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A2: Water Conservation Rebates and Programs*

About This Project

This project will help meet and exceed long-term water conservation and reliability goals will increase water-use efficiency in the landscape, residential, schools and commercial sectors through water conservation rebates, technical assistance and public education.

Water Conservation rebate programs may include a residential leak detection and assistance program, an expanded landscape rebate program that promotes California-native plant species as well as water-saving plants, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and a restaurant-efficiency and school-efficiency upgrade program.

Water use requires a lot of energy to extract, convey, treat and distribute. By reducing the demand for water, conservation reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Conservation also helps adapt to climate change by conserving limited water supplies and lessening demand in the face of an uncertain water-supply future.

*This project was voter approved as part of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.

Native landscape
Start FY 2022 / Finish FY 2028
Safe, Clean Water Fund ($7.9 million)
News and UpdatesNews and Updates
Reports and DocumentsReports and Documents
Environmental and Community BenefitsEnvironmental and Community Benefits
History and BackgroundHistory and Background
News & Updates

New and Enhanced Programs

The SCW Project A2 implementation entails providing approximately $700,000 a year to increase the Landscape Rebate Program's Landscape Conversion Rebates from $1 per square foot to $2 for all qualifying properties, as well as raising the maximum rebate from $2,000 to $3,000 for single-family homes and from $50,000 to $100,000 for multi-family homes, and commercial, industrial, and institutional properties. The remaining funding will be used for technical assistance and educational programs as described below. On July 1, 2021, Valley Water launched several new and improved programs, including an increased rebate for the Landscape Rebate Program and an enhanced partnership with Our City Forest for their Lawn Busters Program.

Landscape Rebate Program

In FY24 Q3 (January 1, 2024 –  March 31, 2024), Valley Water issued nearly 300 rebates totaling nearly $944,000 to convert about 430,000 square feet (sq ft) of lawn into low-water-use landscapes, upgrade irrigation equipment, and install rainwater capture systems. Of these rebates, the Safe, Clean Water Program provided $387,374 for nearly 200 rebates to successfully convert 387,374 sq ft of lawn to low-water-use plants. Hence, the Safe, Clean Water Program supported approximately 41% of Landscape Rebate Program rebate funding in FY24 so far.

For more information, please visit

Lawn Busters Program

In July 2021, Valley Water expanded a partnership with the local nonprofit organization Our City Forest to offer the Lawn Busters Program to low-income community members, United States veterans, and other disadvantaged community members. With the Safe, Clean Water Program funding contributions, payment to Our City Forest for converting lawns to low-water-use landscapes was increased from $2 per square foot to $4 per square foot. In July 2023, Valley Water extended the Lawn Busters contract with Our City Forest through FY24. Considering the substantial waitlist for the program, the remainder of the contract budget will be utilized to maximize lawn conversions. The Do-it-Yourself (DIY) workshop series has been discontinued. In FY24 Q3, 7 lawn conversion projects were completed, totaling 6,357 square feet.   The Lawn Busters program will conclude at the end of FY24, being replaced by an expanded no-cost direct install program tailored for low-income customers set to launch in FY25. For more information, visit

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper Training

Valley Water used the Safe, Clean Water Program funding to secure a contractor, CalWEP, to administer the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) training for landscape professionals who live or work within Santa Clara County. The QWEL training presents an affordable, proactive local approach to reducing landscape water demand. The QWEL training equips our local landscapers, contractors, and designers with the tools they need to provide water-efficient landscaping to the residents of Santa Clara County. Through this pilot, the training provided  278 graduates with knowledge in water-efficient and sustainable landscape practices, including water management and preservation of other valuable resources, and was offered online for English trainings and in-person for Spanish trainings.

The first QWEL class was held in September 2022. And in January 2024, Valley Water offered the last training of the pilot, hosting 30 students. Many of the strategies and technologies taught in the course directly support water conservation programs provided by Valley Water, such as the Landscape Rebate Program and Graywater Rebate Program, and Valley Water will work to make this an ongoing program.  

For more information, visit

For a full list of Valley Water Conservation Programs, visit

April 2024

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Reports & Documents
  • Water Conservation Savings Model
    • Evaluates a wide variety of water saving programs
    • Presented to the Safe, Clean Water Independent Monitoring Committee on December 8, 2021


Environmental & Community Benefits

FY22-36 Key Performance Indicator for Safe, Clean Water Program 

  1. Award up to $1 million per year toward specified water conservation program activities, including rebates, technical assistance, and public education, within the first seven (7) years of the Program.


  • Helps county residents exceed the countywide goal of conserving 110,000 acre-feet of water per year by 2040

  •  Increases water supply reliability

  • Reduces greenhouse gases

  • Reduces pollution to the Bay by reducing irrigation runoff

Geographic Area Benefit


History & Background

About the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program

In November 2020, voters in Santa Clara County overwhelmingly approved Measure S, a renewal of Valley Water’s Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.

The program was first passed by voters in 2000 as the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Plan, then again in 2012 as the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program. The renewal of the Safe, Clean Water Program will continue to provide approximately $47 million annually for local projects that deliver safe, clean water, natural flood protection, and environmental stewardship to all the communities we serve in Santa Clara County.

While evaluating ways to improve the 2012 program, Valley Water gathered feedback from more than 21,000 community members. That helped Valley Water create the six priorities for the renewed Safe, Clean Water Program, which are:

Priority A: Ensure a Safe, Reliable Water Supply

Priority B: Reduce Toxins, Hazards and Contaminants in our Waterways

Priority C: Protect our Water Supply and Dams from Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters

Priority D: Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Open Space

Priority E: Provide Flood Protection to Homes, Businesses, Schools, Streets and Highways

Priority F: Support Public Health and Public Safety for Our Community

Each year, Valley Water prepares a report providing a progress update for each of these program priorities, along with fiscal year accomplishments.

To ensure transparency and accountability to the voters, the ballot measure also created an Independent Monitoring Committee, appointed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors. The Independent Monitoring Committee annually reviews the program’s progress to ensure the outcomes are achieved in a cost-efficient manner and reports its findings to the Board. Additionally, the IMC also reviews each proposed 5-year implementation plan prior to its submittal for Board approval.

In addition, the program requires three independent audits.

View the Safe, Clean Water Program’s annual reports, annual IMC audit reports, and independent audits, including a staff response, on the Valley Water website.