PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- As the drought worsens, it's critical that all Californians do their part to save water. Millions of dollars have been set aside in the new state budget to help homeowners do just that.
Nearly $3 billion is going toward helping the drought and water conservation efforts.
State and local leaders made the announcement Thursday next to the Sheldon Reservoir in Pasadena. The money is coming from the recently-signed state budget.
"The work that we can all do conserving water, using less water than we usual do, it is going to stretch our water supplies because we don't know when the drought is going to end," said Wayde Crowfoot, Secretary of California Natural Resources Agency.
Of those funds, $75 million will be used to fund turf-replacement programs like the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's rebate program.
It offers residents and businesses $2 per square foot of lawn that is converted to water efficient landscaping. Each municipality could offer additional incentives.
"$75 million will be for turf-replacement programs across the states, but most people in California live in Southern California so we expect a disproportionate amount to find its way to Southern California," Crawfoot said.
Krista Guerrero, a response specialist with Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said the agency has been providing this rebate for several years, including during the last drought.
$100 million will be used to fund other water conservation efforts.
Water district officials said now is the perfect time to look into these programs.
"The hot summer months are the perfect times to apply for the rebate, get your money reserved. and then let your grass die so you can plant in the fall," Guerrero said.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California said the rebate program has been budgeted to last for the next two years.