March 8 2019 12:38 PM

Its turf replacement program has reportedly lacked interest in past years.

On Feb. 12, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s board doubled the rebates in its turf replacement program from $1 to $2 per square foot. It also increased the eligible area from 1,500 to 5,000 square feet for residential landscapes and from 10,000 to 50,000 square feet for commercial, institutional and industrial sites, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

The board removed requirements that you must take out turf in your front yard before removing turf in the back, doubled the amount of time required to complete a project (from 90 to 180 days) and reduced the number of plants required per 100 square feet from five to three.

The district is also sponsoring a multitude of free classes to help residents remove their lawns and make plans for what they’ll plant instead.

According to the article, Bill McDonnell, the district’s water efficiency manager, encourages people to look past all the rain the area has received in recent weeks. “We have to provide water to 19 million people whether it’s rainy and cold or hot and sunny, so we’re in this for the long term,” McDonnell said in the article.

That program ran out of money in 2016 but was resurrected in 2018 with a rebate of $1 per square foot. The program reportedly did not receive much interest, which is why the board decided to increase the incentives this year to spur more involvement, according to McDonnell.

The district will start accepting applications for turf removal on April 1 and offer up to $50 million in rebates each year.