Frequently-asked questions about the Landscape Rebate Program

About the rebate

How much is the rebate? 

The rebate is one dollar ($1.00) per square foot of lawn converted for a maximum residential rebate of $1,000. For commercial sites the maximum rebate is $5,000. Rebates are issued in the form of a check. 

What is the Pre-Inspection for? 

The Pre-Inspection is for SCWA staff to verify eligibility of lawns, measure square footage, and approve the site. 

How long does it take to receive my rebate once I’ve had my Post-Inspection? 

Please allow 8-10 weeks for a rebate check to be processed and delivered by mail. 

I already replaced my lawn.

I already replaced my lawn with drought tolerant landscaping. Can I get a rebate? 

No. The program is not retroactive and will not rebate for any lawns already removed or replaced prior to SCWA conducting a Pre-Inspection and approving the site. 

I have already replaced my lawn. Can I receive a rebate if I have photos showing the lawn before it was removed? 

No. You must have lawn at the time of the Pre-Inspection to be eligible for a rebate. Photos will not be accepted. 

Can I get a rebate?

Who is eligible to participate? 

The program is open to residential and commercial customers of Solano County who purchase water from a participating SCWA Member Agency. Properties using recycled water, well water, or are not connected to the city’s water system are ineligible. Customer must have water account in good standing.

I already received a rebate with the program, may I participate again? 

No. Offer is limited to one (1) rebate per site, residential and commercial. 

Can I receive a rebate for re-landscaping non-turf areas (i.e. shrubs, ivy, planter boxes, etc.) of my yard with drought tolerant landscaping? 

No. The rebate program is intended solely for the replacement of water thirsty lawns with drought tolerant landscaping. It is an incentive program for those that would not otherwise replace their lawns to do so. 

 

Does my lawn qualify?

What lawn areas are eligible? 

Front or back lawns are eligible as long as they have been maintained irrigated lawns. Areas of weeds, bare dirt, or dead grass are not eligible. 

Does my lawn need to be alive to receive a rebate? 

No. Lawns may be dead or alive at time of application as long evidence of an existing lawn remains such as existing dead turf. Areas of bare dirt and weeds are not eligible for the rebate. 

How do I know if my lawn qualifies? 

Lawn areas must have been clearly maintained with a working sprinkler system in order to qualify. Areas of weeds, bare dirt, or dead grass are not eligible. Ultimately, the inspectors at the Pre-Inspection will determine if the lawn qualifies. Consult the images below if you are unsure if your lawn might qualify. 

turf qualifies

 

Turf Replacement Specifications

Do I have to put in plants? 

Yes. In order to qualify for the rebate, at least 50% of the area converted must be covered in plants when the plants are full grown. Plants are required to mitigate the Heat Island Effect, reduce storm runoff, absorb carbon, and provide aesthetics. 

What is the 50% plant cover rule? 

All converted areas must contain enough plants to cover 50 percent of the converted area with living plant cover when plants are full grown. To determine if your landscape meets the requirement, check the mature growth size for each plant you are using. For example, a 1,000 square foot converted area must contain a sufficient number of plants at maturity to cover at least 500 square feet of that area. 

What plants can I use in my new landscape? 

California native, drought tolerant and climate-appropriate plants requiring little to no irrigation are acceptable. Consult www.Solano.watersavingplants.com for plant ideas. 

Can I receive a rebate for replacing my lawn with artificial turf? 

No. Artificial turf is not eligible for a rebate. Artificial turf is not eligible for a rebate for several reasons: (1) Artificial turf does not support biodiversity. (2) Artificial turf does not sequester carbon. (3) Artificial turf will not last forever, is not recyclable, and ultimately must be disposed of in a landfill. (4) Concerns have been raised of environmental impacts of artificial turf to underlying soil, groundwater, runoff, as well as health impacts to individuals who play on artificial turf. 

Can I receive a rebate for installing a concrete patio, concrete walkway, or extending my driveway? 

No. The program does not rebate for the installation of any non-permeable surfaces. However, permeable hardscape materials such as gravel, decomposed granite, pavers, or flagstone with permeable, mortar-less material for grout are allowed. 

Can I use my existing lawn sprinklers on the new converted area?

No. The purpose of the program is to reduce water use from inefficient spray irrigation. If irrigation is to be used in the new landscape it must be low flow drip irrigation. All existing sprinklers must be capped, converted, or removed. No spray will be allowed. 

What type of irrigation system do I need to use?

Irrigation is not required in the converted area. Existing sprinkler systems in the converted area must be removed, capped, or converted to low volume drip. The irrigation system in the converted area must be in good working order and be free of leaks. It is recommended that a smart irrigation controller is used. 

What is mulch and why is it required?

Mulch is any organic material such as shredded bark, chip bark, or wood chips. Non-organic materials such as rock or decomposed granite can also be used as mulch. Mulch will help hold water in the soil and reduce the amount of evaporation. It also acts as a weed barrier and insulator keeping the soil cooler in the summer. The program requires a minimum of three inches (3”) of mulch in all planting areas. 

Can I use rubber mulch?

No. For the same reasons artificial turf is not accepted SCWA does not accept the use of rubber mulch. 

Are raised beds or vegetable gardens eligible for the converted area?

Yes. Food producing trees, shrubs, vines, and perennial plants are allowed.

Can I use a weed barrier? 

Yes. However, any weed barrier used must be a permeable fabric or mesh. No impermeable plastic sheeting will be allowed.