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Program Offering Incentives For Water Conservation In Utah Expanding

Two landscape programs that encourage Utahns conserve water are expanding to Utah, Duchesne, Uintah, and Weber counties.

The Flip Your Strip andLocalscapes programs provide financial incentives for homeowners to convert to more water efficient landscaping.

Rick Maloy is the Water Conservation Manager for the Central Utah Water Conservancy and said when people use the Flip Your Strip program to replace the grass in their parkstrip with drought tolerant plants and drip lines, it makes a big difference. 

“Usually it's about three-five thousand gallons of water a year just in that little strip of lawn. And so, it can certainly make an impact and we want it to kind of carry on down the road and have whole neighborhoods convert over to a more water efficient strip," said Maloy.


People who participate in the program receive $1 for each square foot of grass they replace. If participants attend a class to learn about replacing turf and maintaining drought tolerant plants, the incentive increases to $1.25 per square foot. 


Localscapes is another class offered by the district. Attendees learn about picking plants that will thrive in drier environments. 


“A lot of times people hear the word zero scape or xeriscape and they think like a wagon wheel and rock and very bland and nothing really interesting and people that kind of turns a lot of people off. And so we change to local scapes, which still includes lawn, but we want to make sure that lawn is put in an area that makes sense that's uninterrupted. It's not the default landscape. It’s a designed element with other things outside of the lawn," said Maloy.


Although the district has been teaching these classes for several years, the associated incentives are new. People can sign up for the programs or rebates online. Classes are offered online or in person. Currently, the financial incentives are only available in select areas, but Maloy expects other areas in the state to begin offering programs soon.


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Ellis Juhlin is a science reporter here at Utah Public Radio and a Master's Student at Utah State. She studies Ferruginous Hawk nestlings and the factors that influence their health. She loves our natural world and being part of wildlife research. Now, getting to communicate that kind of research to the UPR listeners through this position makes her love what she does even more. In her free time, you can find her outside on a trail with her partner Matt and her goofy pups Dodger and Finley. They love living in a place where there are year-round adventures to be had!