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San Diego County, Water Authority Partner On Efficiency Rebates

Water comes out of a kitchen faucet, June 12, 2021.
KPBS Staff
Water comes out of a kitchen faucet, June 12, 2021.

Residents and businesses in unincorporated areas of San Diego County are eligible for increased water-use efficiency rebates under a partnership announced Tuesday between the county's Watershed Protection Program and the San Diego County Water Authority.

The program could save money for residential, commercial and agricultural customers who make landscape upgrades designed to improve the region's climate resilience and reduce the flow of pollutants into waterways.

"Drought conditions across the west are a reminder of the importance of water-efficiency upgrades, and these rebates offer a great opportunity to get involved," said Kelley Gage, director of water resources for the water authority. "With a WaterSmart approach, we can reduce water-use and maintain climate-friendly landscapes that help sustain our quality of life in San Diego County."


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The newly enhanced incentives include rebates that start at $3 per square foot for turf replacement, $60 per smart controller station, $65 per rain barrel and up to $450 per cistern. The agencies are also offering technical assistance to upgrade larger landscapes on multifamily and commercial properties, and a cost-share with agricultural growers to make water-saving upgrades.

Customers in unincorporated San Diego County can determine their eligibility at

The program includes outreach and education to commercial, industrial and residential properties in unincorporated areas of the county. In addition to the programs administered by the water authority, the county is offering rebates for upgrades including rain gardens, gutters, permeable pavement and regular septic system pumping.

"The county is committed to reducing stormwater pollution to help protect water and foster healthy communities," said Scott Norris, land use environmental planning manager with the county. "Partnering with the water authority allows us to offer even more resources to help unincorporated residents and business owners upgrade their properties with incentives that can cover a large portion of the costs and actively contribute to protecting our waterways for everyone."


RELATED: San Diego County Water Authority Adopts Budget Including Water Rate Hike

On Monday, Gary Croucher, the board chair of the San Diego County Water Authority, issued a statement in response to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announcing the first formal shortages on the Colorado River for 2022.

"Declining water availability on the Colorado River and worsening drought conditions statewide underscore the importance of collective actions to ensure reliable water supplies not only for today, but for next year and for future generations," he said. "Thankfully, the San Diego region has prepared for dry periods and our water supplies will continue to sustain our economy and quality of life.

"At the same time, we are working with our partners at the regional, state, and federal levels to advance water management solutions for the southwest because we realize that we are all in this together," Croucher said.