California Water Service
Turf Replacement Rebate Program

Program Guidelines

Program Overview

CAL WATER will pay an incentive of $1.00 per square foot for living grass (lawn) that is replaced with a beautiful water efficient landscape suited to our region’s semi arid climate. Restrictions apply, so be sure to read the specifications and the design guidelines for more information.

  • Computer, Internet and email access are required to participate. Applications must be submitted through CAL WATER’s Program website. Paper applications cannot be accepted.
  • You must check with your Homeowner’s Association, City and County for rules and regulations related to landscaping your specific property.


  • CAL WATER does not offer a rebate for concrete or all gravel yards. This program is for the replacement of an existing lawn with low water use plants that meet program guidelines.
  • CAL WATER's program pays for what you plant. For example, if you take out the minimum area required of 250 square feet and replant the minimum of 125 square feet(50%) then you will get a rebate of $250 (250 square feet planted @ $1 per square foot).Receipts are required. The rebate cannot exceed the cost of the project.
  • Applicant must be the property owner and a retail residential customer of CaliforniaWater Service (CAL WATER).
  • An application must be submitted online with sample photos per program guide lines of the existing zones in the landscape.
  • A landscape plan and plant list (can be combined) must be submitted to CAL WATER. If you need help creating plans, we suggest you contact local nurseries and contractors to see if they offer design services.
    • The following information must be included in your plan/plant lists:
    • The plan and plants must be drawn to approximate scale.
    • The plan must include dimensions of all areas where your turf will be removed
    • The plan must include major plant materials that will be used including locations and quantities (Trees, shrubs, ground cover areas)
    • The plan must include the location and dimensions of new hard scape areas to be installed such as patios, walkways, retaining walls, etc. Indicate if the hard scape materials are to be permeable or not
    • The plan must include an irrigation plan, including type of irrigation and component layout)
  • All projects must be pre approved by CAL WATER to determine eligibility and site-specific requirements.
  • All projects must be approved by CAL WATER following completion of the lawn removal/landscape conversion (“Project”) in order to receive the incentive payment. CAL WATER may choose to conduct either pre and/or post inspections.

Landscape Requirements

  • This program only applies to front yards, side yards, backyards, and parkways (small strips of landscape located between sidewalk and curb) if maintained by owner.
  • Once the Project begins, all lawn in the approved project area must be completely removed. No incentive will be paid if the participant ends up removing less lawn than stated on the approved application, or otherwise fails to complete all of the requirements of the Program.
  • At a minimum, 50% of the eligible Project Area (including permeable hard scape areas) must be landscaped with climate appropriate plants (potted plants are not counted towards the 50% requirement and artificial turf does not meet program guidelines). This minimum coverage requirement can be satisfied using the eventual mature size of the plant materials other than trees. Each tree can count up to 78 square feet (five foot radius) for the purposes of calculating the 50% minimum coverage requirement.
  • The entire Project Area other than paths and ground cover areas must be mulched with at least a two inch layer of organic or inorganic mulch. Mulched areas must be permeable i.e. they must allow water to pass through. Examples of mulches are bark,wood chips, gravel, decomposed granite, mortar less pavers, and river rock.
  • No painted or dyed rock allowed.
  • Areas replaced with non porous concrete are not eligible for the incentive payment under this Program and will not be included in the Project Area.
  • Existing overhead irrigation systems within the Project area must be capped off or converted to drip, rotating stream, rotating spray or bubblers.