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State emergency drought relief funds help turf rebate programs

New state emergency drought relief funds are helping the Coachella Valley become drought tolerant.

Local water agencies received more than $5.2 million, but its short of what was requested.

“The Coachella Valley stands to receive about 5.2 million dollars in drought relief out of about 220 million dollars that was released statewide,” said Desert Water Agency spokesperson Katie Ruark.

The money comes from Prop 84, a bond measure approved by voters in 2006

“We got about 68 percent of what we originally asked for,” said Ruark. “We have to scale back our projects a little bit, divide up the funding a little bit differently than we originally applied for.”

Coachella Valley Regional Water Management Group decided most of the money is going to turf rebate programs with each of the five water agencies in the Valley getting a portion.

Here is the breakdown:

•Mission Springs Water District Turf Rebate: $500,000

•Coachella Water Authority Turf Rebate: $500,000

•Desert Water Agency Turf Rebate: $1,290,212

•Coachella Valley Water District Turf Rebate: $1,290,212

•Indio Water Authority Turf Rebate: $1,290,212

Coachella Valley Water District will use the money as an incentive.

“This grant is hopefully going to rip out a lot of turf that’s unnecessary on golf courses. Coachella Valley Water District has an open call for projects right now so golf courses who are interested in this can apply today,” said Ruark.

This cash infusion into turf buy back programs comes as others have already run out of money. Desert Water Agency’s residential program is currently on a wait list.

“Our turf buy back program is out of money right now, so this is a great addition for us,” said Ruark.

The rest of the funds create a new program that will help disadvantaged communities conserve water by fixing their plumbing.

•Disadvantaged Community Onsite Plumbing Retrofit Program: $300,000

•Grant Administration: $100,000

“We’ll be able to use some of this grant funding to help with leaky pipelines or leaky toilets in some of those communities that aren’t able to access conservation dollars now,” said Ruark.

Once up and running, local non-profits will help identify eligible families and communities.

For more information about which turf rebate programs are currently active and how to sign up, contact your water agency.

KESQ News Team

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