MWA: As The Cash For Grass Program Ends, The Real Water Savings Begin

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Although application acceptance has concluded as of April 1, participants in the Cash for Grass Program still have a lot of savings to realize. Over 300 applicants have reserved their rebate funds and are in the process of removing their high water-suing lawns and replacing them with desert landscaping. Over 50 applicants who applied during Phase II of the Cash for Grass Program, which was re-launched on November 1, 2010, have already completed their landscape conversion projects and can anticipate seeing a significant water savings on their summer bills.

It is in the hottest summer months that High Desert residents typically use the most water during the year. A significant portion of that usage – sometimes up to 70% – is used for outdoor irrigation, especially if you have a lawn. Grassy lawns are not a naturally occurring landscape plant adapted to our region, so they can often require up to 80 gallons per square foot to irrigate for a year.

This means a small lawn of 2,000 square feet could use up to 160,000 gallons per year, or about half an acre-foot (an acre-foot is equal to 325,851 gallons, which is enough to sustain two households for a year). Since most families use that much in a year indoors, a household could easily reduce half of their yearly usage by removing that lawn and replacing it with low water-using desert plants.

The Water Conservation Incentive Program – including the Cash for Grass Program – is saving High Desert water supplies at a rate of 608 acre-feet per year, or enough for over 1,200 households for a year! Despite the exhaustion of this year’s funding, the Mojave Water Agency is committed to continuing to support conservation programs that help sustain our local water supplies for future generations of residents and business owners. As funding becomes available for conservation programs, our staff will provide updates to the MWA E-newsletter and Facebook page, area newspapers, and other community newsletters to help keep the public updated on program availability. Be sure to check back in with our website at www.hdawac.org in November 2011 when the Cash for Grass Program will likely return with additional funding into 2012!

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