The Palm Springs Sustainability Commission has voted to recommend some changes to the popular turf conversion rebate program.
Driving the news: At the end of last month, the City Council approved $1.15 million in matching funds to Desert Water Agency’s turf conversion, or grass removal, program as a part of the new city budget.
- It was then up to the Sustainability Commission to review the previous rebate program and suggest changes to DWA.
Background: Last year, the City Council approved $250,000 in matching funds for Desert Water Agency’s turf replacement rebate. The deal offered a 1:1 match to DWA’s $3 per square foot for a total of $6 per square foot.
Details: The size of each project was capped at 5,000 square feet of grass. There was money reserved for single-family homes, homeowners associations, and customers participating in DWA’s bill assistance program and living in state-designated disadvantaged communities.
- Within the first 24 hours, all $150,000 reserved for single-family homes was allocated, and all $100,000 reserved for HOAs was allocated within two weeks.
- In January, the City Council then authorized an additional $300,00 in funding for the project, and that money was dedicated to projects that remained on the waitlist.
The results: A total of 154 projects were approved, 55 of which had been completed by May. The program partially funded about 438,000 square feet of conversions.
- A Southern Nevada Water Authority analysis estimates that with the removal of that grass, about 27 million gallons of water will be saved each year.
By the numbers: The average project was about 1,500 square feet and cost about $15,000. Projects received an average rebate of about $3,200.
What’s changing: On Tuesday night, the commission decided to decrease their matching funds from $3 to $1 per square foot and to remove the project-size cap. That way, explained Lindsey-Paige McCloy, the director of sustainability, more projects will be funded.
- They also voted to remove the requirement that a certain amount of funding be set aside for single-family homeowners and HOAs, allowing for more flexibility.
What they’re saying: McCloy called the program “extraordinarily successful,” and she expects residents and HOAs alike will jump at the chance to convert their lawns. “We’re going to be motivating a lot of projects that we wouldn’t have last year,” she said.
What to watch for: McCloy told commissioners that she hopes to restart the rebate program soon, but did not give an exact date. She said the next step will be to take the commissioners’ recommendations to DWA so they have time to adjust their applications.