Amidst a record drought, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has responded to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's Executive Directive to increase its rebate for replacing lawn with California Friendly Landscaping to $3.75 a square foot from the prior $3 a square foot. The new level is the highest for residential customers of any utility in Southern California. The rebate, a key incentive of the Cash in Your Lawn program, is effective now and is available to all LADWP residential water customers and applicable for the first 1,500 square feet of turf removed.
"In response to our historic drought, starting today we're giving residents $3.75 per square foot to replace their lawns - the most generous incentive ever - to encourage water conservation and meet our goal of cutting water use by 20% over the next three years," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Los Angeles residents have made our city a leader in water conservation – today we're using the same amount of water as we did 40 years ago, with 1 million more people, but with our current water crisis, we now need to do even more. Conserving water through DWP rebate programs is not only better for the environment, it's cheaper for ratepayers, costing 30% less than buying expensive water from outside our city."
The incentive was announced at Mayor Garcetti's first meeting of his Water Cabinet today at City Hall. The Cabinet is responsible for ensuring city departments hit targets outlined in Garcetti's executive directive [see http://tinyurl.com/LADrought] and will focus on long-term initiatives to ensure long-term sustainability of L.A.'s water supply.
"We applaud the Mayor for pushing for a boost in the rebate amount, as we see more and more customers looking to switch out their gardens with water conserving plants," said Marcie Edwards, general manager, LADWP. "Cash In Your Lawn has been extremely popular since its inception, so we expect this greater incentive amount will accelerate our success rate with this program as people learn about the water wise advantages of California Friendly landscaping versus lawns."
The Mayor's Executive Directive also steps down to $2 a square foot for turf removal above 1,500 square feet for residential customers, while maintaining the tiered commercial rebate at its current level of $3 a square foot from projects between 250 and 10,000 square feet; $2.50 a square foot for projects over 10,000 square feet and under an acre; and $2 a square foot for an acre or more. (Rebates are cumulative.)
LADWP customers interested in the Cash in Your Lawn program must pre-apply for a rebate and receive LADWP approval before starting the turf removal project. The Department may also inspect the lawn before it is removed and return when the project is completed. Since LADWP implemented the California Friendly landscaping incentive program in 2009, more than 8.9 million square feet of turf has been replaced, resulting in 390 million gallons of water saved.
Concurrently, LADWP has enhanced its water conservation customer resources by providing customers with a searchable database of rich and diverse California Friendly plants to use along with design planting templates.
According to Jim McDaniel, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager for the Water System, "With approximately 40 to 60 percent of L.A.'s drinking water used outdoors, our focus is on providing additional resources to customers interested in establishing gardens with California Friendly plants during the fall planting season. We will continue to offer our California Friendly Landscape Training classes through 2015 to customers interested in learning about the benefits of a low water use garden. Customers can now search a variety of plants in our new interactive website or chose from one of four planting templates if they are in need of design assistance."
To read about on the Mayor's Executive Directive, go to www.lamayor.org/drought. For more information about the Cash In Your Lawn program, for landscaping rebates and other tips, visit www.ladwp.com/WaterConservation. To view the searchable plant database and planting templates, visit http://www.ladwp.cafriendlylandscaping.com/. To apply for the rebate before starting a turf removal and re-landscaping program, visit www.socalwatersmart.org.
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