The Mojave Desert usually gets about five inches of rain a year â€” a real problem for lovers of lush, green lawns who wince at the sight of the water bill.
But starting Saturday, the Mojave Water Agency is reintroducing its Cash 4 Grass program that pays 50 cents per square foot of grass for those switching to water-wise landscaping. Homeowners can receive up to $3,000 for homes or up to $10,000 for businesses.
â€œWe live in a desert and this community wants to conserve because we realize that water is the most valuable asset that we have in this stateâ€ said Beverly Lowry, long-time MWA Director for the Barstow area. â€œConservation is the easiest and cheapest way to maintain our water supply.â€
A recent billing survey of one High Desert program customer showed they reduced their water usage by over 44 percent after removing a small front lawn in 2009. Some report reducing water use by as much as half, according to the MWA.
For help in planning and planting your new landscape, either talk with a local nursery or landscape professional or do-it-yourself with resources on desert smart alternatives available from http://www.mojavewater.org/desert-land scaping.html â€‰ or your local water district.
Since applicants must convert from grass to drought tolerant plants within six months after starting the program, Cash 4 Grass participants could start seeing water savings before the end of this year â€“ and well before next summer when lawn irrigation needs will once again soar.
The Cash for Grass Program is being funded for $2 million through a Proposition 84 grant from the Department of Water Resources.
Created by High Desert voters in 1960, the Mojave Water Agency is the only water wholesaler in the region with the ability to import water from the California Aqueduct to maintain a stable and sustainable water supply for the present and future citizens we serve. (Barstow Desert Dispatch, September 2012)