Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) approved an additional $3 million to encourage customer participation in conservation rebate programs bringing the total investment for fiscal year 2022-2023 to $5.85 million.
Since July 1, $650,000 has been paid to turf conversion program participants and an additional $2.2 million is reserved for approved projects. Revenue from drought penalties will be used to offset costs associated with conservation programs, eliminating adverse fiscal impacts to the Domestic Water Fund.
Approved projects are slated to replace about 950,000 square-feet of turf with water-efficient landscaping. Replacing turf can result in a savings of 55.8 gallons per square foot per year. Overhead spray sprinklers use about 73 gallons and drip irrigation uses only 17.2 gallons per square foot.
The funding approved by the CVWD board today is in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May 25 emergency water conservation regulation. It requires water agencies across the state to reduce overall water use by 15 percent each month compared to 2020 use. The regulation also requires agencies to adopt Level 2 of their Water Shortage Contingency Plan.
CVWD proactively adopted Shortage Level 2 and a portion of Level 3 in April. Action from Level 3 included increasing turf replacement rebates from $2 to $3 per square foot. In addition, City of Rancho Mirage invested $2 million this year towards a matching rebate for turf replacement projects within its city. The match offers customers who live in Rancho Mirage a $6 per square-foot rebate. CVWD continues seeking other partnerships to encourage program participation across its service area including grants.
“This investment in conservation programs will encourage water-use efficiency for a sustainable aquifer and move us toward meeting the state’s conservation goal as we approach another dry year,” said CVWD Board President John Powell Jr.
Other CVWD rebate programs include water-efficient nozzle replacement, smart irrigation controllers, high-efficiency washing machine and toilet replacement.
About 60 percent of CVWD customers are meeting conservation goals and doing their part to conserve. Though, overall, customers have not met the state’s 15 percent monthly water reduction goal, which means there’s still more that can be done.
CVWD is asking customers to skip overseeding this year as drought penalties will result in larger water bills. Customers can pick up free lawn signs to show off their conservation efforts. Signs feature the message, “Doing our part to conserve for future generations.” Lawn signs are available at CVWD’s Operations Building at 75525 Hovley Lane East, Palm Desert.
Visit cvwd.org/rebates for program requirements and to apply. Some programs require pre-approval.
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 stormwater protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 113,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties