Residents, businesses and public agencies across the San Diego region can save money on artificial turf and save water at the same time through a pilot program launched by the San Diego County Water Authority in partnership with artificial turf companies.
The public-private partnership is part of the agency’s drought response effort and is designed to help increase water conservation during what is shaping up to be a fourth consecutive dry year. It offers a 10 percent discount on turf materials and installation from participating retailers. Participating companies currently include Turf Evolutions, EasyTurf, Hellas, Athletic Turf Solutions and Players Turf USA.
The program is open to residential, commercial and public sector property owners. No application is necessary. Customers can call any of the participating vendors and mention the Water Authority’s program.
Discounts offered by artificial turf companies can be combined with a turf removal rebate of $2 per square foot from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to provide substantial savings on both professional and do-it-yourself artificial turf projects. Turf removal rebates are partly funded by the Water Authority through water rates paid to MWD.
“Conserving water remains extremely important to our community, and this innovative artificial turf program gives customers another way to save at minimal cost to ratepayers,” said Mark Weston, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “Conditions for 2015 aren’t looking great, and it’s critical that each home, business and public agency find additional ways conserve, whether it’s a simple step such as taking shorter showers or a bigger commitment such as replacing water-intensive lawns.”
Outdoor water use is a focal point of regional conservation efforts because about half of the water consumed at the typical home is for landscaping. Water-efficient landscapes can cut outdoor water use by up to 70 percent through a combination of proper plant selection and irrigation technology.
“There are many ways to make landscapes more efficient, and there is strong demand for artificial turf as one of those options,” said Jason Foster, director of public outreach and conservation for the Water Authority. “This pilot program will help expand the affordability of artificial turf to more customers. We appreciate the leadership Turf Evolutions, EasyTurf, Hellas, Athletic Turf Solutions and Players Turf USA have shown by providing an incentive that will motivate more customers to conserve water.”
Additional options to help customers reduce water use include incentives for purchasing high-efficiency toilets, high-efficiency clothes washers and rain barrels. The Water Authority also offers free classes about installing WaterSmart landscapes, plant fairs that offer discounts on low-water-use plants, an online WaterSmart plant gallery for the San Diego region, and the electronic flipbook “eGuide to a WaterSmart Lifestyle.” For more information about conservation resources and upcoming plant fairs, click on the “Programs & Incentives” button on WaterSmartSD.org.
Mandatory prohibitions against water waste are in place across San Diego County to keep stored water reserves as high as possible going into the summer. After an extremely hot and dry 2014, the current allocation from the State Water Project – an important water source for San Diego County – has been set at only 15 percent of requested supplies. The figure may fluctuate up or down depending on precipitation over the next few months.
In late January, state officials reported the statewide snow water content was 25 percent of its historical average. They said it would take heavy precipitation and cooler temperatures over the next three months for California to begin recovering from drought.
The Water Authority’s Board has declared a Drought Alert condition calling for mandatory water conservation measures. Restrictions vary by member agency. For information about local water-use rules, along with details about drought conditions and conservation-related resources, go to www.whenindrought.org.