Desert Water Agency Adds $2 Million to Grass Removal Rebate

Kamari Esquerra

“We’re in a hot climate, we’re in a desert. Our goal is for people to make landscaping choices that reflect that and target sustainability,” said Ashley Metzger, Director of Public Affairs and Water Planning at Desert Water Agency

California’s three-year drought continues with no sign of relief. 

Desert Water Agency is increasing its grass removal rebate budget by $2 million, allowing more customers to apply for the incentive and helping residents conserve water. 

“This program to replace grass with a more water-friendly landscape had a budget of $1.65 million dollars for the fiscal year, and today the DWA board of director increased that amount to $3.65 million total for the fiscal year,” said Metzger. 

The program started the current fiscal year on July 1 and already almost 78% of the budget is committed. The increase – unanimously approved on Tuesday morning – more than doubles the program’s budget. 

“With this budget augmentation, we not only have enough to approve everything in the queue, but we have another roughly $1.3 million dollars,” said Metzger.

The rebate program applies to resident, HOA, government agency, and business customers. For an average front or back yard, the $ 3 a square foot incentive provides about $4,500 in funding to replace water thirsty grass with water-efficient plants, artificial turf, or desert landscaping.

“Grass is a very water-intensive plant,” said Metzger. “Many months of the year require multiple waters for very long times.”

An incentive that will not only help residents conserve water, but also time and money. 

“There’s less maintenance. Their water bill will be lower. And a lot of the plant choices are so much more dynamic,” said Metzger.

DWA says replacing grass with drought tolerant plants or artificial turf is the best way to conserve water as more than 70% of water usage in the Coachella Valley takes place outdoors. 

“The goal of this program is to save water today and well into the future,” said Metzger.


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