Last night, the City Council voted to move forward with a "cash for grass" pilot program, which would pay people to replace their lawns with drought-resistant landscaping and drip irrigation systems.
The vote was unanimous.
"I think this will really help our residents make a difference in saving water," says City Councilman Kevin McCarty. "I think it's time that we, as a city, help incentivize action and conservation."
Under the pilot program, a resident can apply through the city's 3-1-1 program.
If approved, a resident can then submit receipts for new landscaping and irrigation systems to the city.
It's still unclear how much the rebate would be. But the city's Department of Utilities has already set aside $100,000 for the program.
The city is expected to start issuing rebates next month. The Department of Utilities expects the program to be very popular -- and plans for it to continue into next year as well.
California regulators are responding to the drought by adopting tighter landscaping rules for new construction and renovation. That means new water limits for residential, commercial, school and hospital lawns and other plantings.
A University of the Pacific economic forecast shows that drought has had a "relatively mild" impact on California's economy.
Another water district in Sacramento County is offering cash rebates for customers to remove grass.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and meteorologists in other countries show that strong-to-moderate El Niño conditions are present in the tropical Pacific. But it won't end the drought in California.
Stream fishing around Lake Tahoe and western Nevada is struggling because of the drought. But fishing may actually be better at the lake itself.