Turf Replacement Rebate Frequently Asked Questions

NOTE: BEFORE BEGINNING ANY WORK, submit your application form either online, by mail, or over the phone. The application must be completed, approved and the rebate funds reserved prior to the initiation of any work.


How do I get a rebate for removing grass at my house?

Here is how the process works:

  1. Complete the reservation application process to reserve funding for your project (Part 1).
  2. Receive your reservation approval notice by email or mail.
  3. Start and complete your re-landscaping project.
  4. Complete the rebate application process (Part 2).
  5. Receive your rebate approval notice.
  6. Receive your rebate check!

What do I need to have ready when I fill out the reservation application (Part 1)?

The following things are needed to complete the application:

  • Five “before” pictures of your yard showing the area where lawn will be removed (see How to Take Your Project Photographs).
  • The square footage of the area of the turf you are removing (see Measuring Project Area Square Footage).
  • The most recent water bill for the property for proof of service within the designated area (or the energy bill if you are on a domestic well).
  • Permission from the property owner, if you rent or lease

Can I submit a reservation application (Part 1) if I have already begun or completed my project?

No, you must request your reservation and be approved prior to removing your turf. If you have already begun work, your request for a reservation will be denied.

Can I receive a rebate now for work I have already completed if I have photos showing there was grass in the areas I converted?

No, you must have grass (dead or alive) when you apply to be considered eligible for a rebate. Submission of requests for work that has already been completed with photographs that are not current is considered a fraudulent use of the Residential Turf Rebate Program.

How long do I have to complete the project?

After receiving reservation approval notice, you will have 120 days to complete your project and submit the Rebate Application Form (Part 2). Please visit our “how to apply” page for details and instructions on submitting your Part 2 application.

If I have already converted part of my yard and received a rebate from another agency, can I now do another part of my property?

Yes, as long as your other rebate was less than $2 per sq ft and the new area being converted was not included in any way in the original rebate.

The rebate application asks for the square footage of my project area. How do I measure the square footage of my project area?

View our detailed guide on how to accurately measure the square footage of you project area by clicking here.

The rebate application asks me to submit photos of my project area. How do I know what an acceptable photograph is?

View our detailed guide on how to take your project photos by clicking here.


Can a person apply to this program and a local turf rebate program?

Yes, but with certain limitations. Recipients must provide a self-certified statement indicating whether other rebates are being offered or have been offered during 2014 or 2015 by the homeowner’s local water supplier, and if so, the amount. People may receive the State rebate in addition to existing local rebates if:

  • The applicant meets the specifications for the State program.
  • The local rebate is below the $2 per-square-foot cap.

If the applicant’s local water supplier is offering or has offered a rebate of less than $2 per square foot, the State’s rebate program will supplement a local turf rebate program, making the total rebate amount $2 per square foot. For example, if the local rebate is $1 per square foot for 1,000 square feet of turf replacement, the State will provide an additional $1 per square foot for a total of $2,000 – $1,000 from the local source and $1,000 from the State. Applicants located in the service area of agencies that have had turf rebate programs in 2014 or 2015 that equaled or exceeded $2 per square foot will not be eligible regardless of whether or not applicant received any funds.

If my local turf rebate program has a maximum footage cap below 1,000 square feet, will SaveOurWater make up the difference?

The turf replacement program is only intended to augment local turf removal rebates based on square footage, not on total feet allowed or total rebate amount. If, for example, your local program only allows up to 750 square feet of turf removed to be rebated at $1 per square foot, and you are removing 1,000 square feet, you may expect a total combined rebate of $1,750. This would represent the $750 from your local agency and the State augmented funding of $1,000.

Does my turf have to be alive to receive a rebate?

No. Qualified turf for removal may be dead or alive at the time of application. Evidence of a previous lawn—such as existing turf, borders, or remnants of turf may also be acceptable. Bare earth areas and artificial turf are not eligible for rebates. Visit the Turf Program Overview for details. Additional details are listed under the program terms and conditions.

Why can’t I start my project until I receive reservation approval?

Additional information or photographs may be required for reservation approval. If you proceed with your project prior to approval, you may not be able to provide this information.

If I am in a disadvantaged community (DAC), do I get preference for a rebate?

Until October 1, half of the allocated funds for the Program are reserved for disadvantaged communities. After October 1, any allocated funds not reserved by disadvantaged community applicants can be used in non-disadvantaged communities. Please note that all applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, and being in a DAC will not result in expedited rebate processing.

If reserved funds are not used after 120 days, will be they be redistributed?

Yes. If your conversion is not completed within the 120-day reservation timeframe, the application will be cancelled and the funding added back into the program’s rebate fund for future applicants.

I am renting or leasing and my name does not appear on the water bill? Can I apply for a rebate?

If you are renting or leasing a qualified single-family home, you must have written authorization from the property owner or authorized property manager to apply for a rebate. If you are a property owner or manager and the account is in the tenant’s name, you may apply for the rebate with proof of ownership or written authorization by the account holder. In all other cases, the rebate application must be in the account holder’s name only.

I cannot find a current water bill. What do I do?

Request from your water supplier a copy of your most recent bill.

My water bill is paid through my monthly HOA dues. How can I apply for a rebate?

Contact your HOA management and request a proof of service letter to show the following items:

  • Water Service Address.
  • Water Service Supplier, Water Agency, and Account Number.
  • Name of Homeowner.

If it is not possible for you to obtain this directly from your Homeowner’s association, you may send an electric bill along with the master water bill. Please note that homes without direct water service may be subject to additional review to determine eligibility.

Are multi-family residences eligible for rebates?

No, this program is intended for single-family residences only. Some local water suppliers do have turf rebate programs available for multi-family residences. Contact your local water agency to inquire about turf replacement programs that may be available on a local level.

What is a Disadvantaged Community (DAC)?

A disadvantaged community is defined as those with an annual median household income (MHI) that is less than 80% of the statewide annual MHI.

Is there a minimum landscape conversion requirement for a rebate?


Turf Replacement Specifications

Can I convert either my front lawn or backyard lawn?


Do I have to remove all of the turf in my yard?

No, but any turf remaining cannot be included as part of the rebate.

Are trees required or allowed in my converted landscape?

The Program requires at least one tree in the landscape conversion. If you have an existing tree that will remain after the conversion, a new tree is not required.

What type of mulch is part of the rebate?

Mulch is required on all exposed soil surfaces. Mulch includes organic material, rock and decomposed granite. Rubber bark is also allowed. Decomposed granite and rubber bark must be limited to 25 percent or less of the surface area converted.

Can I receive a rebate for installing decks, patios, and other structures?

Decks, impermeable patios and other structures may be installed as part of the project but must be excluded from the rebate footage. Paving stones and brick patios with permeable grouting are allowed, and the footage represented with this type of patio may be included in the rebated footage.

Are plants required in my conversion area?

The program requires that at minimum 25% of the converted area include low-water-use, drought-tolerant or California native plants.

Is there an approved plant list I can use to plan my conversion project?

The rebated portion of the converted landscapes requires plants, and may only include low-water-use, drought-tolerant or California native plants. The Water Use Classification of Landscape Species list (http://ucanr.edu/sites/WUCOLS) may be used as a resource guide. Turf-looking grass may be incorporated if they are being used as plants with ample space between each plant. Turf-looking grass may not be used as an alternative lawn or in such a way that the plants are planted so close to each other that they resemble lawn. Consult your local plant nursery or the DWR turf website at www.water.ca.gov/Work-With-Us/Grants-And-Loans/Turf-ReplacementLandScapingmaps for additional guidance.

Is the rebate available for irrigation replacement?

The rebate is based on the square footage of turf replaced. Irrigation replacement alone (not associated with turf removal) is not eligible for this rebate program. Irrigation changes and upgrades must be done when the landscape conversion occurs for rebate eligibility. To receive the rebate, all watering in the converted area must be done using drip irrigation, micro-spray irrigation or hand watering.

What type of irrigation system do I need to use?

The Program requires drip irrigation, micro-spray irrigation, or hand watering.

Are raised beds or vegetable gardens eligible if turf is removed?

Yes, food-producing trees, shrubs, vines and perennial plants are allowed in place of turf.

Do I need to use any specific method of turf removal?

This program does not specify the method of turf removal. You may complete your project yourself or hire a contractor or landscaper to complete the project for you. They may use any method necessary to completely remove the turf and convert the project area per the Program specifications.

What happens if I reserve the wrong amount of funding?

Rebates are based on the measured area submitted when an application is made. It is important that you accurately measure the area requested as we cannot increase your area measurement after the application is approved.

Is Synthetic Turf Allowed?

Synthetic turf is not allowed in the rebated portion of the converted landscape.

Receiving Your Rebate

After the work is completed, what do I need to do to have my rebate sent to me?

Once work is done, take five “after” photos of the completed work. Go back to SaveOurWaterRebates.com and upload the pictures to the website OR send them to the Program by email or regular mail. Please note that submission of photos will not be sufficient to complete your application. If you have questions on submitting part 2 (rebate application), please visit our “how to apply” page for detailed instructions on how to complete the submission for the rebate.

I just received my reservation/rebate approval email, and the rebate/reserved amount is less than expected. Why would the amount be reduced?

The rebate amount may be reduced for several reasons. The following are some possible reasons why your expected rebate has been reduced:

  • Rebate funding is limited and is allocated based on availability. If you received less reserved/approved funding than expected, it is possible that funding has been reduced or depleted.
  • Reserved funding is determined based on requested footage. In review, it may have been determined that some areas requested did not qualify. If this is the case, these areas may have been removed.
  • Approved rebate funding is based on the actual area converted. In some cases, we will review the area requested and reduce the area if it is determined that the estimate was greater than the actual yard area converted.
  • The Residential Turf Rebate Program currently offers up to $2 per square foot for a maximum of 1,000 sq. ft. for each property. For example, if it was determined that you have received rebate funding in the past of $2 per square foot or less, you may be eligible for any unconverted portion of your yard.

If you have had your measured area or rebate amount reduced, please call 844-642-7410 for more information on your particular case.

How long does it take to receive my rebate check?

After final approval, the rebate check will be issued within approximately 6-8 weeks. Timeframes may vary slightly depending on the popularity of the Program.

Why was I denied a rebate after I was initially approved?

If you were denied after completing your project, it is possible that you did not meet all of the conversion requirements. Your notification from the Program should outline the details of the denial. If you did not receive a notification, a copy will be available to you in your online account. Please log back into your online account and review the status and notifications listed.

Contractor Questions

A contractor is offering to convert my landscape for free or at reduced cost due to the Program. Is this legitimate?

Yes, there are some contractors who are enrolled in the Contractor Direct Rebate Option (CDRO). If a contractor states they are enrolled in this program, they can apply for and receive the rebate in lieu of out-of-pocket payment if you agree to sign a release waiving your right to receive the rebate directly. It should be noted that though these contractors are approved to offer this option, they are in no way affiliated with or representative of the Residential Turf Rebate Program. You should familiarize yourself with the Program guidelines even if you have decided to use a contractor enrolled in the CDRO to complete your work.

I hired a contractor for a free or reduced cost landscape conversion, and I would now like to cancel with them. How can I cancel the application and reapply?

You can sign the Contractor Direct Rebate Option (CDRO) cancellation form if the contractor has not yet started the work. If you hired a contractor who is enrolled in the CDRO, the contractor is required to provide you with a release form to sign. The fastest and easiest way to cancel is to communicate with the contractor first to resolve any issues that may have arisen with the conversion project. If you elect to submit an application after cancelling with the contractor, you will need to meet all of the same guidelines for eligibility to reserve funds.

How does a Contractor Direct Rebate work?

A contractor can apply to the Program for approval to offer the Contractor Direct Option. The Program will check the contractor’s license and qualifications. The qualified contractor will fill out and submit the application for the customer, perform the work, submit the rebate request and receive the rebate directly from the Residential Turf Rebate Program.

Contacting the Program

I am not receiving emails from the Program, what can I do?

If you are having difficulty receiving or viewing emails from the rebate program, you may try the following:

  • Check your spam or quarantine folders for emails. If found, please mark “not spam” for future communications to be routed to your inbox.
  • Add our program email address to your address book, or add to your “allowed” list. The Residential Turf Rebate Program email address is [email protected].
  • Contact your email service provider and request that it allow emails from our email address or organization. Your email provider may be able to assist you in adjusting your email settings.

What are the call center hours?

The rebate call center is open Monday-Friday from 8 am PDT to 5 pm PDT. If you are attempting to reach us on weekends or after hours, you may leave a message and will be contacted within approximately 24 hours from when business reopens.