ENVIRONMENT

Are you eligible for a landscape rebate?

May 8, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: May 9, 2023, 2:21 pm

sprinkler, theres a new bill for water restrictions...

Sprinklers water a lawn in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — About half of Utah’s municipal water is poured on lawns and gardens. Not too smart if you are in an historic drought. But what if you could get paid not to soak your landscape?

Utah’s waterwise landscaping incentive program — rip out your lawn and be paid $3/square foot — has been operating for one week.

Dave & Dujanovic check out the program and talk with  Cynthia Bee of the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District.

Right now only 35 of Utah’s 329 cities qualify for the program. Kaysville, where Dave resides, does not qualify.

According to Utah WaterSavers, a qualifying project must be within a municipal area or unincorporated county that has implemented water-efficient landscape standards.

The 294 currently disqualified cities such as Provo have not yet adopted the required water-efficient landscape ordinances.

The 35 qualifying cities “are handling the piece that they can, then we’ll step in and will pay to help convert those landscapes that are existing within those cities,” Bee said. “But the reason that that’s a requirement [water-efficient landscape ordinances] is that otherwise, we’re just chasing our tail. In the time it took to get one landscape converted, 10 new yards got approved with full lawns.”

Cash for grass

“Does the city have to pay any portion of that $3 per square foot?” Dave asked.

“They do not,” Bee said, “and I should say that it’s up to $3 a square foot. That’s why we need people to go through the Utah WaterSavers website. . . . It will help calculate what your potential rebate would be based on where you’re at.”

For those who qualify, the rebate is paid on the backend, Bee said.

“You have to submit the information about what the project is, complete the project as per the standards, the tech comes out and reviews it and then the rebate is issued.”

Until Kaysville steps up and qualifies for the waterwise landscaping-incentive program, Dave said he is going to wait to make any water-efficient changes to his property.

Bee said Utahns are converting their lawns and gardens and getting $0 rebate because it’s the best landscape for Utah’s climate and doesn’t require all the water that lawns do to thrive.

“It makes sense to get a handle on the impact that growth is having on water demand. And so this is one of the tools that we’re using to try to help encourage that,” Bee said.

Utahns are signing up to score the landscape rebate

“I’m confused, Cynthia, on what changes these [disqualified] cities have to make. So can you spell it out in really simple gardener terms?” Debbie asked.

“On your single-family residential, that would be no more than 35% lawn in the front yard and side yards on new construction . . . basically we’re stopping the problem from perpetuating into the future,” Bee said, adding existing homes with landscaping and commercial properties can also qualify for rebates. 

Find out if you qualify here

Bee said Utahns are signing up.

“Even though there’s only 35 cities currently qualified, in the first week alone, we’ve had more than 2,800 new users and nearly 1,820 new properties added in a single week.”

The landscape conversion projects can be tough and may take some residents all summer to complete, Bee said.

“We recognize that. It’s a challenge for everyone. That’s why we’ve brought lots of resources to bear — not just money but also expertise, and free online classes. We’re doing everything we can to make a hard project as easy as possible for homeowners.”

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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Are you eligible for a landscape rebate?