Outdoor

A WaterSmart Checkup is your opportunity to receive free, site-specific water-saving recommendations. You’ll benefit from the perspective of our certified irrigation professionals and decide if and when to implement their suggestions. There is no obligation.

We offer several different Checkup services and will match your property to the best available option.

  • Apply at watersmartcheckup.org
  • Schedule a site visit for approved applicants.
  • Receive a thorough audit report.
  • Choose what you will do and when.
  • Start saving! Although water-savings vary by property, you may save up to 20% and some sites may even save more.

The SoCal Water$mart program provides financial incentives to encourage customers to collect and re-use rainwater by purchasing rain barrels or a cistern. Rain barrels and cisterns collect water from gutters and downspouts for use on your landscape while reducing the amount of water flowing into storm drains. Watch our 1-Minute Guide to Rain Barrel Installation below to see how easy it is.

Homeowners can get rebates of up to $35 each on residential rain barrels (up to 2 per home) OR $250-$350 for a cistern, depending on capacity. Visit SoCal Water$mart for more information on rebates from the Metropolitan Water District.

If you are a City of San Diego customer, you may be eligible to participate in their Residential Rainwater Harvesting (Rain Barrel) Rebate Program. You must be a City of San Diego water utility customer to participate in their program. Please note that this is a separate program and may have a separate application process and qualification criteria.

The Solana Center for Environmental Innovation offers discounted rain barrels that are eligible for rebates. Visit Rainwater – Catch It San Diego! for more information on purchasing and caring for rain barrels and on rainwater harvesting. Rain barrels can also be found at local home improvement stores, nurseries and specialty stores such as San Diego Drums & Totes and Barrels & BranchesRainThanks offers rain harvesting products and installation services.

To purchase the rain barrel featured in this video for only $90 visit Solana Center for Environnmental Innovation’s online ordering site.

Rain Barrel and Rainwater Maintenance

In general rain barrels should be cleaned at least once a year with a non-toxic cleaner such as vinegar. If stagnant water sitting in the barrel develops a foul smell, you may want to drain and clean the inside. Or try adding a capful of regular chlorine (laundry) bleach to a full rain barrel to prevent algae and microbes that cause buildup. This chlorine dilution is safe for your plants as long as you wait a few days before using the water. Also, keep a lid on your rain barrel to block sunlight and keep out debris. Sunlight promotes algae growth and debris will speed the growth of slime.

More Resources

Rotating sprinkler nozzles use 20 percent less water than conventional spray heads by applying water more slowly and uniformly. This prevents misting and overwatering. It also encourages healthy plant growth. The SoCal Water$mart Program offers rebates starting at $2 per rotating nozzle for residential properties. A minimum of 30 nozzles must be purchased.

Visit SoCal WaterSmart or call 1-888-376-3314 for more information.

A soil moisture sensor measures soil moisture content in the active root zone on your property. SoCal Water$mart eligible soil moisture sensor systems must include a sensor and a calibrator (these are typically packaged together in the same device) and an irrigation controller. Rebates start at $80 or $35 per irrigation sensor for large residential sites.

Visit SoCal Water$mart for more information.

“Smart” or 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 start at $80 per controller for residential sites with less than one acre of landscaping. For residential sites with landscapes one acre or larger, incentives start at $35 per station. Rebates cannot exceed the purchase price of the controllers.

Visit SoCal WaterSmart or call 1-888-376-3314 for more information. Make sure to look for the WaterSense label.

The Turf Replacement Program rewards landscape designs that incorporate water-saving plants, technology, irrigation systems and hardware. The result is a beautiful bee-butterfly-and-bird attracting landscape that is sustainable and can save a significant amount of water.

Turf replacement rebates start at $2 per square foot. Additional funding may be available. Use the Estimate Your Rebate tool to get an estimated rebate amount based on the available funding at the exact time the estimate is provided. Funding levels are comprised of a base rebate provided by Metropolitan Water District and possible additional funding by participating water agencies. Funding levels are subject to change based on availability at the time of rebate approval, therefore the estimated amount provided should not be construed as a guaranteed rebate amount. Once the application is approved, an email is sent to the customer detailing the amount of the rebate to be received by the customer. Past participation may limit eligibility.

Visit bewaterwise.com for details. To learn more about WaterSmart landscaping in the San Diego region, check out our landscape makeover program.

Indoor

Southern California residents may qualify for rebates starting at $85 for the purchase of a high-efficiency clothes washer (HEW) from a list of qualified products. Visit SoCal Water$mart to apply. An additional rebate may be available from San Diego Gas & electric. Go to sdge.com for more information.

Clothes washing is among the most water-intensive activities inside a typical home. High-efficiency clothes washers (HEWs) use 40 percent less water and 25 percent less energy than conventional clothes washers, according to the EPA’s Energy Star Program. The water savings for each residential HEW can be as much as 3,000 gallons per year. HEWs save energy because they use more efficient motors, require less hot water and reduce the amount of drying time needed for clean clothes.

The SoCal Water$mart program provides financial incentives to encourage customers to choose 1.1 gallon per flush or less Premium High Efficiency Toilets (PHETs). Toilets are by far the main source of water use in the home, accounting for nearly 30 percent of an average home’s indoor water consumption. Recent advancements have allowed toilets to use 1.1 gallons per flush or less while still providing equal or superior performance. Qualifying PHETs must be from the list of approved models. Rebates start at $40 per toilet.

Click here for a list of qualifying models.

  • Eligible toilets must replace existing toilets using 1.6 gallons per flush or more.
  • Premium high-efficiency toilets use almost 20% less water than the WaterSense standard and flush the same amount of waste just as, if not more effectively.
  • Water savings from high-efficiency toilets can save over $800 on your water bill over the lifetime of the product. Combine these savings with SoCal Water$mart rebates and premium high-efficiency toilet upgrades can pay for themselves.
  • The qualifying premium high-efficiency models available for a rebate have been performance tested and certified through MaP testing. MaP testing is an independent testing program.

Visit SoCal Water$mart for more information.