Los Angeles has paid residents to remove more than 1 million square feet (93,000sqm) of lawn from their home gardens since 2009.
With the first 5 months of 2013 being the driest on record across south and western USA, cities throughout the west are looking at rebates for lawn removal, and even a complete ban on all new front lawns. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power says that its lawn rebate program will save approximately 47 million gallons (178 million litres) of water each year. Long Beach California now offers its residents $2USD a square foot rebate to take up their lawn.
In Las Vegas, front lawns are banned in new residential developments and the rebate rules state that the lawn must stay removed even with house onsale, or the new owners will have to repay the rebate plus interest. And in most cities, you have to prove that your lawn is still alive before you get paid to kill it off.
“The era of the lawn in the West is over,” said Paul Robbins, the director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin.