Metropolitan Water District and Member Agencies Offering Upgraded Turf Replacement Program

By on April 10, 2019
Water District Runs Out of Turf Removal Money

With summer and its accompanying heat, you may be asking if you really want to pay for your increased water bill thanks to your thirsty lawn. Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California and its member agencies understand your concern and have returned with an upgraded rebate program for customers who remove grass from their yards and replace it with sustainable landscaping.

The upgraded turf replacement program now offers $2 per square foot for the grass removal/ sustainable landscaping program which is double the rebate amount that was most recently offered. The last time MWD and its agencies offered a $2-per-square-foot incentive was during the drought of 2014/2015.

Record-setting numbers of southland customers applied for the program’s previous incentives. After awarding about $340 million in rebates, MWD had to close the program because available funding was exhausted. Now, however, up to $50 million in applications will be accepted annually.

“After so much rain this winter, people may be wondering about the continued need to be water efficient,” said Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger. “The reality is California’s long-term trend is toward hotter and drier weather. The turf replacement program will help residents and businesses get paid to make a permanent change to grow beautiful yards more suitable for the changing climate. And the crowds migrating to see this year’s wildflower superbloom is a reminder of just how beautiful and popular California’s native plants are.”

Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) is one of MWD’s 26 member agencies. EMWD President Ron Sullivan indicated that the previous rebate program was well received and customers in his district have inquired about the program’s possible return.

“Many of our customers have asked us when the funding would be increased, and our partners at Metropolitan have stepped up to provide that additional financial assistance,” Sullivan said. “We hope that our customers take advantage of this increased funding opportunity to help transform their landscapes and do their part to become more efficient at their homes and businesses.”

MWD will be launching a marketing and advertising throughout its six-county, 5,200-square-mile service area. The campaign will include multi-lingual 15-and-30-second radio ads and traffic report sponsorship, as well as online, mobile and digital ads radio ads. Some 230 digital billboards at shopping malls, movie theaters and grocery stores across the region also will feature the tagline, “DITCH YOUR GRASS, CLAIM YOUR REBATE.”

The West Basin Municipal Water District (WBMWD) – also an MWD member agency – will be returning this summer with its popular series of free classes for district residents and businesses to learn how to transform their landscapes into drought-tolerant gardens and take advantage of the updated Metropolitan rebate program.

“Over the past year, we have taught hundreds of residents how to remove their turf and transform their landscapes into water-efficient, sustainable gardens through our landscape transformation class series,” said West Basin Board President Scott Houston. “With larger turf replacement rebates now available, we are hopeful the additional cash incentive will inspire more homeowners, local governments and businesses to take the next step and replace their lawns, street medians and ornamental turf with beautiful, drought-tolerant landscapes across our service area.”

Funding for the turf removal program is allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Customers may apply for the funding and see a full list of program guidelines at www.bewaterwise.com