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Drought-Friendly Lawn Renovations Take Root With Homeowners in Santa Clara County

SAN JOSE — As the drought drags on, there’s growing demand in Santa Clara County for rebates that reimburse you for removing a water-thirsty lawn.

“I appreciate native California plants a lot more now,” said Julie Garrett, who remodeled her front yard in San Jose.

She used drought-tolerant plants and a patch of UC Verde buffalo grass – a new alternative turf grass that can go long periods without water.

“It’s very drought tolerant. We only water it once every two weeks in the summer and not at all the rest of the year,” Garrett said.

The best part, Garrett said, is that the plants and grass qualified for the Santa Clara Valley Water District Landscaping Rebate Program.

Garrett requested and received the maximum refund for homeowners.

“It was about $3,000,” Garrett said. “It made a difference. In fact, I mean it covered all the material costs.”

Last year, the Water District increased the rebate from $1 per square foot of new drought-tolerant landscaping to $2. The district also raised the cap to $3,000.

This year, the owners react. Reimbursement requests rose from 222 in April to 417 in July.

“We’ve had a lot of turnout. It’s up more than 200% in the last year alone,” said Metra Richert, district manager of water supply and conservation.

It is so popular that the district has thankfully increased funding for the program to approximately $5 million, which also includes funds from the Measure S package tax.

“We have adequate funding, even including the additional stake,” Richert said.

Lawn removal is popular even for people who don’t ask for the discount. Lee, who gave only his first name and lives in Almaden, said he pulled his weed because it took a lot of water, a lot of work and the past few years hadn’t looked good. anyway.

He and his family designed their own front landscaping, joining most of their neighbors who did the same.

“It’s worked really well for us,” Lee said. “I mean, I get some time back on the weekends after mowing my lawn. And it looks nice.”

Water district officials say homeowners must have their landscaping plans approved beforehand to qualify for the rebates. Details can be found at www.valleywater.org.


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