CA water agencies ponder if the drought-relieving experiment was worth it

Tony Corcoran
In this Friday, June 5, 2015, photo, Tony Corcoran records sprinklers watering the lawn in front of a house in Beverly Hills, Calif. Corcoran is one of several people who spend their spare time these days canvassing the tony communities of Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and elsewhere, looking for people wasting water during the worst California drought in recent memory. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) – California water agencies that spent more than $350 million in the last two years of drought to pay property owners to rip out water-slurping lawns are now trying to answer whether the nation’s biggest lawn removal experiment was all worth the cost.

Gov. Jerry Brown targeted California lawns last year when he ordered up a $25 million lawn rebate campaign by the state.

Southern California’s giant Metropolitan Water District put more than $300 million additional money into lawn-removal rebates. Dozens of other water agencies spent millions more.

Water experts are now using satellite images, infrared aerial photos, door-to-door surveys and a lot of complicated math to figure out whether the lawn rebates paid off.

Lawns and gardens nationwide use one-third of all water consumed by American households.

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