San Jose's ‘Lawn Buster' Program Gives Incentives for Drought Resistant Turf

As the drought continues to diminish California's bodies of water, including San Jose's iconic Guadalupe River, the city of San Jose announced that it is introducing another incentive to help conserve water.

On Friday, the city launched Lawn Busters, a pilot program that enables residents to convert their lawns to more drought-tolerant landscapes at a relatively low cost.

Eligible homeowners will be able to receive a re-landscaping package that includes all landscape materials, drought-resistant plants, irrigation conversion, and labor for the discounted cost of $500, according to San Jose city officials.

"Lawns take up a large portion of overall residential water usage, and even a small lawn can use more than 18,000 gallons of water a year," said partner organization Our City Forest's executive director Rhonda Berry in a statement. "Converting front lawns to drought-friendly plants benefits the urban ecosystem and show that these landscapes are both sustainable and beautiful."

In order to qualify, households must be customers of the San Jose Municipal Water System in an owner-occupied, single family home, city officials said. The area for conversion must be 500-1,500 square feet, have a sprinkler irrigation system and a controller in working condition.

According to city officials, 25 percent of the program been set aside for low-income homeowners who qualify.

The City of San Jose is partnering with the San Jose Municipal Water System, nonprofit Our City Forest, and the Santa Clara Valley Water District to make this program possible.

"We're in a serious drought, which pushes us to rethink how we use water," said director of San Jose's Environmental Services department Kerrie Romanow in a statement. "Innovative programs like Lawn Busters can show our residents how to decrease their water use and ultimately save money on their water bills."

More information about Lawn Busters and how to qualify for the program may be found at

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