Droughts across the Southwest have led to annual water shortages in many areas. Often, the situation is bad enough that local and/or state governments are forced to enact restrictions on water usage, targeting lawn watering and other outdoor usage. Problem is, these policies are very difficult to implement and enforce. Additionally, these water restrictions are typically not enough of an effort to ease the crisis. Some jurisdictions are starting to get creative, offering rebates for homeowners who elect to tear out their lawns and install synthetic grass (or turf). Find out how these programs, and other efforts, are changing the landscape across the Southwest.

Lawn Law in A Changing Climate

Fake lawn

Photo by Tommy Speziale

For a long time, homeowner’s association by-laws and municipal rules prevented some people from replacing their lawns with more water-friendly alternatives like turf. This is starting to change. In Texas, where drought has cost the ranching industry big money and even contributed to wildfires, a law was passed in 2013 that prevents homeowner’s associations from banning water-conserving landscaping. Many of these alternatives not only require little water but also look great and are easier to maintain than traditional lawns.

Get Cash to Pull Out Your Grass

turf lawn

Photo by Ian Lanchbury

Some jurisdictions have gone further than placing restrictions on water usage and are encouraging homeowners to use alternative landscaping. In Roseville, CA, homeowners can receive up to $1,000 for replacing their water-hungry lawns with turf, river rocks or other water conserving options. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has instituted a similar program, called the SoCal Water$mart Program, that gives home and business-owners $1 per square foot of grass removed. Programs like these have led to an increased demand in lawn alternatives, with many homeowners choosing synthetic grass that holds its lush green color year round, requires little maintenance and even looks and feels like the real thing.

If 2014 is as dry as previous years, you can expect many other jurisdictions to implement similar measures. Contact your water provider today to find out if you’re eligible and get paid to replace your grass this spring.