Waterscape Rebate Program



Turf Replacement

Replace your turf with drought-tolerant landscaping and a rain-saving landscape feature.

It’s time to rethink your landscaping. A new generation of homeowners are creating beautiful, functional outdoor spaces using a selection of low-water plants and features. Plus, they’re cutting their water use drastically.

There’s a reason alternative landscaping is growing more popular each year — it creates a gorgeous new look for your property, saves you money, and reduces yard maintenance. Get rid of unused turf and move your home into the future.

Replacement with artificial turf is not permitted.


What are the benefits?

Benefit #1

Beautify your yard.

Make your yard uniquely yours with diverse collections of plants that add color, aromas, sounds, and textures. 


Benefit #2

Use less water.

An entire lawn made of turf grass requires huge amounts of water. By replacing it with low-water-use plants and water-efficient technology, you’re saving yourself money every time you need to water. Even better - reducing your water use helps keep water costs low for everyone. 


Benefit #3

Create a better wildlife habitat.

Diverse plants, especially those that are native to California, can attract beautiful butterflies, bees, and birds. Beneficial wildlife helps keep your landscape healthy and preserves our local ecosystems. 


Benefit #4

Reduce maintenance requirements.

While no landscape is maintenance-free, sustainable landscapes require less fertilizer, pesticides, and ongoing maintenance than a traditional grass-based yard. 


How much is my rebate?


Residential & Commercial properties may receive between $2 - $4 per sq. foot of converted yard, up to 5,000 sq. ft for residential properties and up to 50,000 sq. ft for commercial properties.

Current funding availability is limited to $2 per sq. foot.  If you want to be notified when additional funding is available, please submit an interest form and check "Turf Replacement". 

This rebate is capped at 5,000 sq. ft for residential properties and 50,000 sq. ft for commercial properties.

Who's eligible?

Two criteria must be fulfilled:

1. You are a residential, commercial, or multifamily property located in unincorporated San Diego County; 


2. You get your water from one of San Diego County Water Authority member agencies.

Check if you’re eligible for both criteria by following the instructions on the Program Eligibility page.

Sustainable Landscaping in a Front Yard

What are the requirements?


Every turf replacement project must include:

  1. 3 plants per 100 sq. ft of area transformed, with a 3-inch-deep ring of organic mulch around all plants. Artificial turf is not permitted. 
  2. A stormwater retention feature (i.e. a rain garden, rock garden, dry river bed, swales, berms, grades, rain barrels or cisterns). You can get an additional rebate for this component through our Rain-Saving Feature or Container programs.
  3. No hardscape within the transformed area, except permeable hardscape which allows water to filter through it.
  4. Replacement or modification of overhead spray sprinklers.

What documents are needed from me?

To apply for approval to proceed:

  1. 5 color photos of area where turf shall be removed (pre-project, no work completed).
  2. Copy of recent water bill.
  3. Turf Replacement Plan – This will show the changes you will be making to transform your landscape and include the type and location of your selected stormwater retention feature, type of ground cover to be used and where you intend to include your plants. Plans should include:
    • Three California Friendly plants per 100 square feet of lawn transformed.
    •  Any permeable hardscapes in the project (these must allow water to flow through the surface and slowly filter into the ground).
    •  A replacement or modification of overhead spray sprinklers to a more water efficient irrigation system.
    • A stormwater retention feature to help keep water in your yard when it rains. The program requires that you choose at least one of the sustainable approaches listed below for your replacement. Choose the approach that fits best within your planned replacement and keep in mind that the size of the feature should be proportional to the overall design and capable of retaining water:
  • Rain Garden
  • Berms                                     
  • Rock Garden
  • Grades
  • Dry River Bed (Rock Lined Swale)
  • Rain Barrel
  • Vegetated Swale
  • Cisterns


To apply for rebate after completion:

8 color photos of the area where turf has been removed (post-project, all work completed) showing:

  1. The required plant coverage.
  2. The sustainable landscape approach selected (i.e. rain garden, rain barrel, etc.).
  3.  Each specific area where turf was removed.
  4. How the old irrigation was modified (i.e. did you cap previous sprinklers or install a drip system).

Apply Now

Want to know more about the whole application process? 

Need help planning your project?  

Apply Now


This rebate is offered through the SoCalWater$mart website. See all the details and start your application by heading to their website.