SCV residents offered hundreds of dollars in rebates for water saving devices

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Now that spring has officially arrived, local water officials have come up with a variety of rebates that promise to make gardening less costly.

Rebate programs offered by the SCV Water Agency include the long-standing lawn replacement program coveted during the recent multi-year drought. And, it also offers deals on water conserving devices such as: a “smart” lawn sprinkler controller, a pool cover to reduce water lost to evaporation and a soil moisture sensor.

“Rebate programs help our customers reach their water use goals, reduce water costs, and eliminate unnecessary water waste,” Matt Dickens, SCV Water’s resource conservation manager, told The Signal Wednesday.

“When customers save water, the entire valley benefits,” he said.

During the recent three-year drought, Gov. Jerry Brown mandated water agencies conserve at least 25 percent of the water they used. In turn, SCV ratepayers were told by those same officials at water agencies to conserve the same amount.

SCV residents responded to the call to conserve water, according to conservation numbers reported by SCV’s water retailers during the drought.

The Lawn Replacement Program was launched June 30, 2014.

Lawn swap

After one month, at least 25 homeowners swapped their lawns for more water-efficient landscape, along with some cash, through the program, he said.

After two months, the number of people swapping their lawns for drought-tolerant alternatives quadrupled. By Aug. 6, 2014, close to 100 SCV residents were signed up to toss out their lawns.

Since then the program has been tweaked but still offers $2 for every square foot of “living grass” removed from a front yard or side yard — no backyards.

“Our retail divisions offer rebates and incentives for irrigation efficiency upgrades including drip conversion and high-efficiency irrigation nozzles,” Dickens said.

“SCV Water recognizes that our customers are committed to ‘Making Conservation a California Way of Life.’ To help our customers with this goal, we offer rebates for smart controllers, pool covers, and for converting high water use turf to water efficient landscape,” he said.

Smart sprinkler

Unofficially, it’s called the smart sprinkler; officially, it’s the weather-based irrigation controller.

SCV Water is offering a $150 rebate to anybody who buys one and qualifies for the program.

By providing Santa Clarita Valley residents with free smart irrigation controllers that automatically adjust watering times and take into account actual weather conditions, the device enables residents to typically save about 10 percent of their water over the course of a year.

The controllers save more than half an acre-foot of water per device over 10 years, according to water officials.

Pool cover

SCV water is offering a $200 rebate — or up to the cost of the pool cover — whichever is less.

Applicants are asked to provide — among other things — a photo of their pool, a photo of their water bill, the width and length of their pool and a scanned image of your receipt for the pool cover.

After learning swimming pools use about the same amount of water as lawns to maintain, the local water officials who brought you the turf replacement program last year have come up with a similar conservation program for pools – not to replace them, but to cover them.

Annual evaporation from a swimming pool with total evaporative surface area of 800 square feet – or a pool 20 feet by 40 feet in size – was estimated as 25,000 gallons per year and 6,500 gallons per peak summer month in July, according to the Sacramento-based California Urban Water Conservation Council and a Colorado water consulting company called Aquacraft Inc.

Soil moisture sensor

SCV Water is offering a $150 rebate per SCV household to cover the cost of purchasing a soil moisture sensor.

Water officials urge anyone interested in the rebate or any of the other rebates to visit their website and sign up. .

Rebates are also being offered by SCV Water for more traditional water-saving devices including: rebate money for drip irrigation systems, high efficiency  nozzles, faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads.

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