LONG BEACH - Residents and businesses can apply for rebates up to $2,500 to replace water-intensive grass lawns with drought-tolerant landscapes under a new program sponsored by the City's water department.

The Beautiful Long Beach Lawn to Garden Incentive Program will allow pre-approved water customers to apply for $2.50-per-square-foot rebates, with a set maximum of 1,000 square feet allowed per customer, enough to replace a 20-foot-by-50-foot area of lawn.

Funding is limited and application rebates will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis starting April 7.

Eligibility requirements and application instructions are available at www.lblawntogarden.com.

"We created this program knowing that our customers are eager to take advantage of opportunities like this," said Kevin Wattier, General Manager of the Long Beach Water Department. "We fully expect the up-front investment we are making with this program will result in a return many times over as more and more people realize the numerous benefits of utilizing a drought-tolerant landscape."

The new rebate-incentive program was created to build momentum on last year's landscape-makeover giveaways, which provided nine Long Beach homeowners, one in each council district, with a brand new, re-designed drought-tolerant front yard, said water department spokesman Matthew Veeh.


Advertisement

Drought-tolerant landscapes require less yard maintenance, less fertilizers and pesticides, improve habitats in the upstream environments and Long Beach coastal waters, attract hummingbirds and butterflies and, in some cases, provide more person-friendly spaces such as expanded patios and entertaining areas, said Matthew Lyons, director of planning and conservation for the water department.

The goal of the Lawn to Garden Program is to raise awareness and promote environmentally responsible landscaping, said Paul Blanco, president of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners.

"The reliability of our imported water sources continues to erode, and we no longer have the option to sit back and hope Mother Nature will take care of us," Blanco said. "We must continue to reduce our outdoor water use, and we believe providing our customers with these rebates will spur additional interest in Beautiful Long Beach Landscapes, ultimately leading to long-term water consumption reductions in our city."

phillip.zonkel@presstelegram.com, 562-499-1258