RIVERSIDE, CA – Residential and commercial businesses served by the Western Municipal Water District (Western) can now tap into increased funding to reduce outdoor water use and comply with evolving State regulations banning non-essential turf. Western’s Board of Directors voted to increase its water use efficiency program by $725,000 to support a commercial landscape pilot program and enhance its residential and commercial turf rebate programs.
Through a new commercial landscape pilot program, Western will partner with five sites in high visibility locations throughout Western Riverside County to transform their thirsty, non-functional turf into a model for drought-friendly landscaping. As a kick starter incentive, Western will provide up to $25,000 for these partners to inspire action across the community for other customers to switch out their own existing landscaping for a more water-efficient, climate-appropriate Landscape with Style.
“Making the transition to drought-friendly landscaping is a smart investment for homeowners and commercial businesses, and we are coming alongside them to provide support to do so,” stated Western’s General Manager, Craig Miller. “It’s our commitment to help our customers and the community by investing dollars into supply reliability and water-saving programs--this investment supports both.”
In June 2022, the State Water Resources Control Board began prohibiting the use of potable (drinking) water for the irrigation of non-functional turf at commercial, industrial, and institutional sites across California. Non-functional turf is solely decorative and is not otherwise used for recreational or other purposes.
To further support these transformational projects, Western has added funding to allow more residential and commercial customers to take advantage of up to $5 per square foot rebates for projects that replace turf with drought-tolerant landscaping. These programs provide funding for turf replacement of up to 1,000 square feet for residential properties and 5,000 square feet for commercial sites. Ultimately, the program will help customers develop attractive, climate-friendly landscaping while reducing outdoor water use and saving money on their monthly water bill.
Thanks to the recent passage of State Assembly Bill 2142, customers also will receive a state income tax exemption for any funds received from residential turf replacement programs. Previously, customers would need to report turf replacement rebates as income to the California Franchise Tax Board. This new law specifically allows for the exclusion of turf replacement rebates, vouchers, or other financial incentives from a customer’s total gross income from 2022 to 2027 at the state level. Customers should consult with their tax professionals about any impacts on federal income taxes.
To learn more about Western’s turf replacement programs and other ways to conserve water, visit wmwd.com/WaterSavings. Funding is limited, so customers are encouraged to apply quickly to take advantage of these rebates and the new tax law changes.
Pictured: The City of Riverside's Bergamont Park, located on the corner of Van Buren Boulevard and Cole Avenue, turned off its landscape irrigation to comply with the State's ban on non-functional turf.
Western Municipal Water District is one of the largest public agencies in Riverside County, providing water and wastewater (sewer) services to nearly a million people, both retail and wholesale customers who live, work, and play within 527-square miles in one of California’s most populous regions. Learn more: wmwd.com.