Residents in Los Angeles are getting paid some green to go green by getting rid of their green (lawns, that is). The city’s Department of Water and Power is paying homeowners to tear up their water-hogging lawns in favor of more drought friendly options in a bid to save water. Their efforts have already paid out to 850 property owners who have collectively removed 1.5 million square feet of grass.
LADWP has incentivized grass removal since 2009, paying $1.50 per square foot of grass. The city is raising the stakes now, by increasing the incentive to $2.00 per square foot. For an average homeowner, that can mean a couple thousand dollars, not to mention the savings in water costs.
Los Angeles has a dry climate, with near desert-like conditions, so maintaining a lawn can be a wasteful and costly proposition. By tearing out grass and putting in plants like vines, shrubs, trees and perennials, a home owner can preserve the lush environment look that they want without having to drain resources to do it. Other cities like Mesa and Austin have been using the same idea to get rid of grass. Las Vegas, which pays up to $300,000 per yard for tearing out grass, has used a similar program to save billions of gallons of water and removed over 160 million square feet of grass.