LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) may be closer to refocusing its rebate program after an audit released Friday showed more than $30 million in incentives had a relatively small impact on residents’ overall water conservation efforts.

Residents who conserved without taking advantage of any financial incentives accounted for 88 percent of the city’s drop in per-capita water use, according to the report by City Controller Ron Galperin.

The DWP spent $17.8 million on rebates for residents and businesses to rip out turf lawns, and $14.9 million on rebates for installing high-efficiency appliances, according to the audit.

A map of the “Cash In Your Lawn” program showed the western San Fernando Valley received the most number of LADWP turf replacement rebates.

Galperin said the turf-replacement program did have value – albeit “largely as [a] gimmick” – by generating publicity and raising awareness of the need for conservation.

The City Controller also took to Twitter to push for changes to how residents can visually track their water usage.

“If money is no object, turf replacement rebates are a relatively expedient way to save water,” Galperin said. “But, of course, money is an object.”

In response to Galperin’s report, LADWP officials said they have already begun implementing most of the audit recommendations.

A statement released by LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager Marty Adams read: “Today, Angelenos use as much water as they did nearly 45 years ago despite an increase in population of more than one million people. Amidst an epic statewide drought, L.A. is on track to meet both Mayor Eric Garcetti and Governor Jerry Brown’s directives to reduce water use.”

Click here (PDF) to read the full audit.

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