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Explore California’s Turf Replacement Programs of 2024, which offer incentives and rebates for replacing grass with drought-tolerant landscaping, upgrading irrigation systems, and incorporating rainwater capture systems
Are you looking to transform your landscape while conserving water and saving money? We’ve updated our 2023 guide to bring you the latest California turf replacement programs of 2024, which offer big incentives and rebates for homeowners who make the switch to drought-tolerant landscaping. These programs not only help you save money, but also contribute to water conservation efforts, particularly in a state where water resources can be scarce.
Why does California want me to get rid of my grass?
The state of California is currently in the midst of a severe drought. In response, the state has enacted a number of measures to try to reduce water usage. One of these measures is the California turf removal program, which offers incentives to homeowners who replace their high-water-use grass with low-water-use landscaping.
As California confronts drought, extreme heat, and worsening climate change, it is critical that we deepen our investment in water conservation strategies.”Assembly Member Jesse Gabriel
What are the benefits of replacing my grass lawn in California?
In addition to saving water, there are a number of other benefits to replacing your grass lawn with low-water-use landscaping. For one, it can save you money on your water bill and it can also reduce the amount of time and effort you spend on lawn care. And, in some cases, it can increase the value of your home.
Who manages California’s turf removal rebates?
Turf replacement programs and rebates are managed by the metropolitan water districts and their member water agencies. They are open to homeowners in California who meet certain criteria, and the incentives vary depending on the size of the property and the amount of grass that is replaced. For example, a homeowner with a 2,000-square-foot lawn could receive up to $12,000 in rebates for replacing their grass with drought-tolerant plants.
If you’re thinking about replacing your grass, now is the time to act.
Our hots are getting hotter and our dries are getting drier. Our state is on track to lose 10% of its water supply by 2040 which is why we must all do our part to conserve water.”Governor Gavin Newsom
Incentives are available now, but they may not be offered in the future.
Exploring the California turf replacement programs of 2024
The state of California is home to numerous turf replacement programs, each offering unique benefits and incentives. These programs provide rebates on a per square foot basis for homeowners who:
- Remove existing grass and replace it with drought-tolerant landscaping
- Upgrade their irrigation systems
- Incorporate rainwater capture systems into the landscape
Typically, rebates are awarded upon completion and approval of the project in the form of a check.
If your rebate amount is $600 or more you will receive a 1099 form to comply with Internal Revenue Service requirements. The determination of whether your rebate is taxable or not may depend on several variables, you are recommended to contact your tax professional.Metropolitan Water District
In this guide, we have identified California’s lawn rebate programs by region (Southern, Central, and Northern) and have provided you with supporting details and link to get you started on applying for your own rebate. Equipped with this information, you’ll be able to:
- Reap the benefits of drought-resistant landscaping
- Contribute to California’s water conservation efforts
- Replace their water-intensive lawn with synthetic turf or other water-efficient landscaping
- See the savings add up in the long run
- Southern California | 2024 Lawn and Water Rebates
- Los Angeles Water$mart
- Los Angeles County California Cash for Grass Rebate Program
- Orange County California Turf Rebate Program
- Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) Rebates
- San Bernadino County Water and Sanitation Rebates
- San Luis Obispo County Cash for Grass Program
- San Diego County Waterscape Rebate Program
- Carpinteria Valley Water Districts Water Wise Landscape Rebate Program
- City of Buellton
- City of Lompoc
- City of Santa Barbara
- Goleta Water District
- Ventura County Turf Replacement Program
- Central California | 2024 Lawn and Water Rebates
- Fresno County Water Conservation Program Rebate
- The City of Kingsburg Turf Replacement Program
- The City of Madera Water Conservation Rebate
- Monterey Peninsula Water Management District Landscape Rebates
- Water Resources Association San Benito County (WRASBC)
- Stanislaus County and City of Modesto Rebate Program
- Northern California | 2024 Lawn and Water Rebates
Southern California | 2024 Lawn and Water Rebates
The SoCal Water$mart rebate and Turf Replacement program is offered by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD). In order to receive a rebate, you must apply to reserve rebate funds prior to starting your project. After the reservation, you will have 180 days to complete your landscaping project and submit your request for a rebate. MWD is offering a rebate of $2 per square foot up to 5,000 square feet of converted yard per year. Your water agency may offer an additional rebate incentive, like LADWP, which offers $5 per square foot.
Los Angeles County Waterworks Districts offers customers who live in the following districts a rebate for removing water-inefficient grass lawns and sprinklers with drought-tolerant landscaping: 21 (Kagel Canyon), 37 (Acton), 40 (Antelope Valley), 29 (Malibu and Topanga), and 36 (Val Verde). The current rate is $1 per square foot, with a minimum requirement of 500 square feet and a maximum of $5,000. The Rebate Program assists customers with reducing their overall water consumption. Contact the Los Angeles County Water District Public Works for more rebate information.
The Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and local water agencies offer the Turf Removal Program to qualifying residents and businesses across Orange County. Rebates start at $3 per square foot of turf grass removed, where program funding and participation can vary by city and water provider. Note that Artificial or Synthetic Turf is not eligible for a rebate. Also, if you have already removed your turf, your project is not eligible for this program. Projects must not be started prior to the receipt and acknowledgement of this Program’s Letter to Proceed. Do not remove your turf prior to receiving your Letter to Proceed. All approved participants must complete their project within 90 days from the date of their Letter to Proceed. Projects not completed within 90 days of the Letter to Proceed date may not receive a rebate. Funding is limited. This offer is available on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible Participants only while funding lasts. For additional information, refer to the MWDOC lawn rebate program’s terms and conditions.
CVWD is offering residential homeowners $2 per square foot for new landscape conversion projects up to 10,000 square feet or $20,000. All residential landscape rebate projects must be pre-approved before work begins. Residents must also have a green or golden-brown lawn to qualify for this conversion rebate. Eligible Projects are funded on a first-come, first-served basis. See CVWD’s lawn rebate Terms & Conditions for eligibility and project criteria.
SBMWD water customers are eligible to receive $3 per square foot, up to $3,000, for the removal of existing grass turf and replacement with approved water-efficient landscaping. Completed turf removal projects may also be eligible for an additional reimbursement up to $500 to cover the cost of a professional landscape design. Applicants must complete the Turf Removal Rebate Program application, and provide supporting documents, including a landscape design site plan and a list of all turf replacement materials for pre-approval. Pre-existing projects of turf removal, which were completed prior to the application approval by SBMWD are not eligible for this program. The Department will provide notice to proceed with the removal of turf. Please ensure your project has been approved before moving/killing turf. For more information about Water Conservation rebates and incentives, contact (909) 384-5141 or email Rebates@SBMWD.org.
The Cash for Grass Rebate Program is administered on a first-come, first-serve basis subject to availability of program funding. Property owners in the Nipomo Mesa Water Conservation Area and the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin who meet the criteria outlined in the Terms and Conditions may apply for a rebate. Rebates are offered at $1 per square foot of turf removed, where a minimum of 500 square feet of turf area must be converted to qualify for a rebate. The maximum rebate amount per property is $6,000. Program applicants must submit a completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org before beginning their projects.
Current funding for residential and commercial properties is $2 per square foot of converted yard, up to 5,000 square feet for residential properties and up to 50,000 square feet for commercial properties. To be eligible, you must fulfill the following criteria: you are a residential, commercial, or multifamily property located in unincorporated San Diego County; and you get your water from one of San Diego County Water Authority member agencies.
Carpinteria Valley Water Districts Water Wise Landscape Rebate Program covers a portion of the cost of pre-approved equipment and materials, including: irrigation equipment (drip irrigation parts, sprinkler system efficiency retrofits, rotating sprinkler nozzles, smart controllers); water-wise plants; mulch; permeable surfaces; and rain barrels. In addition, 50% of landscape design costs up to $250 can be rebated within the total rebate amount. Any combination of design costs, irrigation equipment and planting costs may qualify up to a one-time rebate of $500 for single-family homes, and up to $1,000 for commercial, multi-family, and homeowner associations. Projects must be applied for and approved in advance.
The City of Buellton is offering rebates for replacing a lawn with water-efficient plants, xeriscape, or synthetic turf in order to increase water efficiency and reduce water use. This is a “Cash for Grass” rebate program, offering eligible applicants $1 per square foot of rebate with a maximum rebate amount of $750 for eligible residential properties. For more information, see the City of Buellton Landscape Rebate Program Request Form.
The City of Lompoc is offering Water Wise Landscape Rebates when you retrofit your existing landscape with WaterWise plants and water-efficient irrigation systems. Substantial water savings must be estimated by city staff to qualify. The rebate amount is up to $1,000 for each address and can include the cost of plants, mulch, and irrigation equipment. For more information, see the Lompoc city lawn rebate application.
The City of Santa Barbara has two options for replacing your water-thirsty lawn with water-wise plants and receiving a rebate. Option 1, Watershed Works, offers a rebate of $2 per square foot with a maximum rebate of $1,000 for Single Family Residential and Multi-Family Residential (up to 4 units) properties. There is a maximum rebate of $2,000 per meter serving irrigation, and a maximum of $4,000 per property, for Commercial and Multi-Family Residential (5+ Units) properties. The Watershed Works option requires lawn replacement, irrigation efficiency retrofits (sprinkler to drip retrofit or eliminate), water wise plants (3 plants minimum per 100 square feet), and disconnecting downspout(s) that currently direct rainwater into French drains to the street, or onto impervious paved surfaces, and redirecting the water to the landscape.
Option 2, Beautiful Basics, offers a rebate of $1 per square foot with a maximum rebate of $750 for Single Family Residential and Multi-Family Residential (up to 4 units) properties. There is a maximum rebate of $1,500 per meter serving irrigation, and a maximum of $3,000 per property, for Commercial and Multi-Family Residential (5+ Units) properties. The Beautiful Basics option requires lawn replacement, irrigation efficiency retrofits (sprinkler to drip retrofit or eliminate), water wise plants (3 plants minimum per 100 square feet), and covering all planted area with 3 inches of mulch.
Both options require that no more than 25% of the rebated area is permeable flagstones or gravel. For more information and to apply, see the lawn rebate eligibility request form.
Any combination of pre-approved irrigation equipment and planting costs may qualify for a one-time rebate of up to $750 for single-family meter customers and up to $2,000 per meter for multi-family (HOA), commercial, and dedicated landscape irrigation meter customers (up to 2 meters or $4,000 per multi-family or commercial site). Refer to the Goleta smart landscape rebate application for additional information.
All customers of Ventura Water with existing turf on their property, including residential, commercial, and multi- family/HOAs are eligible (limit one rebate application per address or Ventura Water account). Rebates for turf removal and replacement with drought tolerant landscaping are as follows: $2.50 per square foot for up to 1,600 square-feet ($4,000 maximum rebate) for individual residential properties and $2.50 per square foot for up to 3,200 square-feet ($8,000 maximum rebate) for commercial properties (commercial) and “common area” multi-family
residential properties. The minimum turf area that must be removed and replaced with drought tolerant landscaping is 200 square feet. For additional information and to apply, visit the Water Wise Incentive Program website.
Central California | 2024 Lawn and Water Rebates
A $1 per square foot rebate is available for the removal of existing lawns when replaced with water-efficient landscapes. The rebate amount is based on the square footage of lawn removed and replaced, up to a maximum of 1,500 square feet. The Water Conservation Program requires that customers request a Water-Wise Landscape Consultation prior to removing a lawn for the Lawn to Garden rebate. This free service is provided by the Water Conservation Program and includes recommendations for water-wise plants suitable for the Fresno area, irrigation installation, and lawn removal. Log into the WaterWeb Customer Portal to begin your application.
City of Kingsburg water customers may be eligible for a rebate of $2 per square foot up to 1,500 square feet when they convert their existing grass area with qualifying drought tolerant landscape products. Rebates are limited to $3,000 per eligible utility billing account per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). Funding is limited and applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. See program guidelines for additional information.
City of Madera will pay customers $2 per square foot of turf removed and replaced with water-efficient landscape or $3 per square feet if replaced with artificial turf, up to 1,000 square feet maximum. The maximum rebate is $3,000. Rebates are only available to City of Madera water customers or landlords of property serviced by City of Madera Water Division. For additional information, see the program guidelines and application.
The MPWMD is offering a rebate of $1 per square foot in which a minimum of 250 square-feet of lawn must be removed (up to a maximum of 2,500 square-feet) per qualifying property. Lawn must be replaced with low water use plants or permeable surfaces (mulch, decomposed granite, etc.). To apply, download and print the Lawn Rebate Application.
The WRASBC is offering customers of all the agencies they represent a $2 per square foot rebate to replace eligible lawn areas (from 100 square feet up to 1,000 square feet). Visit the WRASBC website for steps and guidelines, as well as to submit an application.
City of Modesto customers who pay a water utility bill to the City of Modesto may be eligible for a $2 per square foot rebate when they convert their existing grass area with any qualifying artificial turf products or drought tolerant landscape products. The rebate amount may not exceed $3,000 per residential City of Modesto water account and/or $6,000 per commercial City of Modesto water account. Online applications are available on the city’s website.
Northern California | 2024 Lawn and Water Rebates
BAWSCA “Lawn Be Gone” Rebate Program (serving Alameda, Menlo Park, Mid-Peninsula Water District, San Bruno and others)
- Alameda County Water District ($2 per square foot)
- Brisbane ($1 per square foot)
- Burlingame ($2 per square foot)
- Estero Municipal Improvement District / Foster City ($2 per square foot)
- Hillsborough ($1 per square foot)
- Menlo Park ($3 per square foot)
- Mid-Peninsula Water District ($4 per square foot)
- North Coast County Water District / Pacifica ($4 per square foot)
- Redwood City ($2 per square foot)
- San Bruno ($2 per square foot)
To receive the rebate, you must submit an application and receive a Notice to Proceed from your water provider before removing your lawn. For some agencies like Alameda County, customers are also required to attend Virtual Office Hours with a Water Use Efficiency Specialist.
Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) offers rebates to customers for replacing the lawn in their front yard with water-wise landscaping. The rebate is $1 per square foot of lawn replaced up to the maximum amount. The maximum rebate for single-family residential sites is $2,000; The maximum rebate for commercial, multi-family, and municipal accounts is $20,000 per site. Confirm your site is eligible and you understand the requirements by reading the Program Terms and Conditions. Then, complete the Lawn to Garden Rebate Application.
Marin Water is offering customers a rebate of up to $3 per square foot for replacing grass in their landscapes. Homeowner reimbursements will be capped at 1,000 square feet, and business owners capped at 5,000 square feet. The base rebate of $1.50 per square foot has fewer requirements to provide customers with more flexibility while still achieving water savings. The top tier rebate of $3 per square foot is available to customers who follow best management practices to optimize long-term water savings, including: (1) sheet mulching in place versus physical removal of lawn; (2) installation of mostly California native low water use plants over at least 50% of the project area based on mature plant size; and (3) the installation of an alternative water source or stormwater capture feature such as a rain garden, rainwater harvesting cistern, or gray water system. Pre-approval by application is required to participate in this program.
The City of Napa rebate program offers $1 per square foot to replace eligible lawn areas with low-water-use, climate-appropriate plants (covering at least 50% of converted area once fully grown), and permeable hardscape (not exceeding 50% of converted area). The program is open to all properties that are served by a City of Napa water account (i.e. residential, commercial, or institutional.) The maximum rebate amounts are $750 for Single-Family Residential (equivalent to 750 square feet of lawn removed) and $2,500 for HOA/Multi-Family/Commercial/Institutional (equivalent to 2,500 square feet of lawn removed). To participate, call the Water Conservation Specialist at 707-257-9497 or Email Cash For Grass to schedule a brief pre-inspection visit to have the lawn area measured.
The Sacramento County Water Agency (SCWA) residential customers may receive a rebate of $1 per square foot up to a maximum of $2,000 per household or $1.50/square foot up to a maximum of $2,500 for commercial and industrial customers. For additional requirements and to apply, see the SCWA Cash for Grass rebate application.
Residents and businesses are encouraged to convert approved high-water use lawns and pools to low-water use landscapes. The current base rate for this incentive is $2 per square foot, up to $3,000 for residential sites and $100,000 for commercial/multi-family sites (5 or more units). Maximum rebates may be even higher in some cost sharing areas. Certain cities and/or water retailers within Santa Clara County have partnered with Valley Water to offer increased rebates on various components of the Landscape Rebate Program, including: