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Program Overview

Thank you for your interest in our Turf Removal Program. Public interest in turf removal rebates has been overwhelming and, as a result, all funds currently available for such rebates have been committed. Additional funding may be secured as early as May 26, 2015. New terms and conditions for the Turf Removal Program are being considered that may also be announced on May 26, 2015.

For turf removal customers, the following are effective May 12, 2015:

Customers may continue to submit requests but approval of reservations requests will be on a first-come first-serve basis and subject to funding availability.

All reservation requests received after 1 pm on May 12, 2015 will be subject to any new terms and conditions that will be announced on May 26, 2015.

Submittal of a reservation request does not guarantee approval or payment.

Please check this website after May 26th for the most up-to-date program information.

Turf grass is one of the most water-intensive plants in your landscape. Its high water use and frequent maintenance make it a time-consuming and expensive yard option. In fact, the average residential customer spends about 60% of their water on outdoor irrigation. By changing turf to a California Friendly™ yard of drought tolerant plants you can save water and money.

To help with turf removal projects, rebates are available for $2.00 or more per square foot of turf removed.  This increased turf removal rebate is being provided in response to Governor Edmund G Brown Jr.’s emergency drought declaration.

Who is eligible for a rebate?

To be eligible for a rebate, customers must:

  1. Have grass in the proposed project area
  2. Install a new landscape that meets the terms and conditions for their city. All projects must:
    • Not include live turf or turf looking plants
    • Include plants (not turf)
    • Follow any additional requirements for their city. You can see these requirements by applying for project start approval (instructions below).
  3. Synthetic turf is eligible for rebates unless stated in your area’s terms and conditions. Click “Estimate your rebate” to see if you qualify.
  4. Customers are responsible for complying with all applicable local laws, ordinances, and other restrictions.
  5. Must not have received a turf removal rebate before. Only one turf removal rebate per property.

How to receive a rebate

There are two steps to receiving a rebate for turf removal:

Step 1: Project Start Approval

  • Before you begin removing any turf, you must apply for and receive project start approval.
  • The approval will specify the square feet your project has been approved for and your reserved rebate amount. Important note: Your final rebate cannot be larger than your reserved amount, even if you remove additional square footage. It is important that you estimate and measure your project area correctly.
  • Visit theSoCalWaterSmart Turf Rebate Application to apply for project start approval online.
  • Set up an account with a valid email address and password. The account will allow you to log in after your project is complete to complete “Step 2: Rebate Application.”
  • Submit the requested information along with:
    • At least 5 color photos of the areas where you plan to remove turf. Turf must be grass to qualify for a rebate.
    • Submit at least one photo of each area you plan to remove turf (front yard, side yard, back yard, etc).
    • Read PHOTO GUIDELINES to see what type of photos are required.
    • A photo or scanned copy of your recent water bill.
  • Wait to receive an email approval to start your project. This will take approximately 2-4 weeks.
  • Once you receive approval, you have 120 days to complete your project.
  • After completing your project, you are ready request your rebate by completing “Step 2: Rebate Application”

Step 2: Rebate Application

  • When your project is complete, visit SoCalWaterSmart.com to request your rebate by completing “Step 2: Rebate Application”
  • Login as a “Returning Turf Applicant” using your original email and password.
  • Submit the required information along with:
    • At least 5 color photos of your completed project area.
    • Submit at least one photo of each area where you removed turf (front yard, side yard, back yard, etc).
    • Read PHOTO GUIDELINES to see what type of photos are required.
    • A photo or scanned copy of your recent water bill.
    • If your project includes synthetic turf, submit a photo or scanned copy of your synthetic turf receipt.
  • Your rebate application will be reviewed and you will receive an email with the results within approximately 4-6 weeks.

Photo Guidelines

There are two steps to receiving a rebate for turf removal:

  1. Must be in color.
  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.
  3. Cannot be an online image such as Google street view

Photos that follow guidelines:

BEFORE: Color photo of the area customer plans to remove turf. The home, sidewalk, and street are included as reference points. AFTER: Color photo of the same area from the same angle after the customer has completed their project. Turf has been replaced with drought tolerant plants and mulch to retain soil moisture. BEFORE: Photo from the curb showing parkway and front yard where the customer plans to remove turf. The street and home are used as  reference points. AFTER: Photo from the same vantage point after the project is completed. Turf has been replaced with California Friendly plants. BEFORE: Photo of a narrow strip of turf with a fence on the left and street on the right as reference. AFTER: Photo of the same area with permeable decomposed granite path, drought tolerant plants, and mulch to retain water.

Photos that do not meet guidelines:

BEFORE: Photo is too up-close. It does not include any reference points such as home, street, sidewalk, or fences. AFTER: This photo is too up-close. You cannot see the converted area or any reference points such as a home, street, sidewalk, or fences. Photo is in not in color. Google street view or other internet images do not qualify.

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. One example is Google Earth.

Tools you will need:

Steps for measuring your lawn:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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


Height multiplied by Width and divided by 2 = Square Footage

Visit the Turf Removal Program FAQs page to learn more.


Residential Turf Rebate

get your rebate here
estimate your turf rebate
estimate your turf rebate

Visit MWD Website


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