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.


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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.


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