Southern California are eligible for a rebate of up to $1 or more per square foot from the Metropolitan Water Authority. There isn’t a maximum incentive amount. SoCal Water Smart has all of the details, but here’s a quick breakdown:

How to qualify?

It’s critical to read the requirements before jumping into a lawn replacement to make sure that you are documenting your space and project correctly.

Basic requirements include:

1. Your lawn must be alive. A dead lawn or area full of dirt doesn’t count.
2. The project has to meet the terms and conditions of the city.
3. You must not be replacing the lawn with living turf or turf-like plants.
4. Don’t break the law during your project.
5. You can’t have received turf removal rebate prior.

Reserve your rebate amount –

The good news is that you have to submit an application prior to the start of your project so you’ll know the rebate amount to expect in advance. Funds will be reserved on your behalf and current approval lead time averages two weeks. Be prepared to complete your project within 120 days.

During the application process, color photos of the existing living turf will need to be submitted along with a copy of your water bill. Capture the full range of the project, not just a close-up of grass.

Final steps –

Grab the camera again to snap color photos of the finished project. Submit them through your online account along with another water bill. You should hear back within 4-5 weeks.

It’s up to you or your contractor to sketch a drawing that outline the exact number of square feet to be replaced. SoCal Water Smart has specific directions and even some graph paper to download, if need be.