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This city offers residents more than $1,000 to replace their grass lawns with low-maintenance plants: 'It was time'

"We now are up to $1,000 plus $100 extra for trees."

Mesa, Arizona, offers to replace their grass lawns

Photo Credit: iStock

In an effort to combat the ongoing drought in the Southwest, the city of Mesa, Arizona, located about 20 miles east of Phoenix, is offering its residents more than $1,000 in incentives to transform their lawns into more water-efficient landscapes. 

Authorities say the region is in the grips of a long-term drought spanning several decades — and it's likely to continue to put pressure on local water supplies.

Mesa encourages consumers to take an easy step to reduce their water usage outside the home — by switching out their water-heavy grass yards for desert plants that require less water.

Xerscaping is a type of landscaping that reduces or completely eliminates the need for irrigation. 

"The Grass-to-Xeriscape program aims to help our single-family residential customers reduce their landscape water use by half or more by replacing their water-thirsty lawns with landscape plants appropriate to our Sonoran Desert climate," states the city's website.

Mesa's incentives are among the most generous in the East Valley, reports local Phoenix news station Fox10.

"We now are up to $1,000 plus $100 extra for trees," City of Mesa Conservation Coordinator Becky Zusy, told Fox10. "We had this program since 2007 and hadn't raised the incentive since then. It was time."

Under the new incentive, homeowners can earn the cash by replacing more than 1,000 square feet of grass with certain low-water use plants and at least two trees that meet the water criteria. But even a smaller area of grass swapped out with xeriscaping can earn you as much as $750 — an incentive for homeowners with smaller yards.  

According to Zusy, xeriscaping can mean a 50% reduction in water use compared with conventional grassy lawns.

One Mesa resident, Amador Gonzalez, said he transitioned his Bermuda grass lawn into a natural desertscape environment with more than a dozen plants and trees several years ago when the incentive was just $500. "You get a beautiful lawn — well it's not a lawn anymore, a beautiful yard," he told Fox 10.

Mesa residents can find out if they qualify for the incentive by visiting the Mesa city website.

One local resident was excited about the xeriscaping incentive and commented on the city's tweet, saying, "This is awesome!" 

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