Rebates drive grass removal frenzy during California drought

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LOS ANGELES (AP) — There's a torrent of Californians taking advantage of rebates for ripping out their lawns to conserve water during the drought and that's providing a boost to landscapers.

Sandra Giarde, executive director of the 2,000-member California Landscape Contractors Association, says business has improved over the past year for landscape installers and even more since rebates made projects more affordable.

In Southern California in particular, things could get even better for an industry that was battered by the recession and slow to recover.

This week, the Metropolitan Water District added $350 million for rebates and other conservation measures in a large swath of Southern California.

In April, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered residents to slash water use amid the four-year drought. Since then, demand has surged for rebates to help homeowners trade lawns for drought-tolerant gardens.