Residents in wealthy neighborhood given highest turf rebate payouts

Since the start of the drought state rebate programs to incentivize homeowners to install water saving synthetic turf have exploded.  Becoming very popular there are thousands of people who have taken advantage of these rebates to lower the costs of purchasing and installing synthetic turf.  The rebate programs are widespread and available to most everyone but here we take a closer look at how some of the city’s most wealthy neighborhoods were given highest turf rebate payouts.

Residents of Rancho Santa Fe, who along with those in Solana Beach have come under fire for using large amounts of water, received the five highest payouts for removing lawns in response to the continuing drought, according to reports.

The top five Metropolitan Water District turf removal grants rewarding homeowners who replaced up to an acre of turf at a time with drought-tolerant plants or synthetic materials ranged from $48,000 to $70,000, according to data obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune. The amounts topped rebates given to homeowners in other affluent areas, including Malibu and Beverly Hills.

In April, Rancho Santa Fe and Solana Beach customers supplied by the Santa Fe Irrigation District used 426.6 gallons of water per capita, per day, according to the State Water Resources Control Board. By comparison, customers of urban and suburban cities and water districts used between 100 and 150 gallons per capita, per day.

The criticized customers in the Santa Fe Irrigation District removed about 373,000 square feet of turf under the rebate program, according to the data. The district’s usage rates fell 42 percent in in the 2 months following the installations.

The Metropolitan Water District’s Artificial turf Installation or removal program initially had no limits on amounts that could be paid, and its $340 million budget was exhausted in just one year,.

A message on the water district’s website said that although it was on track to remove more than 170 million square feet of turf, turf removal incentives were no longer being offered because funding had run out. Residents on standby in case more rebate money became available were placed on a wait list, and will be notified if selected via email in 2016.