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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
On Target
Start FY 2022 / Finish FY 2028
Safe, Clean Water Fund ($7 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 project 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 and to raise 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. Under the Lawn Busters Program for low-income community members, US veterans and other disadvantaged community members, the payment for converting lawns to low water-use landscapes was increased from $2 per square foot to $4 per square foot. Starting in the Fall of 2021, Our City Forest introduced a series of hands-on training workshops for Santa Clara County residents. By the end of June 30, 2022, six workshops were held, covering native plant species selection and landscape design. Participants had the opportunity to remove a turf lawn, install climate-appropriate plants and mulch at a residential site.  

In FY22, Valley Water issued over $2.3 million in Landscape Conversion Rebates, of which over $861,000 in Safe, Clean Water Program funding was utilized to provide 751 rebates for successfully converting over 861,000 square feet of lawn to low water-use plants!

Additionally, Valley Water is holding a series of water-use efficiency trainings, holding a series of sustainable landscaping webinars, and developing educational material. The webinar series is live translated held in multiple languages and will be available on

To further leverage this funding source, Valley Water has launched several pilot programs including an improved Landscape Summit for 135 landscape professionals (held February 17, 2022), expanded trainings such as the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaping (QWEL) training, and a new webinar series covering outdoor water conservation topics. The webinar series commenced in April 2022 with a sheet mulching program, and will continue monthly through the summer. Language interpretation has been available during the webinars to expand access to this information to a broader audience, with live translations available in one or all of the following languages: Spanish, Vietnamese, and Mandarin.

For more information, visit

August 2022

For more information: 

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.