residence with water effecient landscaping

Residents can take advantage of savings on a variety of water-saving technologies such as high-efficiency clothes washers and toilets, rain barrels and irrigation nozzles. Residents can schedule free WaterSmart Checkups to make their properties more water-efficient.

Waterscape Rebate Program

The San Diego County Water Authority has partnered with the County of San Diego Watershed Protection Program to provide residents and businesses in unincorporated San Diego County with new and enhanced rebates.

With the Waterscape Rebate Program, property owners can receive financial incentives to: 

  • Replace high-water use turf with watersmart, native plants 
  • Install weather-based irrigation controllers 
  • Install a rain barrel, rain cistern, rain garden, or other rain-saving feature 
  • Install rain gutters
  • Upgrade old driveways and parking lots with pavers or porous pavement 
  • Pump your septic tank and prevent costly repairs 
  • Transform large turf areas with water-wise landscaping (minimum of 10,000 sq. ft. of turf) (Commercial properties only)
  • Install irrigation upgrades recommended by an expert during a free Agricultural Irrigation Efficiency evaluation (Agricultural properties only)

High-Efficiency Washers

SoCal WaterSmart

Southern California residents may qualify for rebates starting at $85 for the purchase of a high-efficiency clothes washer from a list of qualified products through SoCal WaterSmart. An additional rebate may be available from San Diego Gas & Electric.  

Energy Star

Clothes washing is among the most water-intensive activities inside a typical home. High-efficiency clothes washers use 40 percent less water and 25 percent less energy than conventional clothes washers, according to the U.S. EPA’s Energy Star Program. The water savings for each home may be as much as 3,000 gallons per year. High-efficiency washers also save energy by using more efficient motors, requiring less hot water and reducing the drying time needed for clothes.

Premium High-Efficiency Toilets

The SoCal WaterSmart program provides financial incentives for toilets that use less than 1.1 gallon per flush, along with Premium High-Efficiency Toilets. Eligible toilets must replace existing toilets using 1.6 gallons per flush or more. Qualifying toilets must be from the list of approved models. Rebates start at $40 per toilet.

Toilets are by far the largest source of water use inside most homes, accounting for nearly 30 percent of an average home’s indoor water consumption. Recent advances have allowed toilets to use 1.1 gallons per flush or less without reduced performance. Water savings from high-efficiency toilets can save more than $800 on water bills over the lifetime of the product.

Rain Barrels

SoCal WaterSmart

The SoCal WaterSmart program provides financial incentives for purchasing rain barrels or cisterns, which collect water from gutters and downspouts for use on landscapes. They also reduce the amount of water flowing into storm drains. Homeowners can get rebates of up to $35 each on residential rain barrels (up to 2 per home) or $250-$350 for a cistern, depending on capacity.

City of San Diego

 City of San Diego customers may be eligible for the city’s Residential Rainwater Harvesting (Rain Barrel) Rebate Pilot Program, which has its own application process and qualification criteria.

Solana Center

In addition, the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation offers discounted rain barrels that are eligible for rebates at Rainwater – Catch It San Diego!  Rain barrels can also be found at local home improvement stores, nurseries and specialty stores.

Rotating Sprinkler Nozzles

Rotating sprinkler nozzles use 20 percent less water than conventional spray heads by applying water more slowly and uniformly. This prevents misting and overwatering. It also encourages healthy plant growth. SoCal WaterSmart offers rebates starting at $2 per rotating nozzle for residential properties. A minimum of 30 nozzles must be purchased.

Soil Moisture Sensor Systems

Soil moisture sensors measure soil moisture content in the active root zone. Systems eligible for SoCal WaterSmart rebates must include a sensor and a calibrator (typically packaged in the same device) and an irrigation controller. Rebates start at $80, or $35 per irrigation sensor for large residential sites.

Turf Replacement

Turf replacement rebates start at $2 per square foot. Additional funding may be available. Use the Estimate Your Rebate tool to get an estimated rebate amount based on the available funding at the exact time the estimate is provided. Funding levels are comprised of a base rebate provided by Metropolitan Water District and possible additional funding by participating water agencies. Funding levels are subject to change based on availability at the time of rebate approval, therefore the estimated amount provided should not be construed as a guaranteed rebate amount. Once the application is approved, an email is sent to the customer detailing the amount of the rebate to be received by the customer. Past participation may limit eligibility.

Program funding is limited and rebate amounts are subject to change without notice.

WaterSmart Irrigation Checkup

Certified landscape irrigation auditors provide free, on-site inspections and written site-specific water-saving recommendations for qualifying residential properties in the Water Authority’s service area. Residents choose what ideas to implement; water savings can exceed 20 percent from WaterSmart Checkups.

Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers

Weather-based irrigation controllers can reduce water use outdoors. Unlike standard timers that turn on sprinklers at set intervals, “smart” controllers use weather data and site information such as plant type and sprinkler system output to adjust watering times and frequency. Professional installation is recommended because proper set-up usually requires knowledge of soils, precipitation rates, slope and other landscape characteristics.

Incentives from SoCal WaterSmart start at $80 per controller for residential sites with less than one acre of landscaping. For larger residential sites, incentives start at $35 per station. Rebates cannot exceed the purchase price of the controllers.

Want to learn more, dig deeper?

download this documentResidential Rebates Fact Sheet download this documentWater-Efficiency Tips Fact Sheet