By Jason KUROSU
California’s extended drought has prompted the Crescenta Valley Water District to implement a yellow alert, an “extraordinary conservation alert” denoting that customers should minimize water usage and water outdoors no more than three days per week. Statewide, the situation has become so dire that a penalty of $500 a day will be imposed upon customers who use excessive amounts of water starting Aug. 1.
Water agencies across the state are offering their customers rebates to replace their grass with drought-resistant plants and artificial turf.
CVWD, which has been in a yellow alert since May, is offering $100 per 100 square feet of lawn removed and up to $800 per water meter account. The lawn must be replaced with water-conserving plants, vegetable gardens or landscape structures such as gravel or mulch.
While many of these options require significantly less water, artificial turf, which requires no water, has reportedly not been a popular option within the Crescenta Valley.
CVWD program specialist Christy Scott said that the district is processing plenty of rebates, but that “less than 5% of them are for artificial turf.”
The Metropolitan Water District is also offering rebates online through So Cal Water Smart, with rebates available for $2 or more per square foot of turf removed.
Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown called for California residents to reduce their water usage by 20%, but all indications are that the 20% goal has not been met.
On July 15, the State Water Quality Control Board officially announced the fines for residents who failed to conserve.
The fines will apply to numerous outdoor watering situations, such as allowing water to wash down driveways and sidewalks, using hoses without nozzles to wash cars or water lawns and using potable water for decorative fountains.
A statement released by the water board states, “Many communities and water suppliers have taken bold steps over the years and in this year to reduce water use. However, many have not and much more can and should be done statewide to extend diminishing water supplies.”
Scott said that CVWD has not had to impose fines for excessive water users.
“Enforcement is currently done using existing staff as they are performing their regularly assigned duties,” said Scott. “Most of the waste or water reports the district encounters are resolved with a letter or phone call and it has not been necessary to utilize the penalty portion of our ordinance.”
The new regulations will remain in place for 270 days starting Aug. 1, after which they may be renewed.
For examples of drought-resistant plants for home lawns, visit the CVWD website that features the plants in their demonstration garden at