Environment & Science

DWP pays Angelenos to rip put lawns

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A day after it imposed new mandatory limits on water use within the city of Los Angeles, the Department of Water and Power says it’ll pay people to rip out their lawns. KPCC’s Molly Peterson gets to the roots of the story.

A dollar a square foot. That’s how much your water-gulping lawn is worth to the Department of Water and Power if you live in Los Angeles. The Residential Drought Resistant Landscape Incentive Program offers a new rebate to DWP customers. L.A. uses as much as 40 percent of its water on landscaping.

It’ll take a little work to land a rebate for changing the way you plant your yard. DWP officials will approve peoples’ plans to replace lawns with drought-tolerant plants, native plants, or mulch, and will check up to make sure that the work’s done.

DWP says getting rid of lawns will save money – green turf sucks up more than three times the water native plants do. That amount also equals more than three times the rainwater that falls in an average year. The rebate program arrives as nearly 700,000 DWP customers are adjusting to a new sprinkler ordinance and rates that could mean higher bills for people who leave their taps running.