Southland Water-Saving Rebate Numbers Demonstrate There’s More to Conservation Than Turf Removal

Public response to record drought includes robust interest in other
water-saving devices such as high-efficiency toilets, clothes washers,
rain barrels

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Replacing lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping has not been the only
game in town when it comes to the investments made by Southern
California consumers and businesses to save water in response to Gov.
Brown’s statewide mandate to reduce use by 25 percent in response to the
historic drought.

While the unprecedented interest in turf removal captured news
headlines, the public’s appetite for other water saving devices such as
high-efficiency toilets, clothes washers and rain barrels also exploded
throughout the Southland, according to numbers released this week by the
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

A report to a committee of Metropolitan’s board showed the district
issued $131 million in conservation rebates in fiscal year 2014-15,
which ended on June 30. The one-year total established the highest level
of funding for consumer and business rebates ever for the agency,
dwarfing the previous fiscal year’s $18 million conservation budget.

The 2014-15 rebates are part of the record $450 million Metropolitan has
budgeted for conservation efforts through the 2015-16 fiscal year,
representing the largest program of its kind in the nation.

Residential and commercial rebates for turf removal underscored the
public response in Southern California as Metropolitan’s financial
incentives paid for the removal of 50 million square feet of grass in
2014-15, meeting Gov. Brown’s goal for the entire state. Along with the
extraordinary turf removal numbers, Metropolitan also issued rebates for
215,000 high-efficiency toilets, 27,000 high-efficiency washing machines
and 13,000 rain barrels.

“These results demonstrate there’s more than one way to conserve,” said
Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger. “Removing turf might
have gotten the attention, but it’s the investments in other
conservation actions and devices that also serve as the foundation for
the water savings we will see in the years and decades to come.”

Although Metropolitan closed its turf rebate program in early July to
new applications after available funding had been fully allocated,
Kightlinger noted that $17 million in rebates remain available for
water-saving devices, including high-efficiency clothes washers,
toilets, weather-based irrigation controllers and rotating sprinkler
nozzles.

“At this point, there’s still time remaining and rebates available for
consumers and businesses that haven’t had the opportunity to hop on the
conservation bandwagon. But they better hurry,” Kightlinger said.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a
cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 19 million
people in six counties.
The district imports water from
the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies,
and helps its members to develop increased water conservation,
recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.

Contacts

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Bob Muir,
(213) 217-6930; (213) 324-5213, mobile