New Incentive Available for Sustainable Landscape Projects

Short Title
New Incentive Available for Sustainable Landscape Projects
Application period opens for rebates up to $1.75 per square foot for residential landscapes that achieve multiple environmental benefits

Key Requirements for Participants Seeking Sustainable Landscapes Program (SLP) Incentives

  • Existing natural turf area –The proposed project area must currently have natural turf grass. Brown or dead turf is acceptable.
  • 500-3,000 square feet –The turf area to be replaced must be at least 500 square feet. The maximum turf area eligible for a rebate is 3,000 square feet.
  • Existing irrigation system – Theproposed project area must currently have an operational, in-ground irrigation system.
  • Site inspections – A pre-conversion site inspection is mandatory to verify that proposed sites meet the physical requirements. Selected properties may be subject to post-conversion site inspections for compliance verification.
  • Rainwater capture – A project goal is to capture the first flush of rain onsite (one inch of rain within the first 24 hours of rainfall). Participants will be required to calculate the amount of rainwater captured from onsite impermeable surfaces and the volume of detention areas capturing rainwater, such as swales or rain barrels.
  • Eligibility Restrictions –Converted turf areas may not include artificial turf, other turf-like grasses or invasive species. Sites using recycled or well water for irrigation and sites that are hand-watered due to the lack of an irrigation system are not eligible.
  • Eligibility of prior rebate recipients – If a program applicant has previously participated in a turf replacement rebate program and wishes to upgrade an additional space, the area ofthe previous turf replacement may be deducted from the SLP’s allowable 3,000 square feet of incentivized upgrades. The remaining project area would be eligible to receive an SLP incentive.

For a list of SLP incentive program requirements, go to

October 19, 2016

The San Diego Sustainable Landscapes Program partnership is offering a new grant-funded financial incentive for qualified participants who upgrade residential turf lawns to landscapes that provide multiple environmental benefits.

Incentive recipients are required to comply with a set of rigorous design criteria that includes water-efficient plants and irrigation equipment, rainwater capture and detention features, and soil amendments to improve water efficiency. Qualified applicants can receive up to $1.75 per square foot toward eligible project costs for upgrading 500 to 3,000 square feet of existing turf areas. 

Funding for incentives is limited, and will be reserved for completed and approved applications on a first-come, first-served basis. Those interested in participating must be ratepayers within the service areas of the San Diego County Water Authority or the California American Water Co., and must not remove their turf grass before receiving an official “Notice to Proceed” from the program. For additional information about eligibility requirements and how to apply go to

These incentives are a pilot project of the Sustainable Landscapes Program, which helps homeowners transform their landscapes into beautiful, climate-appropriate mini-watersheds that not only save water, but achieve additional benefits such as reducing stormwater runoff and lessening green waste. Incentive program participants must follow a detailed set of environmentally friendly landscaping practices to ensure their projects achieve this heightened level of sustainability and qualify for the rebate.

In addition to the incentives, the Sustainable Landscapes Program offers a suite of other resources for homeowners, including a 71-page San Diego Sustainable Landscape Guidelines publication, landscaping classes and materials, and technical assistance through personalized design coaching. For more information visit

The Sustainable Landscapes Program partnership includes the Association of Compost Producers, the California American Water Co., the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, the Surfrider Foundation, and the San Diego County Water Authority, which is the lead agency. This program was made possible by grants awarded by the California Department of Water Resources. There is currently approximately $500,000 in grant funds to provide the rebate. The Water Authority expects to soon receive another DWR grant to continue the program that would raise the total funding available for rebates to approximately $1.1 million.

This more-holistic approach to landscape design is part of the Water Authority’s efforts to promote water efficiency as a way of life in the San Diego region, no matter the weather.  The Water Authority launched its Live WaterSmart campaign in July to promote the many available opportunities for homeowners and businesses to make the most of every drop. To learn more, go to