The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California announced Thursday it is ending it rebate program for replacing lawns with drought tolerant vegetation.
Money for turf rebates is drying up, and Southern California’s largest water supplier is no longer accepting applications. The $2-per-square-foot rebate program is the largest of its kind in the country, officials say.
Despite more than a fourfold increase in the conservation budget, the supply of rebate money could not keep up with demand.
In January 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order mandating a 25 percent reduction of urban water use across the state. At that time districts consuming more than 165 gallons per day per person were required to cut consumption by 35 percent. Districts consuming smaller amounts of water – less than 55 gallons per day per person – were required to cut consumption by 10 percent.
With the hottest and driest weather cycle the western U.S. is experiencing exceptional dryness and record warming, with the past four winters producing the California’s most severe drought conditions in a century.
Summer temperatures have presented complications with soaring 100+ degree weather that scorched and dehydrated everything in the state. With no rain in sight, usage increased rather than decreased as a result.
To counter the problem, larger water districts began to develop sustainable water conservation plans to reduce their monthly water usage by 35 percent while the smaller water districts, which are the majority, had to reduce goals of 20 percent to 30 percent.
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