Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) has approved $420,000 in rebates to golf courses to replace turf with desert-friendly, drought-tolerant landscaping. Through the program, six courses will remove more than 33 acres of turf.
The rebate is made possible through a $1 million WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant awarded to CVWD by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
"The golf industry is an important partner in our efforts to reduce groundwater overdraft," said CVWD Conservation Manager Katie Evans. “We are pleased by the amount of turf that will be removed through this program and we encourage more courses to apply for the program and take action to reduce their use.”
Applications are still being accepted for additional golf course conversions.
Selected applicants will receive $15,000 per acre of turf removed for up to 7 acres per application. Golf courses can also apply the rebate to lake removal if they replace the area with desert friendly landscaping. Applications must 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. To receive a rebate, golf courses must commit to working with the Golf and Water Task Force, to stay within the voluntary water budget established by CVWD. The application and additional information is available on CVWD's website.
The Golf and Water Task Force, which includes representatives from CVWD, local golf courses and other stakeholders, investigates funding opportunities and reviews which methods for using water more efficiently are viable for the region's more than 120 equivalent courses.
Over the last two years, CVWD awarded 18 rebates to 16 golf courses, resulting in removal of 129.5 acres of turf and a water savings of more than 800 acre feet per year, enough water to serve 1,000 homes.
These rebates were made possible 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 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.