Application Terms and Conditions

Using water efficiently is a way of life in San Diego County and an important responsibility that comes with living in the beautiful Mediterranean climate that we enjoy.  About 40 percent of all water used by San Diego County homes and businesses goes to watering outdoor landscaping.  WaterSmart landscapes can deliver water savings as compared to traditional landscapes. The San Diego County Water Authority's WaterSmart Turf Replacement Program is offering an incentive of $1.50 per square foot to customers within its service area who replace existing, water-intensive turf grass with alternative, water-efficient landscaping. Limited funding is available through California Department of Water Resources and Bureau of Reclamation grants and distributed on a first come, first-served basis until exhausted. Pre-existing turf removal/replacement projects are not eligible for participation in this Program.

Participation in the Program is initiated by submitting an online Rebate Reservation and Rebate Request Application.  Before completing the Rebate Reservation and Rebate Request Application for this Program, you must read, understand, and accept the WaterSmart Turf Replacement program’s Terms and Conditions listed below, the Process Guidelines, and Design Requirements (for commercial, industrial, and institutional Participants). You may also request a copy by calling 866-685-2322 or by sending an email to


Participant agrees to be bound by the following terms and conditions:

Rebate reservation and support documentation are required to be qualified for a rebate.  Only one Program rebate per site address will be issued.  Commercial accounts may apply for the rebate once per year, as funding permits.

Water Authority:  Refers to the San Diego County Water Authority, its member agencies, and contractors.

Project: Turf replacement projects within residential, commercial, industrial, or institutional sites as proposed by Participants meeting Program qualifications. 

Participant: All rate payers named on a water account, in good standing with a Water Authority member agency, are eligible to apply.  “In good-standing” means the owner of the water account cannot have been late in making payment to their retail water agency utility bill in the last 12 months and is not in violation of any water-use prohibitions.  Water Authority reserves the right to verify if Participant is in good standing with its member agency.  If a Program incentive payment is eventually made by the Water Authority, it can only be made payable to Participant.  Participant has sole responsibility for complying with all applicable laws, permits, ordinances, codes, policies, covenants, conditions, and restrictions that may apply to performance of the Project.  If Participant is not the owner of the real property, then the property owner’s Project authorization will also be required before the Water Authority approves the rebate reservation application.

Prohibited Participants:  Employees, Board of Directors, officers, representatives, agents, and contractors of the Water Authority, and any other entity involved in the administration of the Program, and their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of such persons are not eligible to participate in the Program.

Re-landscaped Area:   Refers to that part of the landscape, in square feet, which qualifies for and for which Water Authority may pay the incentive of up to $1.50 per square foot.  The Re-landscaped Area:

  • Only includes areas currently covered by living turf grass; the grass must be living when the rebate reservation application is approved. (Do not kill your lawn until your rebate reservation application has been approved by Water Authority.)
  • Must be on a property within Water Authority's service area.
  • Must be greater than 400 square feet for residential sites or 1,000 square feet for commercial sites, but no greater than:
    • 2,000 square feet for residential sites (actual re-landscaped area may by larger than 2,000 square feet, but only the first 2,000 square feet are eligible for the incentive); or
    • 6,000 square feet for commercial, industrial, or institutional sites (actual re-landscaped area may by larger than 6,000 square feet, but only the first 6,000 square feet are eligible for the incentive).
  • For residential sites, may only include the front yard (and side yards if visible from the street); other landscaped areas, such as backyards or island medians, are not eligible.
  • Must be covered with existing live turf grass being irrigated with potable water at the time the rebate reservation application is approved by Water Authority.  Areas irrigated with recycled water are not eligible.
  • Must be re-landscaped based on a design approved by Water Authority (for commercial, industrial or institutional Participants); approval will be based on the Design Requirements” documents. 
  • Must be maintained and remain in compliance with all Program conditions for at least five (5) years


No Warranty and Waiver of Claims: The Water Authority makes no representation or warranty relating to products or contracted services that may be installed in re-landscaped areas, including any hazardous substances that may be contained in products. Replacement of turf and installation of water efficient devices does not guarantee reduced water use. The scope of the Program is limited to providing financial incentives for landscape upgrades while funding is available. By participating in the Program, Participant waives and releases the Water Authority from any and all claims and causes of action arising out of the replacement of turf and/or purchase, installation or use of the devices purchased in connection with this Program. Any claims by Participants based upon any defect or performance failure by a device should be pursued with the manufacturer/distributor or installation contractor.

Notices: Participant shall obtain prior written authorization from Water Authority before beginning Project implementation. Participant shall provide timely notice of Project completion in order to accommodate review by the Water Authority and the scheduling of any necessary site inspections. 

Visibility from Street: Participating sites may serve as community showcase projects and must remain visible from streets for at least two years after Project completion.  Only front or side yards visible from the street are eligible for participation in this Program.   

Schedule: Participant agrees to complete Project installation within 120 days of approval of rebate reservation application and to accommodate the Water Authority’s inspection of the site or Participant risks forfeiting the Program’s incentive and rebate.  Rebate reservations are valid for 120 days. Projects must be completed and the Rebate Request (Part 2 of the application form) submitted prior to the reservation expiring.  Participant understands it may take up to 80 days to receive a rebate after submitting a rebate request application.

Compensation: The Program provides up to $1.50 per square foot of eligible landscape area up to a maximum of 2,000 square feet for residential sites and 6,000 square feet of commercial, industrial or institutional sites.  Rebate will be paid to Participant upon successful completion of the Project (including submittal of any required documentation), as determined in the sole judgment of the Water Authority.  Project installation shall comply with approved design plans in order for Participant to be eligible for reimbursement.  Rebates may be considered taxable income.  Any applicable taxes are the sole responsibility of the Participant.  Participants are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax professionals regarding any potential tax liability that may arise from participation in the Program.

Cost Data: Participant must submit ORIGINAL itemized, paid sales receipts and invoices for Project costs, including design services and materials to the Water Authority, which must include vendor and/or company name, purchase date, date of services, itemized list of products purchased, and description of services rendered.  Labor costs for installation are NOT eligible for reimbursement.  Eligible landscape material costs include, but are not limited to, plant material, irrigation equipment, soil amendment, mulch, and other materials specific to the landscape design plans associated with the Project.

Performance Tracking: Participant certifies that he/she is the water service account holder of record and grants permission to the Water Authority to obtain and share water service usage records, from three years prior to the Project to five years after Project implementation for Project research and promotional purposes.  Except for the water usage records described above, the Water Authority will treat all other account holder information in a manner consistent with the California Public Records Act, including but not limited to Government Code Section 6254.16.

Publicity Release: Participant hereby grants the Water Authority all rights necessary to publish, disseminate, and promote the Program using Project-specific pictures, video, landscape plans, cost and water use data, and other information.  Participant agrees that the Water Authority may use the Project address in Program-related advertising, publicity, and promotion through various media (videos, print, web, and other) for at least two years after completion of the Project. 

Signage: Participant consents to allow, in compliance with local laws, Water Authority to post Program-related signage and promotional material on-site, including callout tags for plants and irrigation equipment, general signage to identify site as a Program Participant, and related appurtenances for the distribution of Program leaflets for one year after Project completion.

Site Access: Participant shall permit Water Authority, to access to the Project site upon reasonable notice at a mutually agreeable time. This Project site access may be utilized to: (1) verify compliance with the Program, including the condition of the landscape prior to and after the Project installation, the square footage of the Program landscape area, the efficiency of the new irrigation system, and verify conformance with the Program prior to final payment by Water Authority; and (2) exercise the Water Authority’s rights under the “signage” paragraph above.   

Verification:  Completed Project is subject to inspection.  Participants will forfeit Program rebates if they do not to provide site access to the inspector in a timely manner or if the Participant fails to resolve any significant compliance issues noted as a result of the inspection.

At Risk Funding: This program is made possible by grant funding from the California Department of Water Resources and United States Bureau of Reclamation, and is subject to change without notice.  While it is projected that financial incentives for each authorized Project will be fulfilled, Participant understands that Program funding is subject to termination without notice, and that Rebate Reservation and Rebate Request Application acceptance does not ensure rebate funding will be available at the time of Project completion. Participant accepts full and exclusive responsibility for any costs related to the Project, without recourse to the Water Authority.  Participants assume all risk and liability for their Projects. 

This Program and the Terms and Conditions set forth herein, the Process Guidelines, and Design Requirements are subject to change without notice.

Thip program is made possible by financial support from:

  • The Bureau of Reclamation through a Water Conservation Field Services Grant
  • The California Department of Water Resources’ Integrated Regional Water Management Program financed under the California Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Fund of 2002