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City Renews Sustainable Landscaping Grant Program for 2008

By Lookout Staff

January 9 -- If you want to start the New Year with a new garden and save water to boot, the City of Santa Monica can help.

The City’s Environmental Programs Division announced Wednesday that it will continue to offer competitive landscape grants up to $20,000 to help property owners move away from polluting landscaping that drains water and petroleum, to a landscape that reduces such impacts and mimics native flora and fauna.

“Many homes in Santa Monica use more than 200 gallons of water each day – the equivalent of five bathtubs – to irrigate landscape, much of it simply running off onto sidewalks, streets and alleys,” according to a statement issued by the City’s Environmental Programs Division.

To qualify for a grant, the landscaping plan must include water-efficient irrigation, plus one or more of the following:

  • California native plants,
  • Water-efficient plants,
  • Storm-water management systems,
  • Graywater systems, and/or
  • Other innovative water-saving features.

“Research shows that planting Santa Monica-friendly plants and converting traditional, high-volume sprinkler irrigation systems to water-efficient systems can save up to 80 percent of water use and 60 percent of time and costs associated with maintenance,” environmental officials said.

Since 2005, local homeowners, apartment owners, businesses and schools have been awarded more than $400,000 in landscaping grants.

Applications for the current grant cycle will be accepted through March 27. Applications are available at www.smepd.org or by calling 866.728.3229.

The landscape grant program is one of 15 programs the City offers to save water and reduce ocean pollution.

Managing water demand through implementing sustainable landscaping practices will help further the goal of reducing citywide water use 20 percent by the year 2010, City officials said.

Visit www.smepd.org or call, toll-free, (866) 728-3229 for more details.

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