Would You Ditch Your Grass for Cash?


grass for cashIt’s July, which probably means you’ve given up on watering your dying lawn for the rest of summer. But really, there are some other advantages to giving up your lawn all together.  You can save yourself a lot of time AND water by using artificial turf or other lawn decor (pile of rocks, anyone?). The real bonus, however, lies in possible rebates offered by your city or state for conserving water.

Water-Conservation Laws and Ordinances

You learned at an early age to not leave the water running while brushing your teeth, and someone still yells at you when you take a long shower. And while you won’t get busted for taking a daily soak in that extra-large tub, rules and regulations on water use are everywhere.

You might be surprised at some water-conservation requirements across the United States. In Arizona and Oregon, no water can be used for flushing urinals; in Las Vegas, no more than 25 percent of new landscaping can be grass, and new golf courses are limited to an average of 5 acres per hole, with a maximum 10 additional acres for driving ranges; in Southwest Florida, lawn watering is limited to two applications per week, and to before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

Who’s Incentivizing People to Get Rid of Their Lawns?

Faced with persistent drought and water-usage concerns, the city of Los Angeles is paying property owners to replace their lawns with the likes of shrubs, trees, and perennials in hopes of conserving a significant amount of water. The city’s water utility is recently raised the already-successful offer from $1.50 a square foot to $2 (with the reward capping at $4,000 per property). Since the program’s start in 2009, 1.5 million square feet of turf grass has been replaced. Similar programs are in place around the nation, including areas in MissouriMaryland, and Texas.

Water-conservation programs across the West abound. Rebates can be received (depending on the area) for using more efficient irrigation or committing to low-water-use landscaping.

And Before You Flush That Toilet…

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides rebates for those using products like water-efficient toilets, showerheads, or faucets. Water shortage is a global problem, and regions short on water suffer economically when local farmers can’t produce and crops must be imported. Help your locale by conserving water. When gardening in drought and heat, stick to plants that are native to your region and therefore adaptable to your climate. Also mulch or cultivate your soil to help retain moisture.