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Southland residents giving up lawns to save water, get rebates

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Metropolitan Water District of Southern California/ Facebook

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California/ Facebook

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The number of Southern Californians willing to give up their lawn in exchange for water-saving rebates has nearly doubled so far this year compared to the past five years, thanks in part to the Metropolitan Water District doubling its rebate, the water agency announced today.
In May, the Metropolitan Water District, which provides water for nearly 19 million people in six Southern California counties, raised its rebate for lawn removal from $1 to $2 per square foot.
In July, requests for residential turf removal rebates increased to 2.5 million square feet –equivalent to removing 1,665 typical Southland front yards — from 99,000 square feet in January, according to the MWD.
“The tremendous public response clearly demonstrates that Southern California residents and businesses are fully engaged and enthusiastically answering the statewide mandate to lower demands in this difficult drought,” said Randy Record, chairman of the MWD board.
Lawn removal rebates increased from 22,000 square feet in January to 4.7 million square feet of turf — about 82 football fields — in July alone.
In the first seven months of the year, commercial rebates nearly tripled, and residential incentives doubled compared to the similar period last year, according to the MWD.
Visitors to bewaterwise.com, the district’s online drought information and rebate site, quintupled between January and July, according to the water wholesaler.
Demands for imported water from the MWD have dropped 15 percent compared to the last dry cycle in 2006-07, despite the population of the MWD’s coverage area growing by more than 500,000 people. “Southern California’s recent gains in water-use efficiency continue a long pattern throughout the region that has seen per capita water use drop about 25 percent since 1990,” MWD General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said.

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