In a program that teed off today, Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) again is offering conservation rebates to golf courses that remove turf and replace it with desert-friendly, drought-tolerant landscaping. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has awarded CVWD with a $1 million WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant to fund this program.
Selected applicants will receive $15,000 per acre of turf removed for up to 7 acres per application. Lake removal also qualifies for the program if the area of the lake is replaced with desert friendly landscaping.
"To be effective in managing the Coachella Valley's water supply it is imperative that all categories of water users - residents and businesses, golf courses and other recreation and agriculture - contribute through conservation and efficient water use," said General Manager Jim Barrett.
The deadline to submit applications is 5 p.m. on Feb. 28, 2017.
Applications will be ranked based on the total estimated water savings, so applicants planning to remove more than 7 acres should include the total project area in their applications. Applications should include plans for all areas that will be converted from turf to drought-tolerant landscaping and must clearly show:
Plans must be prepared in compliance with CVWD's Landscape Ordinance and the amount of post turf-removal water used must be no more than 20% of Et, or 1.7 acre-feet of water per acre, whichever is less.
Applicants also must commit to sharing water usage data with the Golf and Water Task Force, and working with that group to stay within the voluntary water budget established by CVWD. The application with additional requirements and information is available on CVWD's website.
In a similar program initiated in January 2015, 15 golf courses removed more than 120 acres of turf. That program was funded by $1.3 million of a $5.24 million California Proposition 84 Integrated Regional Water Management Implementation Grant, which was awarded to the Coachella Valley Regional Water Management Group (CVRWMG). The group is a collaborative effort of CVWD, the City of Coachella, Desert Water Agency, Indio Water Authority, Mission Springs Water District and Valley Sanitary District. CVRWMG works to identify and prioritize regional water-related needs in the Coachella Valley, and seek available funding.
The Golf and Water Task Force, which includes representatives from CVWD, local golf courses and other stakeholders, also investigates funding opportunities and reviews which methods for conserving water and using water more efficiently are viable for the region's more than 120 equivalent courses.
The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 109,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.
The Bureau of Reclamation's WaterSMART program provides 50/50 cost-sharing grants for projects to water and irrigation districts, tribes, states and other entities with water or power delivery authority. Projects are selected through a competitive process, must be completed within 24 months and seek to conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy, protect endangered species and help facilitate the relocation of water where it can be put to more efficient use.