Turf Removal

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I check the status of my turf removal rebate?

You may check the status of your turf removal rebate by logging back into your account at https://mwdturf.conservationrebates.com/. You may also call 888-376-3314 and use the automated phone system to check the status of your application, or speak with a representative. Additionally, you may inquire about the status of your application via email by sending a message to TRPrebates@egia.org. Please allow up to 48 hours for an email response to your inquiry.

Why should I consider removing turf from my landscape?

Turf grass is a commonly used landscape. But it is an expensive option, which often consume a large percentage of a property’s water use and requires regular maintenance. Conversion to a California Friendly™ landscape may dramatically reduce both water and maintenance expenses. An example of potential savings is an experiment conducted using two properties in Santa Monica. One was a traditional turf landscape and the other was converted to a California Friendly™ landscape. Over the years, the California Friendly™ landscape has used 83% less water and required 68% less maintenance than the traditional turf landscape. You can see the details of this experiment here.

Often times, turf is located in places where it is underutilized or not needed, such as side yards, parkways, street medians, around parking lots, and in business landscapes without pedestrians. Many customers find that they can remove turf in their landscape while improving the usefulness and curb appeal of their property. In fact, California Friendly™ landscapes not only save water and money, but they can be a beautiful, unique, and interesting replacement for traditional turf. Visit Metropolitan Water District’s California Friendly Garden Guide for inspiration and tips.

What are the requirements to participate?

You must have grass to be eligible for the program and receive project start approval before removing your turf. Visit the Turf Program Overview for details. Additional details are listed under the program terms and conditions.

What are the Photo Guidelines for Turf Removal

In order for your reservation or rebate application to be approved, the photographs provided must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be in color.
    turf_res_before2turf_dont3
  2. Cannot be a up-close shots of grass or plants. We recommend you stand back far enough to include your home, street, or fence as a reference point.
    turf_res_after2turf_dont2-1
    turf_res_before2turf_dont1
  3. Cannot be an online image such as Google street view
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  4. Must include enough photographs to represent the converted area footage.

How can I measure my project area?

You may see below for simple footage calculations. For more complex footage calculations, it may be necessary for you to request assistance from your contractor or landscaper. In some cases, your local water agency may also be able to offer assistance to ensure accurate measurements.

How to measure the square footage of your project area

To measure your project area, gather the following tools and follow the steps below. There are also online satellite imagery websites that may be able to help you measure your lawn’s square footage. If you will be using a contractor for completion of your project, ask that they measure your project area to ensure the correct amount of footage is requested in your application.

Tools you will need:

Steps for measuring your lawn:

  1. Utilize the graph paper to make a drawing of your home and the borders of your yard. Write in any descriptions of nearby items such as driveways, fences, or sidewalks. This will help you orient yourself.

    turf_res_measure1

  2. Divide the project area into easily measured shapes such as rectangles, squares, triangles and circles. A list of formulas to find the square feet of these shapes is included below.

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  3. Take measurements to find out the square footage of each shape in your yard. Then add up the square footage of each shape for total square footage.

    turf_res_measure3

Helpful formulas to find square footage

There are many online “area calculator tools” that will calculate the square footage of common shapes after you enter in the required measurements. Click here for one example.

Squares, rectangles, and triangles will be the most common shapes in your yard. The formulas for finding their square footage are below. If you have more unusual shapes, you can find out how to calculate their square footage here on many websites such as this one.

Square or Rectangle

Height multiplied by Width = Square Footage

turf_res_rectangles

Triangle

Height multiplied by Width and divided by 2 = Square Footage

turf_res_triangles

Note: Accuracy in footage is very important. We cannot increase your footage after your project has been pre-approved, so please strive to provide as accurate information as possible in your application. Please note that your water agency may review your requested footage and reduce the project area if a discrepancy is noted.

What is a parkway?

The parkway is the area between the street and the sidewalk. If your street does not have a sidewalk, the area up to the street is considered part of your front yard. This does not refer to a driveway or concrete area for parking. If you elect to convert a parkway, you may be required to follow additional guidelines as indicated by your city, including obtaining a permit or waiver for the conversion.

Can I request a pre-approval if I have already begun my project?

No, you must request your pre-approval prior to removing your turf. If you have already begun work, your request for a pre-approval will be denied.

Can I receive a rebate now for work I have already completed if I did not know about the rebate program when I converted my yard?

No, you must request your pre-approval prior to beginning any work. The SoCal Water$mart Turf Removal program is an incentive program designed to encourage homeowners to consider removing their turf. If you have already converted your existing turf, your request for a rebate will be denied.

Can I receive a rebate now for work I have already completed if I have photos showing there was grass in the areas I converted?

No, you must have grass currently to be considered eligible for a rebate. Submission of requests for work that has already been completed with photographs which are not current is considered a fraudulent use of the Turf Removal Program.

Can I convert turf in my front yard at this time, and receive another incentive for turf removal in my backyard at another time?

Yes, you may submit applications for your property up to the total allowed rebate amount of $6,000. Currently, Metropolitan allows a total of 3,000 square feet, or $6,000 total rebate per property. You may elect to submit subsequent applications for your property up to this maximum amount, after which point you will be ineligible for additional rebates. Please review the turf removal terms and conditions for MWD participation restrictions.

How long do I have to complete the project?

After receiving project start approval, you will have 120 days to complete your project and submit Part 2 (rebate application).

What are the approved turf conversion options?

Your landscape conversion must not contain turf or turf looking grasses, include drought tolerant plants, and be permeable to water and air. Examples of projects that are not permeable to water and air are concrete, home additions such as garages, and swimming pools. In addition, each water agency may have additional requirements. Visit the estimate my rebate page for details on your water agency’s specific requirements.

Is there an approved plant list I can use to plan my conversion project?

The SoCal Water$mart Turf Removal Program does not maintain an internal list of approved plants for turf conversion. There is, however, an extensive database of approved plants listed on Bewaterwise.com. Please visit the BeWaterWise California Friendly Gardening Guide to browse a catalog of plants, or visit California Friendly gardening guides for various cities/water agencies. Please note that turf, or turf-looking grasses do not qualify even if they are drought-tolerant or California native.

Why do you require a receipt for synthetic turf?

A receipt is required for all products rebated by the SoCal Water$mart rebate program. In order to qualify for a synthetic turf conversion, it must be allowed by your local water agency, and the receipt must reflect the following:

  • The material purchase of synthetic turf (not install-only).
  • Payment details which reflect the product was paid for in full.
  • The quantity of synthetic turf purchased (must match amount of footage requested).
  • Customer details, if applicable.

Can I mix and match conversion options?

Yes. However, you must adhere to all program requirements for each type of conversion option. For example, if you remove 1,000 square feet of turf, and replace 500 square feet is replaced with synthetic turf, the remaining 500 square feet must meet program guidelines and include plant life as required by program rules.

What happens if I reserve the wrong amount of funding?

Reservations are awarded based on the measured area submitted when a reservation is requested. It is important that you accurately measure the area requested as we cannot increase your area measurement after the reservation is granted.

Will my rebate be taxable?

If your rebate amount is $600 or more you will receive a 1099 form to comply with Internal Revenue Service requirements. The determination of whether your rebate is taxable or not may depend on several variables. You are recommended to contact your tax professional.

How may I participate in the program if I have less than the minimum 250 sq ft to qualify?

Select “Yes” on the application where it asks, “If < 250 sq ft will all turf on site be removed?” Do not select yes if you have more than 250 sq ft on site, and plan on removing less than the minimum square feet required. This applies only to those who have less than 250 sq ft of turf on the property.

I just received my reservation/rebate approval email, and the rebate/reserved amount is less than expected. Why would the amount be reduced?

The rebate amount may be reduced for several reasons. The following are some possible reasons why your expected rebate has been reduced:

  • Rebate funding is limited, and is allocated based on availability. If you received less reserved/approved funding than expected, it is possible that your water agency funding has been reduced or depleted.
  • Reserved funding is determined based on requested footage. In review, it may have been determined that some areas requested did not qualify. If this is the case, these areas may have been removed.
  • Approved rebate funding is based on the actual area converted. In some cases, your water agency will review the area requested and reduce the area if it is determined that the estimate was greater than the actual yard area converted.
  • Metropolitan currently allows $2 per square foot of rebate funding up to a maximum of 3,000 total square feet. After having achieved the cap of $6,000 in rebate funding from Metropolitan, you cannot receive additional rebate funds.

If you have had your measured area or rebate amount reduced, please call 888-376-3314 for more information on your particular case.

I received information from a contractor who says that they can convert my landscape for free, or at reduced cost due to the program. Is this legitimate?

Yes, there are some contractors who are enrolled in the Contractor Direct Rebate Option (CDRO). If a contractor states that they are enrolled in this program, they can apply for and receive the rebate in lieu of out of pocket payment if you agree to sign a release waiving your right to receiving the rebate directly. It should be noted that though these contractors are approved to offer this option, they are in no way affiliated with, or representative of the SoCal Water$mart rebate program. You should familiarize yourself with the program guidelines even if you have decided to use a contractor enrolled in the CDRO to complete your work. You may download and review a copy of the release form here.

I hired a contractor for a free or reduced cost landscape conversion, and I would now like to cancel with them. How can I cancel the application and reapply?

Yes, you can sign the Contractor Direct Rebate Option (CDRO) release form if the contractor has not yet started the work. If you hired a contractor who is enrolled in the CDRO to offer a free or reduced landscape conversion by accepting the rebate for your conversion in lieu of out of pocket payment, they are required to provide you with a release form to sign. The fastest and easiest way to cancel with the contractor is to communicate with them first, so we do advise that you first contact them to resolve any issues that may have arisen with the conversion project. If you elect to submit an application after cancelling with the contractor, you will need to meet all of the same guidelines for eligibility to reserve funds. You may download the customer release cancellation form here.

Why was I denied in Part 2 for removing less than 250 sqft of turf after I was initially pre-approved when I first submitted my application?

It was later determined that you had more than 250 sq ft on site, and were only planning on removing a small portion of the grass. If there is more than 250 sq ft of turf on the property, you must remove the minimum of 250 sq ft of turf to qualify.

I am not receiving emails from the program, what can I do?

If you are having difficulty receiving or viewing emails from the rebate program, you may try the following:

  • Check your spam or quarantine folders for emails. If found, please mark “not spam” for future communications to be routed to your inbox.
  • Add our program email address to your address book, or add to your “allowed” list. The turf removal program email address is TRPrebates@egia.org.
  • Contact your email service provider and request that they allow emails from our email address or organization. Your email provider may be able to assist you in adjusting your email settings.

I own an apartment complex. Is my property residential or commercial?

Any property with 4 units or less should apply under the residential program. Any properties with 5 units or more qualify under the commercial program.

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