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Spurring drought-stricken Californians to turf thirsty lawns

by AirTalk®

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Workers install fake grass as part of a drought-tolerant lawn at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power building in Los Feliz. File photo by Jed Kim

Today, California's Water Board is considering imposing fines and limits on water usage. Outdoor watering accounts for more than half of residential water use, which is why local jurisdictions have been paying homeowners to rip up thirsty grass lawns and replace them with anything resistant to drought.

As KPCC’s Molly Peterson reported, the incentive programs have not proved popular yet. Records compiled from the Metropolitan Water District, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Burbank Water and Power, the City of Anaheim, the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, the Western Municipal Water District and other sources reveal that nearly 5 million square feet of lawn have been torn out because of incentive programs—that’s less than one-tenth of one percent of the square footage possible.

Why haven’t these programs caught on? What would prove to be a better incentive?


Hadley Arnold, Executive Director, Arid Lands Institute - focused on the intersecttion of design, policy, and science of water scarcity at Woodbury University in Burbank


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