Lake Tahoe Program Pays Cash for Grass to Conserve Precious Water

  "The South Tahoe Public Utility District is working to help homeowners convert their thirsty lawns to drought-friendly landscaping with the district’s turf buy-back program." Credit - EarthJustice

"The South Tahoe Public Utility District is working to help homeowners convert their thirsty lawns to drought-friendly landscaping with the district’s turf buy-back program." Credit - EarthJustice

This innovative, incentive-based approach to conserve water has many benefits, one of which is to protect homes from wildfires by incentivizing Firewise landscaping. Firewise gardening in Hawaii has many of the same benefits including conservation of water, which is especially critical for the parched leeward sides of the islands.

From the Source:

"Another resident-favorite conservation initiative is the district’s turf buy-back program. The idea is simple: grass requires lots of water and fertilizer to keep it green, and grass that dries out and turns California “golden” is ripe for fire. Why not try drought-friendly plants instead? Rangel visits customers’ homes to photograph and measure the lawn they want to convert and to help them apply for the rebate. She says demand for turf rebates this year is higher than it’s ever been."

"Jennifer Cressy of the Tahoe Resource Conservation District has advised many local families thinking of making the switch from grass to something greener. She says about half of homes in South Lake Tahoe are second homes, and out-of-town owners are especially excited about “zero-scaping,”—creating a landscape you never need to water. But a truly Tahoe-friendly yard must also include 5 to 30 feet of “defensible space” around the outside of the house that are free of debris so firefighters have a chance to save the building from a blaze."