You can use less water and energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money on your utility bill! WECalc, Your Home Water-Energy-Climate Calculator, is a free online tool from the Pacific Institute that shows you how.
Find out about the Great Water Race!
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Water Wise House Call
High-Efficiency Clothes Washer
California's Water Conditions
Even though we may or may not be in a drought in any given year, a number of long-term issues continue to create uncertainty with our water supply in many areas of the state. As Governor Jerry Brown said, "Drought or no drought, demand for water in California always outstrips supply. Continued conservation is key.” New State mandates require cities to reduce their water use 20% by the year 2020.
Meanwhile, it is noteworthy that 2013 has started out with unusually dry weather conditions, with January-February precipitation rates being the lowest since 1921!
Local Water Supply
Palo Alto’s water comes from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). This high quality water supply consists almost entirely of snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada mountains. Precipitation levels can vary greatly within any given year. Even though we may experience periods of wet weather, a warm dry spell can affect water supplies later in the year. These climate conditions, along with our limited long-term water supplies, mean it is in our best interest to use water as efficiently as possible. Read more information on Palo Alto’s water quality, as well as long-term water supply forecast, water demand and conservation programs which are explained in the 2010 Urban Water Management Plan.
Save Water at Home:
To help you use water more efficiently, check out all the water conservation rebates and programs listed below. Free workshops are held regularly to help you learn tips and techniques to save water at home.
Information for changing out your lawn for more ecologically sound yard alternatives:
Plant selection when upgrading your landscape:
Ever wondered if native gardens really do use less water? The City of Santa Monica compared a traditional and a native garden over several years. The comparison showed that the native garden was easier to maintain, used less water and produced less pollution. Read about it here.
For more water saving tips and ideas, visit our water saving strategies page
Get on our mailing list for updates on programs, rebates and workshops
Water Saving Devices:
Save up to 20 gallons of water a day! To receive your FREE low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators and toilet leak detection tablets, contact the Santa Clara Valley Water District by clicking the link or calling (408) 265-2607, ext. 2554.
Residential Rebate and Audit Programs
For information on the Green Building Program and rebates for efficient construction, click here.
Get a free indoor and outdoor water survey of your home or apartment. Participation in this program also pre-qualifies you for other water conservation rebate programs. Trained surveyors will review your water use, provide low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators and toilet flappers (if needed) free of charge, and make site-specific recommendations for water efficiency including suggested changes to your landscape irrigation schedule.
Water-Wise House Calls are available Monday through Saturday during daylight hours. Call (800) 548-1882 to schedule an appointment or make a request online here.
The Landscape Rebate Program provides rebates for improving outdoor water use efficiency by replacing irrigated turf grass and upgrading to efficient irrigation equipment.
Palo Alto residents can receive a rebate of up to $1.50 per square foot of turf grass removed and replaced with approved low water using plants (at least 50% cover by approved plants) and/or permeable hardscape. Irrigation systems, if used within the converted area, must be low-volume drip, micro spray or bubbler. The maximum rebate amount for Palo Alto residents is $3,000.
Additional rebates are available for installing weather-based irrigation controllers, rain sensors, high-efficiency nozzles, rotary sprinklers or spray bodies with pressure regulation and/or check valves. Irrigation hardware rebate amounts vary based upon the project materials and cost.
To qualify for the Landscape Rebate Program, residents must participate in a Water-Wise House Call and receive a written Notice to Proceed from the Santa Clara Valley Water District prior to beginning a project. To schedule a Water-Wise House Call, sign up online here or call (800) 548-1882.
Information on the effectiveness of weather-based irrigation controllers is available from the California Urban Water Conservation Council.
Remember to ALWAYS call before you dig! Dial 811 for Underground Service Alert (USA) at least 48 hours before you or your excavator begins digging to ensure it is safe. Click here for more gas utility safety information.
For additional information on the Landscape Rebate Program, please visit here.
High-Efficiency Toilet (HET) Rebate Program
Tank-type toilets that flush at 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) or greater can be replaced with qualifying High-Efficiency Toilets (HET) that flush at 1.28 gpf or less, for a rebate of up to $125. Rebate will not exceed the price of the toilet and will not include labor or installation costs. Pre-approval from our partner, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, is required prior to participating in this rebate program.
For pre-approval, list of qualified models, and application information, please call (877) 874-8479 or check it out online here.
Visit cee1.org for a list of qualifying tier 3 washers. Palo Alto residents can receive a $125 rebate for purchasing an approved high-efficiency clothes washer. Apply online here or download an application from (CPAU) Smart Energy Program. Models that use silver-ion technology DO NOT qualify for this rebate! CPAU provides the water rebate in partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Click here to apply for the clothes washer rebate.
Last Updated: Apr 16, 2013