The City of Sacramento hopes to start a pilot program that would pay people to replace their front lawns with drought-resistant landscaping and drip irrigation systems. The Department of Utilities has already set aside $100,000 for the pilot program.
Terrance Davis is the Drought and Sustainability Manager for the city. He says the program would focus on water wasted through drainage and outdated or broken sprinkler systems.
"Right now, based on our initial research, we really are focusing on the front yard. I think that's where we're going to get the best bang for our buck in terms of some actual water savings."
Davis says people would use the city's 3-1-1 system to apply for the program.
"They submit their application and are improved for a program they would be able to contact a landscaper do the upgrades themselves to their front yards. And they would get reimbursed upon submission of the receipts. And so, we would verify that the types of plants that they actually installed in their front yards and the irrigation controls met the standards."
Davis says the program would work like the existing toilet rebate program.
City staff have not decided how much of a rebate people would receive.
The City Council is expected to vote on the proposal Tuesday night.
Last year, California saw everything from intense drought to torrential rain. Researchers and water agencies say that the future of the state’s drought depends on adapting to these shifts.
As the drought dries up California’s wetlands, traveling birds such as ducks, geese and eagles are struggling to survive and breed. “This drought is bad. The odds are against us,” a state expert said.
Drought resilience depends on location but also extraordinary engineering — determining which California places are running out of water this year and which remain in good shape.
About 4,300 users were issued notices to halt diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Experts say the current drought is hotter and drier than previous ones, meaning water is evaporating faster.
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