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Lawn & Sprinkler Replacement Incentives

Customers can receive $1.00 per square foot for the replacement of natural, irrigated lawn with low water use features (plants, artificial grass, decorative rock, organic mulch).  In addition, or separately from lawn removal, there is a $0.50 per square foot incentive for the conversion of an associated sprinkler irrigation system to drip or dripper line type irrigation. The total incentive provided for these projects may not exceed an amount of $2,000.00 for Single-family sites, and $5,000 for Multi-Family, Commercial, Institutional, Industrial and Large Landscape sites.

The amount of lawn area required to be replaced by mature plant canopy decreases as project size increases. The following amount of mature plant canopy coverage is required:

  • 50% canopy coverage - for renovated lawn area up to 1,000 square feet.
  • 25% canopy coverage - for the additional renovated lawn area between 1,000 square feet and 10,000 square feet.
  • 10% canopy coverage - for the additional renovated lawn area over 10,000 square feet.

Project Criteria for the Lawn and Sprinkler Replacement Incentive

  • It must be possible to water remaining grass areas separately from other bedding areas.
  • It must be possible to water high water need plants (such as vegetables, or annuals) separately from other areas.
  • As designed, the estimated water use of the new landscape must be lower than that of the landscape replaced.
  • To reduce water loss through evaporation, a 3" layer of mulch material must be used in planting beds.
  • Manual irrigation controls are permitted in the completed project. No automatic rain shut off device is required on manually controlled systems.  It is advised to operate drip irrigation with a timer or dedicated shut off device.
  • The irrigation system must be in a good state of repair and must water areas with reasonable efficiency such that it can be used without water waste. Examples of unacceptable waste would be: excessive water hitting non-plant areas, excessive water in specific areas or too little water in others, or pooling water from ineffective spray.
  • The determination of the eligible square footage of lawn or sprinkler system replacement is at the discretion of the MCWD staff.
  • For the Lawn and Sprinkler Replacement Incentive in areas with permanent, automated irrigation, the eligible square footage is that area receiving irrigation coverage.
  • For manually irrigated lawn replacement, without the removal of an established irrigation system, Lawn Area is that area occupied by lawn, not necessarily the area receiving irrigation coverage. Lawn shall be defined as a uniform, established planting of desirable grasses that is regularly watered, manicured, and cared for.

Calculation of Potential Water Savings

The conversion of 1,000 square feet of turf grass to drought tolerant, low water use plants is estimated to reduce the water requirement by 77 percent. In Marina, the reduction in plant water needs is lowered from approximately 37,200 gallons to 8,680 gallons per year.

Replacing 1,000 square feet of turf grass could save approximately 28,520 gallons of water. If water saved was billed to the customer in the second tier of water charges, then:

  • The annual estimated water cost savings for a typical 500 square-foot lawn conversion project in the Marina Service Area could be $98.18, and a 1,000 square foot lawn conversion project could save $162.24.
  • The annual estimated water cost savings for a typical 500 square-foot lawn conversion project in the Ord Service Area would be $196.36, and a 1,000 square foot lawn conversion project of could save $324.47.
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