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Response Overwhelming for Cary Water Conservation Effort

Posted March 25, 2008
Updated October 21, 2011

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— What's the secret to a long-lasting landscape? Keep it simple, says Cary homeowner Jenie Jones.

"You don't see any annuals in the yard this year, because they have to be watered every day," she said.

Most of her yard is mulch. The little grass she has left – she's thinking about getting rid of it all together.

Like hundreds of other Cary residents, Jones is considering the town's new turf buyback program, which will give individual homeowners $500 to rip up at least 1,000 square feet of fescue and replace it with the drought resistant, warm-season grass.

More than 500 people have already contacted town leaders about the program and three other new programs the town is implementing in an effort to save water.

But the Town Council budgeted for 200 people. It's unclear how the town will decide who gets to take advantage of the turf buyback.

"We are trying to work out the details, that is, the most equitable way of applying (it)," Marie Cefalo, water conservation coordinator for the town, said.

For all four programs – the town will spend about $237,000 a year. Another $78,000 will be spent this year on startup – funding town leaders say will be built in to utility costs.

Jones says she's excited about her new landscape option.

"It's definitely something to look into," she said.

Although there's no guarantee, she'll be one of the chosen ones.

"We were not certain with what we were going to get, so we're impressed with what we've received, so far," Cefalo said.

Town leaders say they're still working out the application process for each program. For now, a start date for the turf buyback is set for July 1.

7 Comments

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  • lizard Mar 26, 2008

    Waste of taxpayer money. Don't let them irrigate, fescue dies, outlaw all but warm weather grass, grass is planted and grows. Savings to the taxpayer and they still have the warm weather grass.

  • CestLaVie Mar 26, 2008

    Now THAT'S BEING PROACTIVE, unlike the idiots who are "running" Raleigh - the Raleigh City Council and its administrative staff.

    But leave it to Cary, where most of the people living there are originally from places outside of NC, have seen what works elsewhere, and have the AUDACITY to move beyond traditionalistic, herd-mentality way of thinking (i.e. outside the box!!).

  • Southern Fried Yankee Mar 25, 2008

    You have to water annuals every DAY? Why didn't anyone TELL me that!!!

    ARRRRGH!!!!

  • johnston line Mar 25, 2008

    Any chance water restrictions could be temporarily lifted for establishmnet of warm season turf? Once established, it would need very little water, but if it does not get established.....it and all the sediment under it washes into the streams. And Cary has been very proactive in year-round, permanet water restrictions....for 6 years. Jordan Lake is full. The residents have earned the right to use irrigation responsibly.

  • Garden Guy Mar 25, 2008

    The people who bought homes next to the water treatment plant and "didn't know" if would have an odor should get first dibs... just to even out the rough spots in life.

  • cocker_mom Mar 25, 2008

    good on them for encouraging (monetarily) a more responsible landscape option, as well as other water saving ideas. So it's only 200 this time around - if the response is overwhelming, then they'll offer more.

    Do people have to be whiny when a local government tries to do right by their community? Jeez.

    It's pretty likely that anyone converting to a warm season grass will go the sod route. That said - no one would then immediately spend the money to rip it back up to put in seeded fescue or more sod. That's a lot of money down the tubes to get that $500.

    Besides - once they see how little that have to water warm season, how nice it looks, how slow it grows and how weed resistant it is - they won't want to.

    Good for Cary. (now hopefully no wacky HOA's will say brown grass in the winter isn't allowed....)

  • superman Mar 25, 2008

    They going to have annual yard inspections? What happens when the home owner decides to go back to fesque or whatever they had before getting the 500.00? They should have stated in the beginning -- only 200 people. Who and how they going to make their selection. Guess the city council members will be first in line-- that is right behind the mayor.