June 8 2018 10:45 AM

The $1 increase represents the first significant change to the agency’s Water Smart Landscapes Program in three years.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority, Las Vegas, will now pay residents and business owners $3 for every square foot of dry grass they rip out and replace with desert landscaping, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

It’s reported that the $1 increase represents the first significant change to the agency’s Water Smart Landscapes Program in three years. Agency officials say they hope raising the rebate will spark more participation in the program, which has seen a decline in turf conversions over the past decade.

Program participants must apply and submit to site inspections before and after their landscape conversion.

The Last Vegas Review-Journal reports that the agency has paid $2 per square-foot for the first 5,000 square feet of grass removed since 2015. Now participants will get $3 each for the first 10,000 square feet and $1.50 for every square foot after that, up to a total rebate of $300,000.

The Water Smart Landscapes Program is a conservation measure adopted by the authority in the early 2000s in response to drought on the Colorado River. The river supplies about 90 percent of the community’s water.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority has paid out more than $200 million in rebates who have removed roughly 185 million square-feet of lawn since the program launched in 1999.