County offering cash for water conservation

November 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The Contra Costa Water District is about to make $100,000 available to customers who choose to conserve water, but they are asking for a bit more that people turning off the faucet when brushing their teeth.

It is common for a man to take pride in his lawn, but Chris Dundon's yard is not one that would appear on the surface to be that appealing -- it is dead.

"I was tired of mowing it every week, tired of putting water on it, so I decided to let it go and replant it this year," Dundon said.

He did replant, but with a drought-resistant garden. It was just the latest conservation move by a man with a self-described passion for water efficiency.

"I have a high efficiency clothes washer, a one gallon toilet, and two gallon per minute shower heads," Dundon said.

It makes sense when you learn what Dundon does for a living. He is the water conservation coordinator for Contra Costa County.

Wednesday night, he expects the board to approve a new trial program to encourage residents to replace their water-hungry lawns with more efficient alternatives.

"We expect to replace approximately 200,000 square feet of turf," Dundon said.

The plan would pay homeowners and businesses 50 cents per square foot to replace their green lawns with drought-resistant gardens. Homeowners could get as much as $500 and businesses $5,000.

Santa Clara County has a similar program, along with northern Marin, among others.

Contra Costa hopes this works because this year, it already asked residents to cut consumption by 15 percent. This incentive might make the difference.


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