Xeriscaping refers to a type of landscaping that reduces the need for supplemental water from irrigation. This is a form of gardening that is becoming very popular in desert areas such as Las Vegas where fresh water is at a premium.
Plants are used in xeriscaping that are drought tolerant and will grow and actually flourish in our arid environment. In large areas of grass, part or sometimes all of the lawn is removed and replaced with decorative rocks of different sizes.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) offers a rebate program to individual home owners and multi family properties as an inducement to convert their lawns to desert landscaping. Since water bills are constantly increasing, there are a number of benefits to this conversion other than lower water bills:
- Conservation of water
- Little fertilization required
- Maintenance and pruning kept to a minimum
- Pest and disease problems decreased
Individual home owners and Home Owner Associations are required to apply to the SNWA for determination of their eligibility before making any changes to the grassy areas. Applicants must be prepared to participate in a site review with SNWA prior to conversion. Starting without prior approval will make the conversion ineligible. In addition, the applicant must be current with their water account.
Before applying for eligibility, applicant should be aware that in order to participate in the program, at least 400 sq. ft. of lawn must be converted. A smaller area will be considered if a lawn is completely eliminated – or in the case of a single family home – the entire front or back lawn will be converted.
The SNWA will provide the applicant a list of appropriate plants to use as part of the desert landscaping. They require that approximately 50 per cent of the converted area is covered by live plants at maturity.
What this means is that individual home owners or Home Owner Associations cannot remove a large (or small) area of grass and dump a load of rocks in this location and receive a SNWA rebate. There must be a plan in place so that the xeriscaped area is an esthetically appealing combination of various sizes of rocks and drought tolerant plants in order to be approved by the SNWA.
The rebate incentive consists of $1.50 per square foot for the first 5,000 square feet and $1.00 per square foot thereafter. Rebate will not exceed $300,000 of approved payments for each SNWA fiscal year which runs from July 1st through June 30th . This limitation applies to each property or each owner. After the conversion plan is approved, the applicant has up to six months for completion.
After the conversion has been completed and SNWA is notified, they will conduct an inspection to confirm compliance by the applicant. Agreement between SNWA and applicant states that the conversion must continuously remain in effect.