commercial building with water efficient landscaping

From free on-farm irrigation assessments of irrigation water to incentives for converting industrial water systems to recycled water service, there are numerous opportunities to improve water efficiency at commercial properties.

On-Site Retrofit Program

The Metropolitan Water District’s (MWD) On-Site Retrofit Program provides financial incentives to public or private property owners to convert potable water irrigation or industrial water systems to recycled water service. Incentives of up to $195 per acre-foot for 10 years of estimated water use are available, with a cap at the actual retrofit costs. Items eligible for incentives include project design; permitting; construction costs associated with the retrofit of potable to recycled water systems; connection fees and required recycled water signage.

Premium High-Efficiency Toilets

Rebates start at $40 for premium high-efficiency toilets that use less than 1.1 gallons per flush from a list of qualified products through SoCal Water$mart. These toilets use almost 20 percent less water than the current WaterSense standard. Eligible toilets must replace existing toilets using at least 1.6 gallons per flush and have a matching bowl and tank.

Soil Moisture Sensor Systems

Soil moisture sensors measure soil moisture content in the active root zone. Systems eligible for SoCal Water$mart rebates must include a sensor and a calibrator (typically packaged in the same device) and an irrigation controller. Rebates start at $80, or $35 per irrigation sensor for large commercial sites.

Water Efficient Landscaper Training

The California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California offer a one-of-a-kind certification and educational opportunity for landscape professionals in Southern California.

This joint effort combines the CLCA Water Management Certification Program with the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper program (QWEL) to offer the landscape industry an opportunity to obtain two nationally recognized EPA WaterSense Professional Certifications with one course and one written test.

Presented in three six-hour classes, these workshops offer CEUs for current certifications and provide a participation certificate. These workshops are free and available only to those in select counties of Southern California within the Metropolitan Water District’s service area, including San Diego.

Water Savings Incentive Program

The SoCal Water$mart Commercial Water Savings Incentive Program is open to commercial, industrial, institutional, agricultural and large-landscape customers with qualifying projects in the Water Authority’s service area.  It provides financial incentives to non-residential customers for customized water-efficiency projects including:

  • Installation of commercial or industrial high-efficiency equipment
  • Industrial process improvements
  • Agricultural and landscape water-efficiency improvements
  • Water management services

Waterscape Rebate Program

The San Diego County Water Authority has partnered with the County of San Diego Watershed Protection Program to provide residents and businesses in unincorporated San Diego County with new and enhanced rebates.

With the Waterscape Rebate Program, property owners can receive financial incentives to: 

  • Replace high-water use turf with watersmart, native plants 
  • Install weather-based irrigation controllers 
  • Install a rain barrel, rain cistern, rain garden, or other rain-saving feature 
  • Install rain gutters
  • Upgrade old driveways and parking lots with pavers or porous pavement 
  • Pump your septic tank and prevent costly repairs 
  • Transform large turf areas with water-wise landscaping (minimum of 10,000 sq. ft. of turf) (Commercial properties only)
  • Install irrigation upgrades recommended by an expert during a free Agricultural Irrigation Efficiency evaluation (Agricultural properties only)

Water Use Surveys

Certified landscape irrigation auditors provide free, on-site inspections and written site-specific water-saving recommendations for qualifying commercial properties in the Water Authority’s service area. Business owners choose what ideas to implement; water savings can exceed 20 percent from Water Use Surveys.

Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers

Weather-based irrigation controllers can reduce water use outdoors. Unlike standard timers that turn on sprinklers at set intervals, “smart” controllers use weather data and site information such as plant type and sprinkler system output to adjust watering times and frequency. Professional installation is recommended because proper set-up usually requires knowledge of soils, precipitation rates, slope and other landscape characteristics.

Incentives from SoCal WaterSmart start at $80 per controller for residential sites with less than one acre of landscaping. For larger residential sites, incentives start at $35 per station. Rebates cannot exceed the purchase price of the controllers.

Want to learn more, dig deeper?

download this documentCommercial Rebates Fact Sheet