dollars and cents


Take advantage of these 2018 SF Bay Area Water District Rebates while they last.

Water conservation rebates for 8 SF Bay Area districts. 
Everything you need to know including how much you will save, prerequisites and other details.
Plus links to each district.

Commercial and residential water district rebates.

Most popular are the “cash for grass” programs.
Also rebates for efficient irrigation equipment. 
Want a printable report? See link below.

SF Bay Area Water Smart Landscape Rebates
 

Residential*

Lawn Conversion Rebate**

$.50 per square foot of lawn removed.

Add $.25 per square foot when you convert the lawn area sprinklers to qualifying in-line drip irrigation

Add $1.50 per square foot when you qualify for California’s separate lawn conversion program – residential only.

Rebates up to $2,000

**Must have an existing lawn

Irrigation equipment rebate – includes

Rebate may not exceed $2,000 for residential and multi-family properties (with 4 units or less)

  • Conversion – from sprinklers to in-line drip
  • Replace conventional sprinkler nozzles with high-efficiency ones. 
  • Smart/weather-based controllers to replace conventional ones.
  • Install a system-wide brass/bronze pressure regulator.
  • Irrigation submeter – install a submeter to improve leak detection and manage water use.

Commercial & Multi-Family*

Lawn Conversion Rebate**

$.50 per square foot of lawn removed.

Add $.25 per square foot when you convert the lawn area sprinklers to qualifying in-line drip irrigation

Rebates Up to $15,000

 **You must have an existing lawn

Irrigation equipment rebate – includes

Rebate may not exceed $12,500 for commercial and large residential properties.

For qualifying EBMUD commercial customers

  • Conversion – from sprinklers to in-line drip
  • Replace conventional sprinkler nozzles with high-efficiency ones. 
  • Smart/weather-based controllers to replace conventional ones.
  • Install a system-wide brass/bronze pressure regulator.
  • Irrigation Submeter – Install a submeter to improve leak detection and manage your water use.

Residential

$2 per square foot of turf removed, for up to 1,000 square feet and a maximum rebate of $2,000 per household.

This program is administered by the State of California.

Laundry to Landscape Graywater program.  Applies to single-family or 2-unit residential property. For more information.

Commercial & Multi-Family

There are no SFPUC Commercial rebates


Residential

Up to $50 for each item on the list below

Up to $250 for All Five

Applies to single-family and duplex residential customers only.

  • Pool covers
  • Organic mulch
  • Laundry-to-landscape system components:
  • Rain barrels

Turf conversion

Receive up to $2 per square foot – up to $2,000. Per household

Program funded by the State of California

Commercial

Turf conversion

Up to $2 per square foot

Commercial, industrial and institutional sites, as well as multi-family residential sites in areas served by dedicated irrigation meters are eligible

To qualify, a minimum of 1,000 square feet of turf must be removed


Residential

Cash for Grass program

Remove automatically irrigated lawn.

Replace with District approved, low-water use planted landscapes.

Up to $50 per 100 square feet of lawn area.

The incentive is limited to $400 for single family dwellings, $100 for townhouses or condominiums, and $50 for apartments.

Weather Based Irrigation Controller Rebate

Uses weather data and site information to automatically adjust watering schedules. Increases water use efficiency. Reduces run-off and improves the health of your landscape. It can save 30% or more on your landscape water use. It is less expensive than you might think.

Rebate amount: $100 or $30 per active station up to $1,200 per controller, whichever is greater. Rebate cannot exceed the purchase price of the Smart Controller

Commercial

Cash for Grass program*

Remove automatically irrigated lawn.

Replace with District approved, low-water use planted landscapes.

Up to $50 per 100 square feet of lawn area.

The incentive is limited to $400 for single-family dwellings, $100 for townhouses or condominiums, and $50 for apartments.

*The commercial rebate is approved on a case-by-case basis. Call 415-761-8944 for more information

**this district serves Novato area and parts of West Marin


Residential

Efficient Irrigation

Up to $100.00 max for pre-qualified equipment from this list

Options – See link for details.

  • Drip irrigation retrofit.
  • High-efficiency nozzles able to popup 6” or higher
  • Rain/weather sensor – optional
  • Weather-based irrigation controller

Cash for Grass

$.50/sq ft up to max of 500 sq ft or $250.

Must be pre-qualified

Review details in this link

Efficient Irrigation

Up to $1,000. Max per meter for pre-qualified equipment

Options – See link for details

  • Drip irrigation retrofit
  • High-efficiency nozzles able to popup 6” or higher
  • Rain/weather sensor required
  • Weather-based irrigation controller

Cash for Grass

$.50/sq ft up to max of 5,000 sq ft or $2,500.

Must be pre-qualified

Review details in this link


Napa Rebates

Residential

Cash for Grass program

Converting high water use turfgrass with district approved, low-water use, drip-irrigated plants or permeable hardscape materials.

Receive up to $1 per square foot –Per household

Maximum of $750 for Single-Family Residential

(equivalent to 750 sq. ft)

Supplemental funding is also available while it lasts – by the State of California

Commercial  

Cash for Grass program

Converting high water use turfgrass with district approved, low-water use, drip-irrigated plants or permeable hardscape materials.

Receive up to $1 per square foot –Per household

Maximum of 2,500 for Commercial/Multi-Family

(equivalent to 2,500 sq.)


Solano County Rebates

Residential

Up to $50 for each item on the list below

Up to $250 for All Five

Applies to single-family and duplex residential customers only.

  • Pool covers
  • Organic mulch
  • Laundry-to-landscape system components:
  • Rain barrels
  • Hot water recirculating systems

Smart irrigation controller rebate

Rebate up to $300, $700, or $1000 depending on the number of stations

Commercial  

Turf replacement  

Receive up to $1 per square foot – up to a maximum of 5,000 square feet for customers who replace turf with water-wise landscaping. 

Smart Irrigation Controller rebate  

Receive up to $1,000.

Customized Water Efficiency Rebate  

Provides rebates (amount not shown) for water efficiency improvements to irrigation systems as well as indoor water using appliances. 

Customer must meet certain criteria to be approved.

Program ends June 2018, or when funds are depleted.


Contra Costa Rebates

Residential

Turf replacement  

Get up to $1,000 by replacing your water-thirsty front lawn with a water-wise landscape.

Smart irrigation controller rebate

$12 per active (used) irrigation station (zone) up to 50% of the list cost of the controller(s). Limit one rebate per customer per address.

Get up to $50 for equipment and installation on a qualifying system.

Pool Cover Rebate

Get up to $50 back on a qualifying pool cover.

Water Graphic-California's New Permanent Water Regulations Explained

California’s New Permanent Water Regulations Explained

We explain California’s new permanent water regulations, in plain language.
Why it was passed. Its effect on you. Below there is a link to resources that will help you conserve.
And, we squish one ridiculous myth flying around the web!

Freshly signed into law by Governor Brown, the bills now make water conservation “a way of life” in California. 
Bills AB 1668 and SB 606 aim to reduce water usage by twenty percent, per capita by December 31, 2020.

Background 

*Climate modeling by Climate Scientist Daniel Swain uncovers another trend – drier autumns with a late onset of the rainy season and a corresponding drier spring.  Source:  published in Nature Climate Change.   

Who is affected?
All California residents.

Why?

A high probability of future extreme drought conditions and the need to plan for them.

It will motivate agencies to repair old and inefficient infrastructure.

What do I need to know?

The state mandates local water agencies to establish water use targets based on their respective region’s climate, land use and population. 

  • Indoor water use limit of 55 gallons per person, per day through January 1, 2025.**
  • Outdoor water usage standards are not developed yet.  (includes landscapes and pools).  DWR will study climate and landscapes around the state to determine guidelines.
  • Commercial, institutional and industrial standards will be defined by 2021.

**East Bay Municipal Water District website, see link below, has information to help you calculate your own water usage.  There’s also a handy table that lists water usage for showers, sinks, washers and other household appliances.

East Bay Municipal Water District Web Page Link

Separating Myth from Fact

Myth

You can’t shower and wash clothes on the same day.

Fact

Not true.

Most washers now use only 9 to, at the most, 26 gallons of water.

An average shower for 8 minutes uses 17 gallons of water. 

Some Perspective

Average per capita = per person.

San Francisco’s average water use is less than 55 gallons per person, per day.

There was a 55-gallon standard set for indoor use set almost 10 years ago.

The 55-gallon limit is more than what is allowed in some countries in Europe.

There are numerous water crises in urban centers all over the world. Water pollution accounts for many of them.  Others, a result of extreme drought.  In all cases, experts say, poor water management is the reason it became a crisis.  Cape Town was expected to run out of water earlier this year, but a last-ditch policy of severe rationing  narrowly avoided a catastrophe.  The city’s doomsday alarm clock was reset for next year.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coreopsis Perennial

Above: Coreopsis – a perennial and native to North America


8 Easy Drought Tolerant Plants for Your SF Bay Area Climate. And, how to care for them.

These plants are beautiful and tough. They will save water and add color to your garden.

One of these 8 plants will work for your SF Bay Area climate.  Whether you live in the hottest inland part of the San Francisco Bay Area or on the coast.

Get the printable version of our report below
Download the Report

 
Lantana
Lantana, a non-native perennial
Attributes Non-native
They come back, year after year. In an array of colors.
Colors Pink, purple, yellow, red and orange
Bloom times  Spring, summer and fall
Light Requirements  Full sun
Water Drought tolerant
Maintenance Easy; deer resistant
Notes Bees and butterflies love them
They like well-draining soil


Salvia Leucantha (Common Name Mexican Sage)

Salvia Leucantha, a drought tolerant perennial
Attributes From Mexico; one of numerous varieties of Salvia
Colors This variety is purple
Bloom times  Late summer to early frost
Light Requirements  Full sun; will tolerate some shade
Water Drought tolerant
Maintenance Easy to grow
Notes Butterflies and hummingbirds love them
Hardiness to 15 degrees; tolerates windy conditions


Achillea Moonshine (Common Name Yarrow)

Achillea Moonshine or Yarrow is a drought tolerant perennial
Attributes Native. Showy flowers that can be dried; fragrant
Colors This yarrow flowers are yellow.
Bloom times  Early to late summer
Light Requirements  Full sun
Water Drought tolerant
Maintenance Easy; deer resistant
Notes Attracts bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects
Hardiness Heat tolerant



Dietes (Common Name Fortnight Lily)

Dietes, a perennial that adapts to wind and fog
Attributes From Africa, from the Iris family
Colors White, yellow or pink flowers
Bloom times  Spring to fall
Light Requirements  Full sun to partial shade
Water Drought tolerant
Maintenance Needs regular pruning and deadheading
Hardiness Adapts to wind and fog

Ceanothus Diamond Heights

Ceanothus Diamond Heights, native ground cover
Attributes Native ground cover or shrub
Colors Yellow chartreuse and variegated foliage
Bloom times  Spring has pale blue flowers
Light Requirements  Shade to part sun
Water Drought tolerant
Maintenance Easy; deer resistant, pruning not necessary.
Hardiness Likes coastal temperatures. 
Hardy to 20 degrees


Cistus x purpureus (Common Name Rock Rose)

Cistus x purpureus or Rock Rose, a hardy shrub
Attributes Non-native, fire-resistant, tolerates neglect
Colors Bright pink almost purple showy flowers
Bloom times  Spring, and summer
Light Requirements  Full sun
Water Drought tolerant
Maintenance Easy; deer resistant
Notes White (salvifolius) or light pink (xskanbergii) are adaptable to fog and wind
Hardiness Tolerates heat



Arctostaphylos Emerald Carpet (Carpet Manzanita)

Arctostaphylos Emerald Carpet, drought tolerant ground cover
Attributes Native ground cover or shrub; evergreen
Colors Deep green foliage, white flowers
Bloom times  Winter to spring
Light Requirements  Full sun, partial shade
Water Drought tolerant
Maintenance Easy; deer resistant
Notes Bees and butterflies love them
Hardiness to 15-20 degrees


Penstemon Carillo Red

Penstemon Carillo Red, native great for cut flowers


Attributes Native, makes beautiful cut flowers
Colors Red tubular-shaped flowers
Bloom times  Early to late summer, blooms for 4 weeks or more
Light Requirements  Full sun to mostly sunny
Water Drought tolerant
Maintenance Deer resistant
Notes Attracts pollinators
Hardiness Tolerates hot dry climates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bullthistle


Prevention and Control of Top 7 Invasive Weeds Using the Least Toxic Practices

Our report on the top 7 invasive weeds in the SF Bay Area was re-worked from one I posted in 2016 weeds typical in the San Francisco Bay Area including the most invasive weeds.

The top 7 invasive weeds is focused on the worst for good reason. This summer promises to be hot. Some of the top 7 are highly flammable.  Our treatment options for getting rid of the top 7 emphasize the least toxic solutions. Hand pulling or mechanical means for some, at the right time, can be effective.

Our Recommendations

We suggest a combination of prevention, mechanical or biological means. 
Sometimes a chemical solution is necessary, but only that is so.
The results of 2018’s on and off rainfall and intermittent heat waves have seen a prolific  crop of bull thistle (pictured above) and oxalis.

See the full report on managing weeds. It includes 13 weed types, prevention and control.

Download

Prevention – the First Line of Defense

Plant Choices
The right plant in the right place sounds simple but makes all the difference. 
Healthy vigorous plants have the best chance of out-competing weeds.  
Healthy Soil
Make sure that plants are healthy by feeding the soil with organic products including mulch and compost.
Mulching and Sheet Mulching
Mulch keeps soil cool and moist.  It deprives weeds of light.  Organic mulches enhance soil structure and host insects which will devour weeds.  Sheet mulching is layering of cardboard, newsletter or fabric.  It serves as a weed barrier.  Water Management
Proper irrigation is critical.
We recommend drip because the water goes directly to the root of the plant, not in between them. Spray irrigation can encourage weed growth.  

The Most Invasive Weed Types

Source: California Invasive Plant Council

Remove these plants from your garden! 
They damage our ecosystems by leaching nutrients from native species.
Some are highly flammable and at the same time consume valuable water.

Broom Species (French & Scotch)

Plentiful in forests or wooded areas. They spread along roads and appear like small trees.
Despite their pretty flowers they are toxic to humans and animals.
BEWARE. They are fire hazards. With a hot dry summer coming , get rid of these.
Crowds out desirable species by leaching nutrients.
Seeds spread by wind
Treatment Options
Hand pull between January-May

Cut to just above ground
Cut and treat with an herbicide

Fennel or Licorice Plant

Seeds spread by wind and competes with other plants for nutrients.
They will displace native plants in coastal areas.
BEWARE – This plant is also considered a fire hazard.
Treatment options
Hand pull when soil still wet.
Dig out as much of the root as possible with shovels, hand picks.
Mowing needs to be done at the right time or will encourage seed growth.

 

Bull Thistle

Showy purple blooms and sharp needle-like leaves.
Grows where soil is disturbed. Spreads rapidly.
Leaches nutrients from desired plants.
Treatment Options
Hand pull and step on stem before pulling
Mow before they flower
Herbicides

Cape Ivy

Forms a dense blanket over desired plants.
Distinguishing from less invasive ivy is difficult.
They choke off nutrients from understory vegetation, kill trees, harbor rats and snails.

Treatment Options
Requires precision as every stem must be removed.
Removing around the perimeter of a patch.
Because removal is complex cutting and using herbicide may be advised.

Himalaya Blackberry

Don’t confuse this with native blackberries!  Natives are smaller and don’t tangle and sprawl.
The
Himalayan Blackberry grows in dense thickets, covered in thorns. 
Highly invasive and difficult to
control.
They leach out nutrients from desired plants and shade out light.
BEWARE they are also a fire hazard
Treatment options
Mechanical – digging up root tall
Burning of mature plants only with consultation with a professional
Unfortunately, treating with concentrated herbicide is one of the best ways.

Periwinkle or Vinca Major

Vinca Minor is okay! The two types look a little different
Vinca Major leaves are broader, larger; heart shaped.
Vinca Minor leaves are smaller, elongated.
Major is a pest. They root wherever their stems touch soil.
They spread rapidly in shady creeks; drainage areas.  And, they choke off natives.
Treatment Options
Hand pulling will work if roots are not deep, soil is loose and moist. (put plants in plastic bag & destroy)
Mechanical means (put plants in plastic bag and destroy)
Foliar spray can work
Cutting and treating with an herbicide is effective if all else fails.

Ice Plants

Competes with native plants.
Seeds are prolific. They move from landscaped areas to natural areas.
Pieces of the plant can be washed into storm drains.
They form a dense mat which can harbor rats and contribute to soil erosion.
Research has shown that where they root, ice plants make long term changes to the soil.
A snippet from one study found that when the ice plant was removed both native and exotic plant
species returned.  But natives were less abundant.
Treatment Options
Hand puling is effective, just do it early.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

747 Super Tanker can carry 19,600 gallons of fire retardant. Photo Courtesy of KPIX-TV

Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by the north bay wildfires. Massive swaths of Santa Rosa decimated within hours.  Countless numbers of residents now homeless.  Other evacuees, anxiously praying for a home to return to. October, with its notorious Santa Ana winds, is upon us. Below are tips for keeping your property and family as safe as possible from fire damage.

Keeping Property Safe – What We Can Do

We can’t outrun Mother Nature.   But, there are actions we can take to blunt her effects. Example. It was impossible to stop the fire’s path of destruction on Sunday with 50 MPH winds.  But, we can minimize danger by creating a buffer between trees and structures. 

The Cal fire website is loaded with educational materials on fire prevention.

They advise on creating a “defensible space” around your home or building.  This is the best protection from the ravages of fire. 

Secondarily, they suggest replacing highly flammable plants with those known to be more fire retardant.

Summary of Cal Fire’s Ready Set Go Action Planner.

Minimize nearby plants and create a buffer zone

Zone 1 – Priority – Create a 30 foot buffer between your structure and any nearby wildlife by
Trim all nearby tree canopies, remove leaf litter, and all vegetation near windows
Cutting back low level flammable vegetation that can ignite a nearby tree

Zone 2 – Create a 30 to 100 feet buffer
Remove what Cal fire terms “ladder fuels” including low level grasses and other debris

Secondary Actions to Safeguard your Property
Cal Fire has a list of the most fire retardant construction materials
They recommend touring a fire-ready home
Included are details on advance planning for evacuation and a checklist

Check out their handy infographic with tips on one page.

Stay safe.