Aug 11, 2015

San José Launches Lawn Replacement Pilot Program

Participants will receive a re-landscaping package at a discounted price

San Jose drought tolerant landscaping lawn Lawn Busters

To address the need for long-term water conservation solutions, the city of San José, Calif., is launching Lawn Busters, a pilot program that will demonstrate the benefits of replacing residential lawns as a fundamental way to save water.

The Lawn Busters program will help San José municipal water customers convert their lawns to drought-tolerant landscapes by offering an easy and affordable option to make their yards water friendly. Participants will receive a re-landscaping package that includes all materials, plants and labor for the discounted cost of $500.

“We’re in a serious drought, which pushes us to rethink how we use water,” said Kerrie Romanow, director of the San José Environmental Services Department. “Innovative programs like Lawn Busters can show our residents how to decrease their water use and ultimately save money on their water bills.”

The pilot program is a partnership with San José Municipal Water System, community-based nonprofit Our City Forest and Santa Clara Valley Water District. The program will convert a total of approximately 20,000 sq ft of residential turf, which represents a potential annual water savings of more than 500,000 gal. An average front yard in San José is about 1,000 sq ft.

To qualify, eligible homeowners must be customers of the San José Municipal Water System in an owner-occupied, single-family home. The minimum area for turf conversion is 500 sq ft, and the maximum is 1,500 sq ft. Participating yards must have an in-ground irrigation system with sprinkler heads and controller in working condition. In addition, 25% of the program funding has been set aside for low-income homeowners who qualify. 

“Lawns take up a large portion of overall residential water usage, and even a small lawn can use more than 18,000 gal of water a year,” said Rhonda Berry, executive director of Our City Forest. “Converting front lawns to drought-friendly plants benefits the urban ecosystem and show that these landscapes are both sustainable and beautiful."