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DWP offers cash incentive for water-saving landscapes

June 2, 2009 |  9:50 am

Faced with another year of drought, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is offering customers a cash incentive to replace their grass lawns with drought-tolerant plants.

The Residential Drought Resistant Landscape Incentive Program will credit single-family residential customers $1 for each square foot of turf removed and replaced with drought-tolerant plants, mulch and water-permeable hardscapes, DWP officials said in a statement today.

New landscaping plans must be approved by the DWP before they are implemented and evidence of installation must be provided to receive the rebate, the statement said. DWP staff will visit customers’ homes before and after the work has been done to confirm how much grass has been replaced.

Three years of below-average precipitation and regulatory factors have resulted in shortages from the  DWP’s major water sources, the Eastern Sierras and the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta. The DWP already offers rebates for installing water-efficient appliances and fixtures.

On Monday, new water conservation measures came into effect restricting the use of lawn sprinkler systems to Mondays and Thursdays for all DWP customers. A new rate structure that encourages customers to reduce consumption also came into effect.

"As we ask our customers to cut back on their outdoor watering, the landscaping incentive provides a great alternative to maintaining their lawns," DWP Chief Executive David Nahai said in the statement.

The department estimates that 30% to  40% of water use occurs outdoors. One square foot of traditional lawn needs about 50 inches of water per year, compared with about 15 inches for most drought-resistant plants, the statement said.

Customers seeking information on the Residential Drought Resistant Landscape Incentive Program can call( 888) 376-3314.

-- Alexandra Zavis