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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 ($7.9 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. 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. With this increased rate, Our City Forest converted 5,869 square feet of lawn to low water-use plants across 5 properties in FY23 Q2. To promote participation in the program, Our City Forest introduced a series of hands-on training workshops on native plant species selection and landscape design for Santa Clara County residents in Fall 2021. As of the end of December 2022, a total of 14 workshops have been held, with three in FY23 Q2 (October 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022). Participants have had the opportunity to remove a turf lawn, as well as install climate-appropriate plants and mulch at a residential site for each workshop.  

In Q2 of FY23, Valley Water issued nearly $777,000 in Landscape Conversion Rebates, of which nearly $389,000 in Safe, Clean Water Program funding was utilized to provide 316 rebates for successfully converting over 389,000 square feet of lawn to low water-use plants! Additionally, Valley Water is holding a series of water-use efficiency trainings, sustainable landscaping webinars, and developing educational material.

To further leverage this funding source, Valley Water has launched several pilot programs. This includes an improved annual Landscape Summit held in February 2023 and expanded trainings such as the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaping (QWEL) training and a Train-the-Trainer Permaculture Pilot Project. The first QWEL class was held in September 2022 and planning commenced for an in-person Spanish training held in March 2023. Planning and marketing for the Train-the-Trainer series continued in Q2 of FY23. This pilot is designed for an in-depth education of community members who will disseminate information to others about the importance of outdoor water resource management and conservation. Hands-on workshops for this pilot commenced in February 2023. Valley Water has also contracted with an irrigation professional to create an online irrigation scheduling tool for the public.  Using local evapotranspiration rates and site-specific inputs, the tool will generate a recommended monthly irrigation schedule and will also accommodate for drought restrictions, such as Valley Water’s two day per week watering restriction. The tool launched in February 2023. 

In addition, the 2022 Water Conservation Webinar Series concluded in October. The latest presentations focused on graywater and rainwater reuse, garden design and drip irrigation. 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 the following languages: Spanish, Vietnamese, and Mandarin. Recordings of the webinars in all available languages can be found on Valley Water’s YouTube page

For more information, visit


March 2023

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.