With our lack of rainfall this year and pumping restrictions from the delta, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has just changed their position from a voluntary 10% conservation request to a 25% mandatory water restriction effective this year. Depending on your water usage, these limits could prompt higher water bills, brown lawns or future fines (not currently enforced) from the “water police” for water usage during peak times.

Why not reconsider a lawn alternative to your water thirsty, barely used ‘square of green’?

Now is a great time to make the switch since residents in Santa Clara County may qualify for a water rebate simply by replacing lawns with water-wise plants and/or pervious surfaces. As noted on Santa Clara Valley Water District’s website www.valleywater.org, “Water Efficient Landscape Rebate Program (WELRP) is designed to assist homeowners and commercial, industrial and institutional property owners by offering a rebate for the removal of thirsty turf grass if replaced with low-water using plants and/or permeable hardscape. Simple changes in plant type and irrigation methods can greatly reduce the water required for an attractive landscape.”

Santa Clara County residents can receive a rebate up to $1,000 (or $75 per 100 sq. feet -whichever is lower). If you reside in Morgan Hill or Palo Alto, you might be eligible for $150 per 100 sq. feet with a residential maximum rebate of $2,000.

Here are a few of the steps involved:

  1. Consult with a landscape designer who is familiar with the program. They may give you ideas that you had not previously considered.
  2. Contact a Water Wise Consultant (866) 685-2322 to schedule a pre-inspection before removing any lawn area. The lawn to be inspected must be green by the time of inspection. Brown lawns don’t count so make sure you do not stop watering before the inspection.
  3. Once the pre-inspection is complete, a letter will be sent informing you whether you are qualified to participate. If you qualify, the application form will accompany the approval letter. The approval letter will spell out how much money (depending on how many square feet of lawn were removed) you can expect to receive in the best case scenario. The rebate amount will be used to reimburse you for the purchase of reimbursable plants, permeable hardscape, and drip irrigation parts.
  4. Upon acceptance of the approval letter you will have ninety (90) days to complete the re-landscaping project.
  5. Your landscape designer or contractor can provide you with a proof of purchase for your reimbursable materials..
  6. Fill out the application and attaches the proof of purchase. Submit both to the Santa Clara Valley Water District and wait for check in the mail.

As with most County programs, rebates are only good while funding lasts (some programs end mid-year). Therefore, it’s important to take advantage of these programs quickly. For more information on all programs offered through the Santa Clara Valley Water district please visit www.valleywater.org or call for more information.

  • Irrigation system and weather–based controller rebates (408) 265-2607, ext. 2639
  • Irrigation training workshops for professionals (408) 265-2607, ext. 2554
  • Water –wise house calls to lower the overall household water usage (800) 548-1882