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Incentives offered to cut water use by replacing grass

Palo Alto and the Santa Clara Valley Water agency are offering money to residents who replace grass with drought resistant plants.
May 1, 2014 7:50:22 PM PDT
As we enter the hot months, you're going to hear more and more about the drought and how to deal with it. Plenty of public utilities offer incentives to cut water use. But in Palo Palto, they're really playing let's make a deal.

You know how they say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence? It's the other way around in Palo Alto, where now the city and Santa Clara Valley Water Agency have combined forces to offer $4 per square foot for residents who replace their grass drought resistant plants.

It's the richest incentive program in the state.

Carole and Alan Stivers had already become tired of their lawn. They hired landscape architect Diane Gibeau to install native and Mediterranean plants. Without that thirsty grass, the Stivers may see they water bill drop by as much as 60 percent.

"I'm not thinking about the money," said Carole. "It's about saving water."

She said that making this decision was less difficult than the decisions they made after reaching it. Choosing native plants isn't easy, nor is determining a layout for the yard.

Alan, who used to design chips for Intel, bought a computer program that allowed him to lay it all out, over and over.

Alan: "I think this I the sixth plan."
Wayne: "You finished?"
Alan: "Better be. The work has already begun."

Palo Alto's offer stands through September. There is no limit on the acreage. One company ripped out so much grass that it stands to receive $150,000.


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