In the midst of a severe, long-term drought, California is taking unprecedented steps to discourage watering of residential lawns, with some areas offering residents substantial cash incentives for installing water-saving landscaping, AFP reports.
The “Cash in Your Lawn” program in Los Angeles offers residents up to $6,000 ($3 per square foot) for replacing their lawns with drought-tolerant plants, rocks, and pebbles. Throughout the state, Governor Jerry Brown recently prohibited lawn watering more than two times per week and banned fines for brown lawns, which homeowner associations sometimes impose with the intent of improving a neighborhood’s appearance.
The drought, currently in its third year, threatens the water supply of California’s 38 million residents. Agricultural regions have already seen severe water reductions, placing extra pressure on the state’s groundwater reserves. Roughly five percent of croplands across the Central Valley, Central Coast, and Southern California have been made fallow due to the drought, say researchers from the University of California, Davis.