Riverside Public Utilities Rebates

Turf Program FAQ's

No, the purpose of the Program is to claim water savings and reduce the current demand on our water system. As stated in the Program Guidelines, to qualify, you must currently have living irrigated grass in your yard. Your lawn must either be well maintained or brown. Bare patches of dirt will not be eligible. If your lawn has large patches of dirt, those areas will be deducted from the total project area. A portion of the pre-inspection is to verify that the property is irrigated and that there is a living, maintained lawn area you are planning to replace. Participants must not remove any natural turf grass prior to an on-site pre-inspection and approval from RPU.
Yes. We ask that a landscape fabric, that allows water to permeate into the ground, be used in your landscape conversion project. The idea behind this is long-term maintenance and weed prevention. Mulch does a good job of suppressing weeds. The weed barriers you choose to use must be permeable, allowing water to soak through. Plastic is not allowed and will cause your application to be ruled ineligible.
Mulch is a layer of organic (like shredded bark) or inorganic (rock) material applied to the surface of the soil to help maintain soil moisture, prevent weed growth, and maintain cool soil temperatures. Some mulching materials that qualify for the Program consist of shredded bark, gravel, rock, or decomposed granite.
Based on information from previously completed projects, an estimate of the cost of a landscape conversion project is anywhere from $2 to more than $5 per square foot depending on the size and detail of the WaterWise project. The intent of the WaterWise Landscape Rebate Program is to assist Riverside residents to replace a water-intensive plant, natural turf grass, with a water-efficient landscape, drought tolerant plants. This will help participants realize long term savings from significantly reduced maintenance and water costs.
Existing traditional, spray irrigation sprinklers must be converted or removed and replaced with a low-volume drip irrigation system. Spray irrigation and plumbing is not permitted.
No. This program was established to encourage alternatives to turf grass. Obviously, there are appropriate needs for turf grass such as a playing surface for children, or areas for dogs. For areas that are not involved in the Project for which you would like to maintain turf grass for the above-mentioned uses, RPU encourages the use of such warm-season turf grasses.
Plant material must cover at least 50 % of the new landscaped area by the time the plants are mature, or after approximately two years.
Participants are asked to replant at least 50% of the conversion area with California-friendly, drought tolerant plants. We take into account the mature growth of each plant, shrub and groundcover. Participants may plant any size plant during their conversion project and it won’t change the percentage of cover. The only exception is trees where you are allotted a maximum of 78 square feet (five foot radius) per tree for the purposes of calculating your percentage of plant cover. This is to prevent someone from planting all trees and nothing else. While the 50% plant requirement is difficult to quantify, we advise participants to install more plants so that what they are planning will meet all the program guidelines and receive final rebate approval.
No, the WaterWise Landscape Rebate Program is only for natural turf grass removal and conversion. Ivy, other groundcovers, or slope areas not covered with natural turf grass are not eligible for participation in Program.
The purpose of our program is to create landscapes that promote a water-efficient alternative to natural turf grass. The intent of the WaterWise Landscape Rebate Program is to replace a water-intensive plant, natural turf grass, with a water-efficient landscape, drought tolerant plants. We claim savings for the water saved between irrigating natural turf grass and irrigating the water-efficient plants. A yard of gravel does not meet program guidelines. In addition, the landscape conversion projects must follow local landscape ordinances and codes.
No. Water must be able to seep through (permeate) new landscapes to be eligible for a rebate. The total square feet of concrete or other non-permeable surfaces used will be deducted from your total rebate amount. Materials such as pavers, stepping stones, flagstones, etc. may be used as long as they are no grouted or mortared into place and are “sand-set”.
No, turf replacement incentives are limited to one application per site address/premise. If you receive a rebate for replacing your turf, you cannot apply for another rebate even if you replace additional turf at a later date. Please apply for the maximum area you plan to convert.
After receiving approval to start the work, you will have 90 days to complete your project.
Materials not eligible include, but are not limited to artificial turf, seed, sod, vegetable gardens, vineyards, medium and high water use plants, annual planting material, lawn ornaments, statues, fountains, lighting, impervious surfaces, cement, decking, curbing, hot tubs, pools, building extensions, retaining walls, sheds, trellises, gazebos, playground materials, and fences.
If approved, payments will typically be made within 8-12 weeks of submitting your completed project.
No. We cannot recommend any landscape contractors or designers.