BEFORE applying and participating in the program, customers must call (831) 384-6131 to schedule a meeting with District staff. The project will be reviewed, and the required Landscape Site Survey will be conducted by District staff. The Landscape Site Survey takes about one hour of time on site. The homeowner, responsible party, or a designee who has access to the irrigation system controls must be present for the appointment.
During the site survey appointment, the Applicant shall describe the proposed project or conversion to staff. Staff verifies the existing landscape and irrigation system size and condition, components, and current water use. For large and/or complex projects, staff may request the applicant provide a landscape plan showing in detail the proposed finished project.
To assure efficient operation of any new irrigation system or components, staff recommended adjustments, repairs and modifications to the system must be completed prior to project completion and approval by the District.
To qualify for the Water-wise Landscape Incentive Program and be approved for an incentive, the following Project Criteria must be true of the proposed landscape design. Large projects over 8,000 square feet may apply, and be considered, with unique landscape project criteria that varies from those outlined below.
- The water use at the site must be metered.
- Lawn replaced may be living or dead at the time of application to the program. But, there must be evidence of a previous lawn. All the turf must still be in place at the time of staff's initial project review and project approval.
- It is recommended that lawns be physically removed to a depth of 4". Yet, solarization and sheet mulching are acceptable methods of lawn removal.
- It must be possible to water remaining grass areas separately from other bedding areas.
- It must be possible to water high water need plants (such as vegetables, annuals, or tropical plants) separately from other areas.
- The irrigation system must be in a good state of repair such that the water is being used efficiently.
- A backflow prevention device must be present and installed as required by law. If required, there must be evidence that the backflow prevention device has recently been inspected, and results filed with the District.
- The irrigation system must water areas with reasonable efficiency such that it can be used without water waste. Examples of unacceptable waste would be excessive water hitting non-plant areas, excessive water in specific areas or too little water in others, or pooling water from ineffective spray.
- Abandoned or inoperative irrigation system components must be removed, and the associated water supply lines capped.
- As designed, the estimated water use of the new landscape must be lower than that of the landscape replaced.
- To reduce water loss through evaporation, a 3" layer of mulch material must be used in planting beds.
- At least one existing or new tree per ten thousand square feet of project area must be present/installed in the new, converted landscape.
- Hardscape installed in the area of lawn replacement must be porous.
- Manual irrigation controls are permitted, but these systems must have a timer device utilized to shut off the water after an allotted time period. No automatic rain shut off device is required on manually controlled systems.
- All automated irrigation systems must have a rain shut off or soil moisture monitoring device installed. An incentive to purchase this device is provided by the District.
- Irrigation systems for non-residential landscapes over 1,000 square feet and rehabilitated residential landscapes over 5,000 square feet must include master valves and flow sensors that work in conjunction with weather-based irrigation controllers to detect and limit unauthorized flow. Incentives are available to assist in the installation of these devices.
Only once the Landscape Site Survey is completed, the proposed project reviewed, and the application accepted by the District, is the Water-wise Landscape Incentive Application Form filled out with the assistance of the District staff. This application form identifies the Applicant and describes the proposed project. Initial District approval for the allocation of funds to support the project is recorded on this application. The specific design elements and an estimated date of project completion is noted. The application form is then approved and signed by the District Representative.
Once approved, the project may proceed, as planned, to completion. District staff must be notified and approve of any design changes made while the project is proceeding. Without an approved extension of time, all projects must be completed within 60 days, otherwise the program application will be rejected, and the customer then will no longer be eligible for the incentive.
To assure compliance, quality, and performance, it is recommended that only a licensed, insured landscape contractor install irrigation components or modify your existing landscape. Check with your local jurisdictional officials and inquire about city, county and water district codes and ordinances before installing or modifying your irrigation system or landscape.
Once the project is completed, the applicant must schedule a follow-up site inspection with the District representative. District staff will verify the installation and compliance with the Design Criteria, check the irrigation system operation, and will assist in irrigation scheduling if required. Staff may require proof of irrigation controller service activation.
Also, at this time, the District staff will request the Applicant provide the original product or service receipts. Original receipts for products and services older than one year are not eligible. District staff then signs the application form verifying project completion. The rebate request is then forwarded to the District Accounting Department for incentive processing and payment. The application form and supporting documentation is then finally placed in District files.
To resolve disputes over eligibility or program procedures, customers may contact the Water Resources Manager. Without resolution, or to appeal a decision at the management level, customers may contact the District's General Manager.