San Diegans ripping out their grass for water-saving artificial turf despite lack of rebates

Artificial turf sales skyrocket amid drought

SAN DIEGO - More and more people are ripping out their green grass and trading it in for the fake stuff.

According to several San Diego-area artificial turf dealers, sales have increased upwards of 50 percent since California Gov. Jerry Brown announced the state is in the midst of its worst drought in years.

"A lot of people say, 'I don't want fake grass. I don't want fake grass,'" said Eco Turf owner Art Sanchez. "But once we install it, I've had a lot of people call back to say they love it."

Artificial turf saves water and money. Roughly 50 percent of a water bill is spent outside for homeowners who have grass yards.

"Out of all the water we have on the planet, 1 percent is for drinking water and we're using it for watering lawns," said Sanchez.

According to Sanchez's calculations, a 1000-square-foot yard needs about 160,000 gallons of water a year just to stay green. 

"That's a lot of money, a lot of water," he said.

Artificial turf requires no water.

Oddly enough, neither the city of San Diego nor the San Diego County Water Authority offers rebates for people who install artificial turf.

A SDCWA spokesman said artificial turf is not covered because previous incentive programs were not enough to persuade people to install fake grass and that they want to promote natural options which also "provide additional environmental benefits such as wildlife habitat."

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