Water Smarty Program Yields Appealing Landscapes

Fourteen participants have completed their Water Smarty projects, replacing turf with hardscape materials, drought tolerant plants, or a combination of both.

The City hopes to continue the program next year, as outdoor irrigation accounts for the majority of water use in the city. This year’s projects show that appealing landscapes don’t have to break the water bank.

Water Smarty Rebate Program Has Waiting List

Water Smarty, the City of Hailey’s grass replacement rebate program, is so popular that 18 properties are on the waiting list. Five program participants have completed their projects and received rebates, and 15 more participants have grass replacement projects in progress.

Already, the completed projects are proving how low-water-use yards can be pleasing to the eye. Decomposed granite, flagstones, rock, gravel and mulch have all been used in place of typical lawns. Drought tolerant plant materials (watered with drip irrigation) include an impressive diversity, ranging from perennial flowers and fruit trees, to roses and raspberries.

The City will track the water savings of all participants to quantify and report the program results. Water Smarty is funded in part by a grant from the Idaho Water Resource Board. The City allocated a share equal to the grant. The result is a pilot program large enough to determine the effectiveness of turf removal on the rate of outdoor water use.

It is uncertain how far the rebate funds will go in this round of the program. When a participant completes a project, the City calculates the amount of the rebate. If a participant doesn’t receive the full $2,000 rebate possible under the program, the remainder goes back into the funding pool, and the next person on the waiting list is approved for funding. To be placed on the waiting list, or to learn more about the program.  www.watersmarty.org