Sacramento homeowners could receive thousands of dollars in rebates for getting rid of their lawns

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Sacramento has embarked on the first phase of a water conservation plan, which calls for it to cut irrigation to parks and greenbelts by 10%. 

The city wants residents to do the same, in part by getting rid of their lawns. 

Sue Regan said she is proud of her new backyard landscape, which doesn’t have a blade of traditional lawn grass. 

No lawn means smaller water bills. 

“We’re now saving $80 a month,” Regan told FOX40.

That’s what Sacramento city officials want to hear as drought conditions worsen. Since the last major drought, more people have redone their landscaping. 

A typical lawn uses 50,000 gallons of water a year. Faulty or improperly programmed timers mean much of that water is wasted. 

A program to give rebates to those who replace their lawns with drought-tolerant plants was doubled this year, offering homeowners up to $6,000. 

“We’ve already had about 150 applications, so that’s a pretty big jump in numbers,” said Carlos Eliason, a spokesperson with the Department of Utilities 

“It’s been really busy,” said landscape designer Molly Roy, who founded Terran Design. “All of a sudden a lot of people are interested in switching out their lawns.” 

 Roy has been fielding a lot of phone calls about the rebates. 

“I know I see a lot of dry lawns out there and people are really motivated now,” she said.

The city isn’t just handing out money. Project plans and sites are inspected before and after the project is completed, and certain rules have to be met. 

“For example, 60% of that new landscape should be coverage of drought-tolerant plants,” Eliason explained.

Native plants that use little to no water are now available as more and more people switch over. 

Regan was doing away with her front lawn. 

“I hope that we can get it, that we qualify for it. I’m going to call up right away and find out about it,” she told FOX40.

The city says it will guide applicants through the process to make it as painless as possible. 

Sacramento offers a number of other rebates for water-saving toilets, faucets and irrigation systems as well in its efforts to conserve water.

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