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LADOC Committee Meeting January 28, 2020




Board of Directors Regular Meeting January 16, 2020, at 5:30 pm



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Replace an existing high-water use lawn with low-water use grass or drought tolerant landscape, native plants, mulch and or permeable hardscape and receive up to $1.50 per square foot of turf replaced, up to a maximum of $750 per household.

There are many types of drought tolerant plants, native plants and permeable hardscape which can prevent erosion and allow rainwater to infiltrate the ground and reduce water use in the landscape. By replacing high-water use lawns with drought tolerant landscape, or water wise grasses, we can use less water and keep more in the creeks and rivers increasing flows and improving fish habitat while protecting the health of our aquifers and watersheds.



  • You must replace an existing lawn with any combination of the following:

  1. Approved low-water use grass seed or plugs (click here for the approved water-wise grasses list).

  2. Drought tolerant or native plants (Replacement plants must be found on the Water-Smart Gardening in Santa Cruz County Website or pre-approved by District staff).

  3. Permeable Landscape surfaces such as mulch, decomposed granite or permeable pavers. (Impermeable Hardscape items, i.e. concrete, flagstone, etc. will not be rebated.
  • Pre- and post-site inspections are required (contact the District at 338-2153 to set up an appointment) Do not remove existing turf until after pre-approval inspection.
  • Planted areas must be covered with at least 2” of mulch material. If a weed barrier is used below the mulch, it must be permeable to air and water. 
  • Purchase and replacement of irrigated lawn with drought tolerant landscape must completed within 60 days of application for rebate. (Exceptions will be considered on a case by case basis.)
  • You must complete the water conservation Lawn Replacement Program application and include original receipts of drought tolerant plants and related costs. Contractor installation costs are eligible for reimbursement. Do-it-yourself labor costs are not eligible for credit.
  • The existing sprinklers in the lawn removal area must be removed, capped in place or converted to low volume drip. Any remaining landscape near the converted area must be irrigated with a separate valve.
  • No irrigation system is required. However, a separately valved, drip irrigation system with a filter and pressure regulation is allowed in the converted landscape area. The system must be in good working order, free of leaks and malfunctions, and designed to avoid runoff.
  • You must complete the post installation inspection within 60 days of the date on the application.
  • The existing irrigation system must be replaced with low-volume drip irrigation or removed.
  • One-half or 50% of the re-landscaped area must be covered at plant maturity with low-water use plants. Unplanted areas must be landscaped with permeable hardscape or covered in at least two inches of mulch.

Re-landscaping must be completed within 120 days of the pre-approval inspection.
The re-landscaping project must be inspected by District staff before the rebate credit is approved.

  • The maximum turf replacement rebate for single-family residential customers is for lawn replaced is $750 per year.
  • The turf replacement rebate cannot be combined with the drip irrigation retrofit rebate.
  • The IRS requires all rebate program participants receiving $600 or more per calendar year in rebates to be issued an IRS Form 1099 unless exemptions apply. If you have received rebates from San Lorenzo Valley Water District (SLVWD) totaling $600 or more in the current calendar year, you must submit a completed IRS W-9 Form with your rebate application to receive a rebate. The Social Security or Tax ID number requested in the rebate application process is in compliance with exemptions to the Federal Privacy Act of 1974, 42 UCS 405 (c)(2)(c).  Social Security numbers provided as part of the application process are held in confidence under terms of the Privacy Act and are not divulged or otherwise conveyed to individuals or organizations outside the SLVWD Rebate Program.

All credits are granted on a first-come-first-served basis. Once the budget is expensed for the year the credit program will be suspended until the beginning of the next fiscal year (July1st).
In order to ensure you will be granted a credit please follow these steps:

  • Print out an application here or contact the District’s Customer Service Department at 338-2153 to request an application for a Lawn replacement Credit.
  • To ensure credit availability, complete the application and return it to the SLV Water District with the original sales receipt.

Drop off or mail your application and receipts to:

            San Lorenzo Valley Water District
            13060 Highway 9
            Boulder Creek, CA 95006

  • Once the application is received, the District will contact you to set up a pre-installation inspection.

  • The District completes the pre-installation inspection and certifies your eligibility.

  • Complete the project and contact the District to schedule a post-installation site inspection. The post-installation site inspection must be completed within 60 days of the date of the initial receipt of application.
  • The District completes the post-installation inspection and approves the credit.
  • You will receive the approved credit on your account on the next billing cycle.

Questions? Contact the District’s Customer Service Department at 338-2153.


Frequently Asked Questions:


Do I have to replace my lawn to water-wise grass?

No, our rebate program has been expanded to include any drought tolerant landscape including native plants, drought tolerant plants, and permeable landscape such as mulch, decomposed granite or permeable pavers. (Impermeable Hardscape items, i.e. concrete, flagstone, etc. will not be rebated.) See requirements for more information.


Why should I replace my “regular” lawn with water-wise grass?


Water-wise grass will save you water and money, as well as maintenance time. You will also have a more ecologically sound landscape.


Does water-wise grass look and behave like a "regular" lawn?


There are a range of water-wise grass types and some of them are considered a good replacement for a typical lawn, because it can be mowed and take foot traffic. Typically water-wise grasses are bunch grasses and do not create the same uniform appearance like sod.


What types of grass seed or plugs qualifies for the credit?


Replacement water-wise grasses must be on the approved water-wise grasses list or pre-approved by District staff to qualify for credit.


Where can I purchase water-wise grasses?


Ask your local nursery if they carry water-wise grasses. Some provide lots of useful information on their web sites as well.


How much does water-wise grass cost?


The cost depends on the grass type you select and whether you choose to use seed, 2-inch plugs or 4-inch plugs. The cost ranges from 25 cents per square foot to $2 per square foot. Note that it may take a few months for the seeds or plugs to spread and fill in. Check with your local nursery to determine the actual cost.


Why should I replace my “regular” lawn with water-wise grass?


Besides using less water, water-wise grasses usually require less maintenance and chemical application (i.e., fertilizers, pesticides, etc.).


How do I plant and care for a water-wise lawn?


Most nurseries can provide you with instructions.


Can I purchase water-wise grass as sod?


Not at this time. The water-wise grasses typically have deep roots that prevent them from being cut as “roll-out” sod. However, the grass plugs and seeds will grow into a lawn within a few months.


How much water will I save by planting water-wise grass?


A typical lawn uses approximately 27 gallons per square foot per year in this region. Water-wise grasses require only about 25% or less water than typical lawns, once they are established. Some of the water-wise grasses require no irrigation once they are established. A typical 500 square foot lawn that is replaced with a water-wise grass or plants can expect to save at least 8,000 gallons per year.


How much credit am I eligible to receive?


The credit is $1.50 per square foot for replacing typical turf with water-wise grass, up to a maximum of $750 per household. The credit amount depends on the square footage of turf removed and replanted with low water use grass, either in seed or plugs. Do-it-yourself labor costs are not eligible for credit. Under no circumstance can the credit amount exceed the cost of the labor, plants and related costs. Save Our Water Logo smart garden logo

13060 Hwy 9
Boulder Creek, CA 95006