FAQ

What documentation do I need to submit?

Before starting the project, you must reserve your rebate by submitting the following:

  • Part 1 of the WaterSmart Turf Replacement Program application (rebate reservation) online
  • A copy of your recent water bill
  • Proposed professional-level landscape design plans (for commercial, industrial, or institutional applicants)
  • A Property Owner Project Authorization Form if applicant is the water service account holder but not the owner of the property

After your project is complete, you must submit the following:

  • Part 2 of the WaterSmart Turf Replacement Program application (rebate request) online
  • 4-5 photographs of your completed project
  • Original itemized sales receipts and invoices for Project costs, including design services and materials, 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. 

Can I convert turf in one area at this time, and receive another incentive for turf removal in another area at another time?

No, turf replacement incentives are limited to one application per site address. If you receive a rebate for replacing your turf, you cannot apply for another rebate even if you replace additional turf at a later date.  Please apply for the maximum area you plan to convert.

How long do I have to complete the project?

After receiving approval to start the work, you will have 120 days to complete your project and submit Part 2 of the WaterSmart Turf Replacement Program application (rebate request).

What plants can be used for this program?

Plants can be chosen from plants listed on these following websites, all suitable to our semi-arid region:

Any plant not listed on these websites requires pre-approval by the Water Authority.

If I replace plants other than turf, will these qualify for the rebate?

No.  The specific purpose of this incentive is to assist Water Authority customers in getting rid of their water-thirsty lawns.

Can I use traditional turf grass as part of my new landscape?

Your new landscape cannot contain any turf grass, or artificial or synthetic turf.

What can I replace my lawn with to qualify for the rebate?

You may choose moderate, low, or very-low water use plants, mulch, and/or permeable hardscape such as permeable pavers, gravel, flagstone with sand grouting, or decomposed granite.

What materials do not qualify for a rebate?

Materials not eligible include, but are not limited to the following:  artificial turf, seed, sod, vegetable gardens, vineyards, medium and high water use plants, lawn ornaments, impervious surfaces, cement, decking, curbing, hot tubs, pools, building extensions, retaining walls, sheds, trellises, playground materials, and fences.

How much plant material needs to be planted?

Plant material must cover at least 50% of the new landscaped area by the time the plants are mature, or after approximately two years.

Is mulch required between plants?

Yes, mulch helps prevent runoff and holds moisture in the soil.  Your new landscape must be 100% covered with materials such as plants, compost and mulch (minimum of 3-inch layer), and permeable “hardscape”.  Acceptable mulch includes rock, compost, bark and other organic material.

Do I have to replace my irrigation system?

Your irrigation system must be an efficient system, as described in the Design Requirements . This essentially means you must use drip, micro-spray, rotating stream nozzles, or hand water.  Additional rebates may be available at www.socalwatersmart.com for rotators and irrigation controllers.

I already replaced my lawn with water-efficient plants.  Can I get a rebate?

No.  The Program is not retroactive and cannot provide rebates for projects that were started prior to receiving a notice of approval.  The Program is intended to provide an incentive to convert existing lawns.

I hand water my lawn. Can I get a rebate?

No.  The site must have an existing operational in-ground irrigation system.

I live in a homeowners association (HOA) and do not have an individual water account. Can I still qualify for the program?

If it is a common area that will be re-landscaped, the HOA will need to apply.  If it is your personal area of the complex, then you may be eligible to apply.

How do I effectively kill my lawn?

Take a look at our "How-to " page on this subject.

When will I receive the rebate?

If approved, payments will typically be made within 80 calendar days after Water Authority has been notified that the landscape installation was complete by submitting Part 2 of the WaterSmart Turf Replacement Program application (rebate request) online.

What can be considered as eligible and ineligible turf areas?

Examples of Turf Areas that DO and DO NOT qualify for the Turf Replacement Program.

Can you recommend a landscape contractor?

We cannot recommend particular contractors, and instead suggest that you read through the Turf Replacement Study Guide. You will find a great deal of helpful information there.  Your best bet is to look around your neighborhood and find a water-efficient landscape that you like.  Ask the owner of that property which landscaping contractor they used and about their experience.

How much does it cost to convert a lawn to a water-efficient landscape?

Your new landscape can range from very inexpensive up to $20 per square feet; depending on how much of the work you do yourself and whether you buy inexpensive or expensive materials.  The choice is yours.