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Removing More LA Lawns In Works

May 28,205

MWD Increases Turf Removal- 175 Mil Sq Ft

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 6.53.37 AMIn response to the continued drought, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board of Directors Tuesday approved a $350 million increase to its existing budget for turf removal and water conservation programs bringing it to a total of $450 million. According to MWD, the conservation budget is now the largest of its kind in the nation.
With Tuesday’s actions, MWD greatly expanded its turf replacement program which has been besieged with requests since Gov. Jerry Brown’s April 1 order mandating 25% statewide water use reductions. MWD’s turf removal program currently has rebate requests for more than 100 million square feet (or about 60,000 front lawns) and receives up to 10,000 applications per month. In early May, the district also says it reached a new record, receiving $49 million in requested conservation rebates in one week.
The expanded program is expected to result in the removal of about 175 million square feet of turf and projected to save about 80 million gallons of water per day for Southern California.
In addition to the expanded budget, MWD also approved changes to the turf removal program that establish tiers based on the amount of turf being removed. Residential customers will now receive $2 per square foot for up to 3,000 square feet. Public agencies, commercial and other non-residential properties also may receive similar rebates but are subject to specific terms and annual limits.
“Our goal is to equitably provide rebate funds to as many people as possible and lock-in permanent changes in water use by transforming to drought-tolerant landscapes that better fit our Mediterranean climate,” said MWD Board Chair Randy Record in a statement released Tuesday.
According to MWD’s General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger, the water conservation program increase was made possible by higher-than-expected water sales revenue and fiscally responsible budgeting and is not expected to result in higher rates for customers.
“This is a historic one-time investment in conservation as opposed to a new long-term spending initiative that would have rate impacts,” said Kightlinger.

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