L.A. Ups Payout for Lawn Replacement

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An incentive offered to encourage Angelenos to remove water-guzzling lawns was raised Monday from $3 to $3.75 per square foot, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced during an inaugural meeting of his “water cabinet.”

The team of city and outside experts, which will meet monthly, was directed by the mayor to come up with water conservation strategies to reduce the amount of imported water purchased by the city amid the state’s record-setting drought.

Garcetti’s Oct. 14 executive directive laying out his water conservation initiatives, and establishing the cabinet, calls for slashing the city’s fresh water use by 20 percent by 2017, and cutting imported water purchased by the Department of Water and Power by 50 percent by 2024.

Garcetti said the DWP’s $3.75-per-square-foot Cash in Your Lawn incentive is being offered “in response to the historic drought” and is the “most generous incentive ever” offered by the city.

“Los Angeles residents have made our city a leader in water conservation — today we’re using the same amount of water as we did 40 years ago, with 1 million more people — but with our current water crisis, we need to do even more,” Garcetti said.

“Conserving water through DWP rebate programs is not only better for the environment, it’s cheaper for ratepayers, costing 30 percent less than buying expensive water from outside our city,” he said.

The incentive drops to $2 after more than 1,500 square feet of residential lawn is removed. Commercial customers are still only eligible for the $3-per-square-foot incentive for projects between 250 and 10,000 square feet, with the offer lowered to $2.50 for projects between 10,000 square feet and an acre, and finally to $2 for projects bigger than an acre.

The mayor’s water cabinet, which will also monitor the city’s water use levels each month, is led by  Chief Sustainability Officer Matt Petersen and Deputy Mayor Doane Liu, and includes officials from the DWP, Bureau of Sanitation, Recreation and Parks, Metropolitan Water District and city’s Proposition O Citizens Oversight Advisory Committee.

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