Long Beach Water Commissioners Increase Turf Removal Rebate

Lawn to Garden

An example of a drought-resistant garden. Photo by Nicholas Noell

The drought is no laughing matter as the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners wants to give Long Beach residents and businesses money to help conserve as it voted to increase funding for grass removal rebates last Thursday.

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The rebates have been increased from $3.00 to $3.50 per square foot, becoming one of the highest rebates in the state.

The Lawn to Garden Program funds the first 1,000 square feet replacement of grass lawns to draught-tolerant landscapes (of which the largest lawn-to-garden project is to be found at the Army National Guard Facility). Those who apply for the full incentive amount will receive $3,500 as compensation for the costs associated with removal.

Funding comes through a partnership between the Long Beach Water Department and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Lawn irrigation consumes more than half of the city’s water supply, Harry Saltzgaver, President of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners said. The Lawn to Garden Program has made the Long Beach Water Department a leader in the state and nation for water conservation.

Approximately 1.5 million square feet of natural grass has been removed since April 2010, when the program began.

"We are ready and willing to give money away to conserve water. That's a win-win for Long Beach residents and businesses," Saltzgaver said.

As last year was one of the driest years on record in California, which has led to statewide water storage reserves, additional citywide water use prohibitions could be implemented if the draught continues another year. 

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