LBWD Continues Lawn-to-Garden Program, Despite End of Metropolitan Turf Removal Subsidies • Long Beach Post

File photo. 

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California announced today it will no longer fund turf removal projects, as its $450 million budget is exhausted.

However, in a release, the Long Beach Water Department (LBWD) confirmed it will continue Long Beach’s turf removal program, decreasing residential funding from $3.50 per square foot to $2.50 per square foot for its Lawn-to-Garden (L2G) program, which replaces lawns with drought-friendly landscapes.

“Converting landscapes from grass to drought tolerant plants is one of the biggest lifestyle changes a resident can make to save water during this unprecedented drought,” said Harry Saltzgaver, president of the Board of Water Commissioners in a statement. “Long Beach will continue to support these important efforts as strongly as we can without the assistance of Metropolitan’s funding.”

Previously, Metropolitan had subsidized $2.00 for every $3.50 per-square-foot rebate the LBWD offered in its L2G program, the LBWD release stated. Long Beach has converted 2 million square feet of landscape since implementing the program. As of May, Over 1,300 homeowners had replaced their grass lawns with gardens through the L2G program. 

“We view the conversion from grass lawns to beautiful, water-conserving landscapes not as a temporary drought response, but as a long-term change which all of California must embrace to respond to the realities of our water supply imbalance,” said LBWD General Manager Kevin Wattier in a statement. “All of California needs to permanently reduce its water consumption, and landscape conversion is the key to getting there.”

The LBWD stated that residents who had already applied to the L2G program would receive the full $3.50 per square foot rebate that was offered until this point in time. Commercial, industrial and institutional turf replacements will continue to be funded by the LBWD at $1.00 per square foot. 

Last month, the LBWD announced that in the first month of California’s mandatory water usage reporting period, the City of Long Beach exceeded its assigned conservation mark of 16 percent, reducing its water usage from last June by 19 percent.

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