Following a recommendation from the Water Shortage Task Force, Ventura Water will ask the City Council to establish an incentive program for water customers who undertake steps to reduce their outside water use.
Replacing your thirsty lawn with artificial turf or installing water-saving irrigation devices would possibly be among those practices included in an incentive plan aimed at boosting conservation.
“Many California cities, including Santa Barbara and Long Beach, have incentive programs to promote water efficiency and motivate customers to save water, and there’s an overwhelming public interest here for an incentive plan too,” says Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein.
The hope is that an incentive program would help customers achieve their 20 percent water reduction, since conservation alone isn’t yet achieving that level of reduction that the city requires during the Stage 3 water shortage. If approved by the Council, the incentive program could be underway by the summer or fall of 2015.
Because most discretionary water use is outdoors, the incentive plan focuses on irrigation efficiency devices and a turf removal and replacement incentive when property owners install a low-water alternative to grass or synthetic turf. Some properties could qualify for rebates in both categories.
Irrigation efficiency devices may include a rain sensor or shut-off device; a smart controller that waters only according to climate conditions; and rotating nozzles with a pressure regulator. Applicants could receive a rebate of up to $300 per applicant and specific rebate amounts for the devices will vary.
For turf replacement, a rebate of $2 per square foot, up to $1,600 per properties, will be available for applicants that participate in a landscape survey. Applicants could also receive a rebate for applying compost and mulch.
Ventura Water is considering budgeting $825,000 to run the incentive program this year during the mandatory 20 percent water-reduction drought stage.