Benefits to the Wider Community In addition, SNWA has launched a program called the Water Smart Contractor that allows private sector landscapers to obtain an effective water landscaping certificate. Contractors who purchase their certificates can use the Water Smart Contractor Badge on their marketing materials and vehicles. This, in turn, gives landowners the confidence that the landscapers they hire are able to work on their conversion projects. The ultimate results of the Water Smart Landscapes program? Residents and businesses have removed enough lawn to match 1,250 football fields. That`s more than 70 million square metres — enough sod to place a one-third of the way around the equator. Twenty thousand homeowners participated in the Water Smart Landscapes program and Nevada saved 4 billion gallons of water per year. Ultimately, what SNWA learns can benefit other distribution companies that face the challenges of water protection. “We regularly have people from other agencies who see how we do things,” Bennett said. “We pass on this information for the good of all.” Incentive In 1999, SNWA launched a program called Water Smart Landscapes to encourage landowners to turn their lawns into attractive, water-efficient landscapes. The incentive? A discount of $0.40 per square metre of replaced sod, which then increased to USD 1 per square meter. “The rebate is funded by regional connection fees and new developments in the valley,” said Doug Bennett, SNWA`s Conservation Officer. “If new neighbourhoods are being relocated to an already developed area, there can be a lot of constraints in each commune where resources must be shared with newcomers.
When we explained that these newcomers were paying the rebates, it helped to allay the concerns. Property owners interested in participating in the program complete an application and email it or visit a website to apply online, an option preferred by about 60% of participants. The process then requires a SNWA representative to visit the owners to quantify how much property they are interested in converting. The company found that the process of recruiting clients into the conservation program was generally beneficial, but had inherent inefficiencies. “Traditionally, technicians would go to the office to get their work orders, go to the client`s house to collect information about their belongings, and then go back to the office to fill out forms,” Bennett said. “This office work lasted one to two hours of his day. It is one or two hours that could be better spent on water protection. Understanding the effectiveness of alternative water conservation approaches is essential to ensure the safety and reliability of the water supply to city dwellers. We analyze data from one of the longest cash for grass policies, the Southern Nevada Water Authority`s Water Smart Landscapes program, where owners are paid to replace grass with desert landscapes. We use a 16-year data panel with monthly water consumption records for 300,000 households in Las Vegas, Nevada. We estimate the average water saving per square meter of lawn, which is removed with an event study and a panel difference.
We find that participation in this program has reduced the average consumption of the treated home by 20 per cent. We find no evidence that water degradation is necessary as the landscape ages. Based on the assumed horizon of the benefits of grass distance, we find that the Water Smart Landscapes program has saved about $1.88 per thousand gallons of water, which is conducive to other means of conserving or increasing supply. The rapid increase in demand, coupled with limited supply, has a high price for water protection in southern Nevada.