Storm Water Rebates Make It Easier To Go Green

Innovative Stormwater Measures Rebate Program
Want to save money, reduce stormwater runoff, conserve water, and help protect the health of our creeks and San Francisco Bay?

Buy and install a qualifying product and receive rebates on the following items:

Rain Barrels



Green (Vegetated)

As part of the Storm Drainage Fee Increase ballot measure approved by a majority of Palo Alto property owners in April 2005, a special program to encourage innovative storm water measures was created. The program is funded with revenue from monthly Storm Drainage Fees, at a rate of $125,000 per year. The goal of this program is to help Palo Alto residents, businesses, and City departments to implement measures that will reduce the amount of runoff that flows into the storm drain system or improve the water quality of that runoff.

Example measures include:

  • Capturing rainwater in rain barrels or cisterns for use on landscaping and gardens
  • Constructing or reconstructing driveways, patios, walkways, and parking lots with permeable paving materials, so that rainwater soaks into the ground
  • Constructing a green (vegetated) roof to absorb and filter rainfall

To achieve this goal, starting August 1, 2008, the City of Palo Alto Storm Drain Utility is offering stormwater rebates to residents, businesses, and City departments for the qualifying measures listed above.

Installation of innovative stormwater measures may qualify for "points" under one of the green building rating systems specified in the City's Green Building Ordinance. Review the City’s Sustainability Program for further information.

Green Building Rating Systems:

Build it Green -- for residential construction
LEED -- for commercial construction

For more information check out the following:

Products eligible for rebates:

For additional information, call Public Works Engineering at 650-329-2295 or e-mail us at

How to Apply

  • Read the Terms and Conditions of the Palo Alto Innovative Stormwater Measures Rebate Program.
  • Complete the Stormwater Rebate Application Form and sign it to indicate your acceptance of the Rebate Program Terms and Conditions.
  • Step 1 - Design Review (not required for rain barrels)
    • Submit completed Application Form
    • Submit design plans and details to Public Works Engineering. Cisterns, permeable pavements, and green roofs require design review and approval by Public Works Department staff prior to the start of work in order to be eligible for rebate.
    • Secure City building permit, when required. Rain barrels or cisterns connected to a potable water or automatic irrigation system and green roofs require City building permits. Obtain any necessary permits or approvals through the City of Palo Alto Development Center. Please call (650) 329-2496 or visit the Development Center for permit requirements.
  • Step 2 - Installation
    • Install eligible stormwater measure per approved design.
    • All eligible stormwater measures must be inspected by Public Works Department staff upon completion to ensure proper installation and functionality prior to issuance of rebate.
    • Rain barrels or cisterns connected directly to a potable water or automatic irrigation systems and green roofs must be permitted, inspected and approved by the City Building Inspection Division prior to installation. Rain barrels or cisterns connected directly to a potable water or automatic irrigation system must be equipped with a certified backflow device.
  • Step 3 - Final documentation
    • Submit proof of purchase and supporting documentation, including:
      • Completed Application Form
      • Supporting product information
      • Receipts for costs incurred
      • If applicable, City of Palo Alto building permit with final approval
    • Submit all documentation to:

      City of Palo Alto
      Public Works Engineering
      P.O. Box 10250
      Palo Alto, CA 94303
      Attn: Stormwater Rebate

Please keep a copy of all documents submitted, as they will not be returned to you.

Terms and Conditions

1. Rebates valid only on specified stormwater measures installed at a residence or business within the City of Palo Alto. Funding is on a first come, first served basis, or until funds are depleted.

2. Stormwater measures (except rain barrels) must be installed by a professional contractor licensed to perform work in the State of California.

3. The City of Palo Alto reserves the right to change, modify or reduce rebate levels, as well as add or drop specific eligible measures at any time without prior notice.

4. Applications must be approved prior to the start of the installation of eligible stormwater measures. Required supporting documentation must be postmarked and submitted no later than 90 days after the purchase/installation date of the eligible measure in order to receive rebate.

5. Offer is limited to one (1) rebate per residence or business for each qualifying measure.

6. Qualifying measures previously rebated under any other City of Palo Alto program are not eligible.

7. Rebates less than $350 will be issued as a credit on the CPAU utility account for the residence or business where the qualifying measure(s) were installed. Rebates will be processed within three (3) monthly billing cycles from the receipt of all required documentation.

8. Failure to provide appropriate documentation will result in rebate ineligibility. City of Palo Alto reserves the right to validate all information, including proof of purchase by a Palo Alto resident or business, and completeness and functionality of installation before issuing a rebate.

9. City of Palo Alto disclaims any and all liability from any property damage or loss that may arise as a result of the applicant's or contractor's participation in this program.

10. City of Palo Alto is not responsible for claims regarding rebate amounts, program dates or guidelines made by contractors, retailers or other third parties. Final determination of rebate eligibility will be governed by the Terms and Conditions.

11. City of Palo Alto is not responsible for items lost or delayed in the mail, nor any remittance delayed due to incorrect rebate applications. Incomplete applications cannot be processed and will be returned.

12. The Internal Revenue Service requires the City to issue an IRS Form 1099 (Miscellaneous Income) to rebate program participants receiving a total of $600 or more in storm water and/or water conservation rebates from the City. Rebates may be considered taxable income. Please consult with your tax accountant to determine what impact this may have on your tax situation. Applicants are required to fill out and submit the enclosed IRS Form W-9 (Request for Taxpayer identification Number) along with their rebate application.

Last Updated: Mar 18, 2015
Palo Alto Weekly article - 9/26/08
Revision Date: 2/13/2009
Stormwater Rebate Application Form
Revision Date: 11/12/2014
As part of the Storm Drainage Fee Increase ballot measure approved by a majority of Palo Alto property owners in April 2005, a special program to encourage innovative stormwater measures was created.
Revision Date: 8/4/2008