Rancho Mirage allocates additional $750K for turf conversion

The city said approximately 1 million square feet of living turf should be converted to more drought tolerant landscaping.
Drought conditions in California have municipalities throughout the state scrambling to help homeowners convert lawns to more drought tolerant landscaping.

Facing a larger-than-expected demand for help with turf conversions in the city, Rancho Mirage officials on Tuesday approved adding hundreds of thousands more dollars to its turf conversion program.

The news: The Rancho Mirage City Council voted to add $750,000 more to the program, bringing the total available for residents to $2 million.

  • With the additional funds, the city said in a news release it now expects approximately 1 million square feet of living turf to be converted to more drought tolerant landscaping. The resulting lower water usage is expected to be “significant.”

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Why it matters: The state adopted new emergency water conservation regulations in May, aiming for a more aggressive approach during what has amounted to another severe drought. Water providers, including the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD), were told to expect a 20% water shortage.

  • CVWD currently offers rebates of $3 per square foot for property owners who convert lawns to drought tolerant landscaping. Rancho Mirage began matching that amount for home owners — and offering a $1 per square foot rebate for HOAs and businesses — in July.

  • “The current program has exceeded all expectations with over 467,517 sq. ft. of projects submitted to date,” a staff report read. “The unanticipated demand of pending projects has placed a reserve on over $1.1 million of the currently allocated budget.”

Looking ahead: CVWD said it will continue to partner with the city to fund its portion of the program, and the city remains open to adding additional funds.

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