Be Water Smart: Reduce Watering Grass and Get Cash from the SNWA

To promote Water Smart landscaping techniques and conservation, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) has offered incentives to reduce watering grass, replace lawns with desert landscape, and install rain sensors and “smart” irrigation controllers.

Keeping a lawn green can be a challenge in the triple-digit heat of the Mojave Desert, and it can require watering grass a lot. The result: high water bills and drying up the desert’s most precious resource — water.


Through its Water Smart public awareness campaign, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) has promoted desert landscaping and xeriscape design that focus on utilizing plants that thrive in the heat and using efficient watering techniques. Residents have been inspired by the agency’s design examples and cash rebates to replace grass with desert plants and to use more efficient irrigation.


To help promote water conservation, SNWA offers financial incentives to re-landscape with water-efficient designs that help make watering grass – and your high water bills – a thing of the past.

Water Smart Landscape

SNWA launched its flagship Water Smart Landscape program in 1999, rewarding those who replace existing grass with desert friendly landscaping. Through its Water Smart Landscape Rebate, you may receive a rebate based on per square foot of grass removed when you re-landscape using water-efficient design.


The premise is simple, but the process is more complicated than just stop watering grass or digging it out. Requirements include the following:

  • Removing a minimum square footage of grass;
  • Covering at least 50 percent of the conversion area with plants;
  • Incorporating permeable mulching material like rock, bark, ungrouted flagstone or pavers, or permeable artificial turf into the remaining converted area (you have to re-landscape, not just pave it over with concrete); and
  • Using efficient irrigation such as a drip system.

Preapproval of a water-efficient landscaping plan and a preconversion site review are required. This “cash for your grass” incentive has yielded tangible results. According to Davis, during its first 13 years, more than 165 million square feet of grass were replaced in over 49,000 projects valleywide, saving about 59.3 billion gallons in watering grass.


Program specifics, sample landscape designs, a plant search tool and a list of Water Smart contractors are available online and by calling (702) 258-SAVE (7283).

Smart Irrigation

You can conserve water and reduce watering without a total re-landscape by making your irrigation system “smarter.” Since the mid-2000s, SNWA has helped off-set the costs of purchasing devices that will automatically stop watering during and after a rain storm.

  • Rain sensors can shut off your irrigation when it detects excess moisture in the soil.
  • “Smart” irrigation controllers adjust watering according to the weather.

To promote their use, SNWA has offered rebate coupons for both of these products. Check out the agency’s website for information about rain sensor rebates or call (702) 258-7283; smart irrigation controller rebate program information is also available online and at (702) 862-3760.


Through these conservation techniques and re-landscaping, you will enjoy lower water bills and the satisfaction of conserving water in the dry desert.

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