Previous Ask EMWD! Questions and Answers that
have been featured in our monthly eConnect.
Can my HOA fine me for not watering my lawn during the drought?
During California’s previous drought, the State Water Resources
Control Board adopted regulations stating that Homeowners
Associations (HOA) could not issue fines during a state or
regional drought emergency, and those rules remain in place.
HOA’s are also not able to prohibit you from installing drought
tolerant landscaping as a way to save water, and also may not
require homeowners to pressure wash their homes or hardscapes
during a drought.
HOA’s can issue citations if your landscape is unkept, so while
you can let your lawn go brown, it is important to keep the
property free of weeds and well maintained.
EMWD is working with HOA’s throughout its service area to ensure
they are partners in water use efficiency as we all do our part
during this historic drought.
How do I qualify for EMWD’s water use efficiency rebates and
All EMWD residential customers with irrigated landscapes — areas
in front and backyards currently being watered — are eligible to
receive services and rebates.
EMWD will guide you through the rebate process, install equipment
for FREE and help you save money and water!
There are multiple ways to participate, whether it’s a free
landscape evaluation service, a free weather-based irrigation
controller, or free high-efficiency sprinkler nozzles. You can
choose one or all options to design front and backyards perfect
Visit our Landscapes for Living website at landscapesforliving.emwd.org.
How do I enroll in the turf replacement program?
Removing turf grass is one of the most water saving adjustments a
homeowner can make to reduce their water usage and associated
EMWD customers are
eligible for a rebate of $3.00 per square foot up to 5,000
square feet through The Metropolitan Water District of Southern
California (MWD) Turf Replacement program—$2.00 from MWD and an
additional $1.00 from EMWD.
The program is a two-part application process. In order to
receive a rebate, you must first apply to reserve rebate funds
prior to starting your project. After the reservation, you will
have 180 days to complete the project and submit your request for
Items to have ready before applying: 1) A copy of your recent
water bill, 2) At least five color photos of the area where you
plan to remove turf, 3) A simple landscape plan that shows the
area to be transformed and location of your stormwater retention
feature, i.e. rain garden, rain barrel, etc.
Please note, approval of rebate applications are on a first-come,
first-serve basis and subject to funding availability. Submitting
a reservation request or application does not guarantee approval
Help offset the costs of removing and replacing your front or
backyard lawn with drought-tolerant landscaping by visiting
Why are new homes being built when California is experiencing
such a serious drought?
EMWD is not a land use agency. Our responsibility is to supply
water to developments approved per County and City general plans.
In recent years, regulations were expanded to require new
construction to have more efficient plumbing and landscaping.
EMWD makes sure these standards are met by allocating water
budgets that are up to 30 percent lower than older homes and
New developments also pay a Financial Participation Charge (FPC)
to fund development of new water supply sources to meet their own
needs. Infrastructure expansion projects such as our new Perris
II Desalination complex are funded in-part by FPC’s.
By creating new local water supply sources, new development is
not “taking” from existing homes and businesses but helping to
expand our local supplies and reduce our reliance on imported
Learn more at
Q: I want to get rid of my grass lawn. Where do I begin?
This is a great question, and a great way to save water!
EMWD customers can receive up to $3 per square foot through
rebate programs through
SoCalWaterSmart.com. Customers should apply for the program
before removing their grass.
From there, EMWD’s
Landscapes for Living link on
www.emwd.org has a variety of tools available to help you
create a beautiful, water-saving landscape at your home!
Q: What are schools and parks doing to help save water?
A: Schools and parks across EMWD’s service area are
among the most forward-thinking when it comes to being efficient
EMWD has worked with both schools and public parks so that many
of those facilities are using recycled water to irrigate their
fields. This reduces their demands on our drinking water supplies
and also provides significant cost savings for them.
Approximately 35 percent of EMWD’s overall water supply is met
through recycled water. EMWD currently has 27 schools and 76
parks in its service area using recycled water. Recycled water is
also not subject to the same restrictions during the drought as
potable water, so these facilities can remain green so our
families have a place to recreate.