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Mesa, Chandler offering homeowners cash to conserve water, get rid of grass

Mesa and Chandler are giving homeowners incentives to switch to desert landscaping or artificial grass to save water.
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 4:54 PM MST
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EAST VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Karen and Kelly Gleave just did something they never thought they’d do. They ripped out the grass in front of their Mesa home and replaced it with desert rocks and plants. “More and more as the Valley grows, I’ve realized that I need to do more to conserve,” said Kelly Cleave. “It just seems more responsible.”

The drought-conscious couple is among a growing number of Arizona homeowners taking advantage of their city’s incentive program to conserve water and create shade. By removing their lawn and putting in low water plants, the Gleaves received $550 from the City of Mesa. “I was of the mind that I was getting ready to make the change anyway, and so that incentive just really helped push me over the edge to decide it was time to do it,” said Kelly Cleave.

Becky Zusy is the conservation coordinator with the City of Mesa. She said recent news reports about the current water crisis in Arizona have sparked new interest in their “Grass to Xeriscape” landscape program, with a growing number of homeowners going from green to a desert scene. “I’ve gotten fantastic feedback,’ said Zusy. “People are thrilled with the changes. I think it updates the look of the home, and they’re happy to be saving water and happy to not have to mow the lawn in the summertime.”

The Gleaves also like paying less on their monthly water bill. Their thought is that if you can save money and the environment simultaneously, it’s worth looking into. “It is a definitely a win-win,” said Karen Gleave. “I’m actually encouraging friends and neighbors to try it out. It makes sense with that kickback and the extra money you get. It doesn’t cover the entire cost, but it probably covers close to half of it.”

For more details on Mesa’s landscape incentive program and to see what the requirements are, visit mesaaz.gov/conservation.

Other Valley cities have different conservation programs with different incentives. Chandler residents are eligible for up to $200 in rebates if they install low water plants. For information about the Chandler program, visit chandleraz.gov.

The City of Glendale also has a landscape rebate for residential and non-residential customers. In addition, Glendale residents can also receive new irrigation technology incentives through a federal grant. Non-residential customers with large landscape areas can apply as well. For more information about the rebate, visit glendaleaz.com.

Starting July 1, the City of Scottsdale’s turf rebate will double to $2/sq. Ft. as long as the grass is replaced with desert landscape. There are restrictions and guidelines customers have to follow, but homeowners can receive up to $5000 in turf removal rebates if they qualify. Residents must contact Scottsdale’s conservation team before they take out the turf. Additional questions can be sent to WaterConservation@ScottsdaleAZ.gov if anyone wants to verify eligibility.

If you are a Tempe resident and looking for information about the city’s conservation programs, click/tap here. For Phoenix residents, the city has a new program to provide free xeriscape plans to residential customers. In addition, many resources on proper landscape watering and xeriscaping can be found at phoenix.gov/bewatersmart.