Process Guidelines

Based on the following criteria, the San Diego County Water Authority is providing a $1.50 per square foot incentive for sites that replace existing, water-intensive turf grass with alternative, water-efficient landscaping:

  • Existing landscaped turf area to be replaced:
    • Residential sites:  Minimum 400 square feet to maximum 2,000 square feet.
    • Commercial, industrial, or institutional sites:  Minimum 1,000 square feet to maximum 6,000 square feet.
  • Photographs of existing and post-conversion site conditions will be required.
  • Site must have existing turf and an operational in-ground irrigation system.
  • Artificial or synthetic turf (or other turf-looking grasses) and invasive species-type plants are not eligible.
  • Site must be visible from the street (front or side yards only)
  • Customers using recycled or well water for irrigation are currently not eligible to apply for this rebate.
  • Participants agree to maintain upgraded site a minimum of 5 years.
  • Rebate amount based on actual, verified conversion square footage.
  • Project must be completed within 120 days of rebate reservation application approval.
  • Participants are responsible for ensuring projects adhere to all applicable laws, permits, ordinances, codes, policies, covenants, conditions, and restrictions applicable to the site.
  • Note:   Installation and labor costs are ineligible for reimbursement.

Landscape Criteria

  • At maturity, plant density of the converted area must cover at least 50% of project area; tree canopy coverage will not be counted in the 50% plant coverage calculation.
  • 100% of the new landscape MUST be covered with materials such as plants and mulch (minimum 3-inch layer) and must be permeable to air and water (i.e., gravel, loose flagstone, decomposed granite); permeable weed barriers are required under pervious hardscapes.  Concrete, plastic sheeting, and other impermeable surfaces do not qualify.
  • Program requires the replacement of high-water use turf with plants that have moderate, low, or very-low watering requirements as defined in any of the below:
  • Program requires submittal of landscape design plans for commercial, industrial, and institutional sites at the time of online rebate reservation.
  • To maximize water savings, plants should be grouped by similar water requirements (hydrozones).
  • Retrofitted irrigation systems must incorporate low-volume irrigation with a precipitation rate of 1 inch per hour or less (e.g., drip, micro-irrigation, rotating nozzles, etc.) within conversion area.  The newly converted area must be on a separate irrigation valve from remaining turf.  System must be capped if improved area will not have irrigation.
    • The entire irrigation valve (station) must be converted to low-volume irrigation and must have a backflow prevention device.  Most low-volume systems will require pressure regulation to perform properly.  To reduce the pressure of the new low-volume system, entire valve must be converted and fitted with a pressure regulator at the individual valve, or a pressure compensating device must be included at each retrofitted sprinkler head.  For drip and micro-irrigation systems a filter is required either at the valve or at each individual head that is retrofitted with a micro-irrigation emitter.

Program Requirements

  • Participant must submit online rebate reservation and rebate request applications and agree to the Program’s Terms and Conditions that include a photo release, a release of water use records (three years prior to the project and five years after project implementation); agree to allow signage within the re-landscaped area; allow pre- and post-conversion inspection of the site; and, allow the Water Authority or its agents to publicize efforts/results associated with this project (including, but not limited to, photos on website, project location detailed on website, potential tours, etc.)

IMPORTANT: Rebate Reservation must be approved PRIOR to starting project.

  • Completed Projects are subject to onsite inspections and verifications by the Water Authority.  If the Project cannot be verified, any funds received from the Program must be returned.
  • Participants must submit ORIGINAL paid receipts or invoices reflecting purchases of low-water use plants; low-volume irrigation equipment; soil amendments; mulch; and design services (up to $500); costs for installation and labor are not eligible for reimbursement. Please mail ORIGINAL paid project-related receipts and invoices to:

    Turf Replacement Program
    2005 De La Cruz Blvd., #240
    Santa Clara, CA 95050

  • Rebate amount cannot exceed total project cost.
  • Only one turf removal rebate per site address will be issued.  Commercial accounts may apply for the rebate once per year, as funding permits.
  • Project must comply with all applicable laws, codes, policies, covenants, conditions and restrictions applicable to the site.
  • Water Authority will only reimburse that part of the Project actually installed that is congruent with the landscape design, up to the maximum amount of square feet approved in the application.  Any design or plant changes must be approved in writing by the Water Authority prior to Project completion.
  • 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.


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