March 4, 2005

Water Authority Voucher Program Provides Financial Incentives for Conservation

Smart Landscape program saves millions of gallons of water annually

The Water Authority is tapping common sense and technology to improve water conservation efforts. The Water Authority’s new conservation program, Smart Landscape, enhances the health and beauty of commercial and residential landscapes. The new program provides financial incentives to residential customers for installing new, self-adjusting, weather-based irrigation controllers. Incentives are also available to commercial sites to upgrade irrigation hardware. Financial incentives are available in San Diego County by calling (800) 986-4538.

Statistics show that as much as half of residential and commercial water use in San Diego County is targeted for outdoor irrigation. It is estimated that this program will save more than 182 million gallons of water in its first year and more than two billion gallons of water over five years.

Finding new avenues in water conservation continues to influence utilities and water providers throughout the San Diego County Water Authority’s service area. Conservation efforts through the Water Authority’s Voucher Incentive Program have saved more than 47 billion gallons of water since its inception in 1991.

Over-irrigation and excessive run-off are critical concerns for the region. Weather-based irrigation controllers provide the appropriate watering schedule, adjust to changes in the weather and irrigate based on the needs of the landscape. A variety of weather-based “smart” controllers are available for both residential and commercial applications. Whether real-time, on-site weather data or historical weather data, the new, “smart” controllers leave little room for error. In addition, Smart Landscape is designed to enhance and protect landscape investments, improve the health and look of landscapes and reduce run-off, not to mention saving consumers time and money.

For residential water customers, Smart Landscape provides a voucher incentive of $65.00 for each weather-based irrigation controller installed. To qualify, customers of participating San Diego County water agencies must have a minimum of 2,000 square feet of irrigated landscaping, an existing irrigation controller and an in-ground irrigation system. Qualified customers redeem vouchers like a coupon at the time of purchase, with participating on-line manufacturers, wholesale and retail suppliers and through landscape contractors throughout San Diego County. Consumers must receive approval before purchasing eligible irrigation controllers.

Free surveys are also available to assist homeowners with water-saving tips for both indoor and outdoor water use, provide an optimal watering schedule and review existing landscapes for irrigation system improvements. Availability of home surveys varies by water district and may be requested by calling (800) 986-4538 (option 2,5).

Commercial water customers receive a voucher worth $13.33 per active station, up to 48 stations. Commercial properties may also qualify to receive up to $2,500.00 in a matching fund grant to upgrade existing irrigation systems. To be eligible for the Commercial Landscape Incentive Program, qualified sites must have one-acre of over-irrigated landscape.

Water Budgets are also provided as a free service to water district customers, property managers and landscape contractors for commercial sites. Water Budgets compare the amount of water used to the optimal amount of water that sites need. Water Budgets are available as a stand-alone service upon request, for sites with dedicated irrigation meters, by calling (800) 986-4538 (option 2,5).

The San Diego County Water Authority, participating Member Agencies, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the California Department of Water Resources fund Smart Landscape. Because funding is limited, Smart Landscape vouchers and Commercial Landscape Incentive Program Grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information on Money Saver Voucher Incentives and the Smart Landscape Program, call 800.986.4538.

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