Castaic Lake Water Agency Lawn Replacement Program Launches -Tue, 07/08/2014 - 1:43pm

With California in a severe drought, Castaic Lake Water Agency officials have proposed a program to help conserve water and put some cash in local resident's pockets.

The CLWA officials recently launched the Lawn Replacement Program to reduce outdoor water use by paying for lawn removal and encouraging water-efficient landscapes.

The agency is offering $2 per square foot, up to $5,000 of lawn removal, and providing several resources online for the public to asses if they qualify.

"We have $800,000 over two years and received that from the Integrated Regional Water Management Program Grant from the state of California," said Stephanie Anagnoson, water conservation program coordinator for the Castaic Lake Water Agency.

Some guidelines include: the grass must be alive at the beginning of the project; a minimum of 500 square feet and maximum of 2,500 square feet are required; and residents must comply with Homeowners Association, or HOA, rules.

A full list of rules, guidelines and qualifications are located on the CLWA Lawn Replacement Program Website. The CLWA officials have also provided examples of designs for drought-friendly landscapes.

"The program was originally proposed in the strategic plan (for the CLWA)," Anagnoson said. "This is the most difficult part of the plan and requires a lot of staff time, a lot of one on one. It's an expensive program and we couldn't do with without the grant."

The program began June 30, and two people have applied while 18 have visited the website, she said. CLWA officials " have been overwhelmed by phone calls this morning."

"This is becoming a very popular program, especially in Southern California where there is a lot of turf still," Anagnoson said.

Places where grass does not grow well are optimal spaces to plant more California-friendly plants, she said.

"Most people overwater by about 50 percent and the potential for savings is huge," Anagnoson said. "About 70 percent of water is used outdoors, I think that's a lot of potential savings."

Anagnoson renovated her yard to be drought-friendly "a long time ago" and has saved "a ton of water"

"We want to keep Santa Clarita looking lush and green,"Anagnoson said. "We just don't want to have turf all over."

Photos courtesy of Castaic Lake Water Agency.