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Did California's $350 Million Social Experiment Over Lawns Pay Off?

Nick Ut / AP

Denise Hurst shows off her drought-tolerant garden she planted in Long Beach, Calif., on Thursday, April 2, 2015.

Nick Ut / AP

(AP) - California water agencies that spent more than $350 million in the last two years of drought to pay property owners to rip out water-slurping lawns are now trying to answer whether the nation's biggest lawn removal experiment was all worth the cost.

Gov. Jerry Brown targeted California lawns last year when he ordered up a $25 million lawn rebate campaign by the state.

Southern California's giant Metropolitan Water District put more than $300 million additional money into lawn-removal rebates. Dozens of other water agencies spent millions more.

Water experts are now using satellite images, infrared aerial photos, door-to-door surveys and a lot of complicated math to figure out whether the lawn rebates paid off.

Lawns and gardens nationwide use one-third of all water consumed by American households.