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SoCal water wholesaler receives new state grant


Metropolitan Water District

Southern California's water wholesaler received a $38 million state grant today to increase rebates it offers to businesses and other institutions that replace turf with water-efficient landscaping.

With the grant from the state Department of Water Resources, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will increase its rebates next year from $2 per square foot of replaced turf to $3 per square foot. The increase comes as businesses prepare for the 2027 implementation of state legislation that phases out the use of potable water to irrigate grass that is not used for recreation or other purposes at commercial, industrial, municipal and institutional properties.

“As businesses and institutions comply with this new mandate, we hope they will replace their non-functional turf with sustainable landscapes,” MWD General Manager Adel Hagekhalil said in a statement. “This partnership will help them in that transformation. The state's foresight and support will enable us all to become more resilient as we face climate whiplash and a future of hotter and drier droughts.”

The $38 million grant is part of the DWR's Urban Community Drought Relief program, which officials said has awarded more than $217 million to 44 projects to help strengthen drought resistance and prepare for future dry seasons.

“We had a very wet winter, but the time is now to adapt to California's drier future,” DWR Director Karla Nemeth said in a statement. “It's the perfect time to transform our yards away from thirsty lawns into drought resilient gardens. Our funding today ensures that communities, regardless of income, can withstand future droughts.

“But we can't just conserve water–California is doubling down on infrastructure to capture, move, store and recycle water to better prepare for extreme swings between floods and drought. The Delta tunnel, expansion of surface reservoirs and groundwater aquifers, and large-scale recycled water projects are all needed to ensure a strong economy and healthy environment in the face of a changing climate.”

MWD officials said the grant money will also be used to bolster a program run in conjunction with Southern California Gas Co. that helps low-income households with installation of water-efficient irrigation systems and household appliances. The funds will allow 5,000 more households to benefit from the program, MWD officials said.