Business Water Conservation

California's Water Conditions
In many areas of California, the year 2013 ended with the lowest rainfall levels on record. Recent Sierra Nevada snowpack surveys indicate that 2014 is shaping up to be a challenging water supply year. While there is still the potential for seasonal rains to avoid drought conditions--the Sierras typically get most of their snowpack in January and February--each dry day reminds us even more of the importance to use water wisely.

State law requires cities to reduce their water use 20% by the year 2020.  Read more information on Palo Alto’s long-term water supply forecast, water demand and conservation programs in the 2010 Urban Water Management Plan. We will update this website regularly with Palo Alto's current water supply status.

Read details on Palo Alto's Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance Requirements.

This is a great time to take advantage of the many free resources and rebate programs designed to assist your business operate as efficiently as possible. 

Jump to Programs:
New Construction Rebate
Indoor Water Use Survey
Landscape Irrigation Survey
Landscape Rebate
High-Efficiency Toilet/Urinal Direct Installation
High-Efficiency Toilet Rebate
High-Efficiency Urinal Rebate
Clothes Washer Rebate
Connectionless Food Steamer Rebate
Air-Cooled Ice Machine Rebate
Custom Rebate
Submeter Rebate
Free Conservation Items

Water Conservation
The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) partners with the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) to offer free services and rebates so you can
enjoy, protect and use water wisely. For more information about water and energy savings, including free surveys of your business operations, please contact your Account Representative or call CPAU Marketing Services at (650) 329-2241.

Join our mailing list for updates on programs, rebates and workshops.

Water Conservation for Businesses

New Construction and Green Building Program
Efficiency incentives are available for designing and building beyond the Title 24 requirements. Visit the City’s Green Building webpage for information on program requirements, applications and rebates.

Indoor Water Use Survey
Free indoor water surveys are available for commercial, industrial, school and institutional (CII) facilities.  Participants receive recommendations for improving efficiency, potential water and cost savings, as well as information about rebates and other free programs.  Surveys are scheduled subject to staff availability and on a first-come, first-served basis.

To schedule an Indoor Water Use Survey, contact the City's water conservation specialist at (650) 329-2417.

Landscape Water Use Survey
Free landscape irrigation surveys are available for select non-residential facilities with a minimum of 5,000 square feet of irrigated landscape. The survey includes site-specific recommendations for improving irrigation system efficiency and analysis of potential water and cost savings.  It also qualifies sites to participate in the Landscape Rebate Program.  Visit the SCVWD webpage for additional information on the program.

To schedule a Landscape Survey, contact your Account Representative or the SCVWD Water Conservation Hotline at (408) 630-2554.

Landscape Rebate Program
Water-wise landscapes save water, time and money. Watch our short video. 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 businesses are eligible for rebates of up to $2 per square foot of turf grass removed and replaced with qualifying materials. Converted landscape areas must be covered by at least 50% with approved plants. Irrigation systems, if used within the converted area, must be low-volume drip, micro spray or bubbler.

View sample water-wise landscapes and specific plants in this interactive picture gallery to generate ideas for your own low water use landscape design.

Call the SCVWD Water Conservation Hotline at (408) 630-2554 to schedule a pre-inspection or to participate in the Landscape Survey Program. Visit the
SCVWD webpage for more information.

Additional landscape irrigation rebates are available for:

  • Weather-based irrigation controllers
  • Rain sensors
  • High-efficiency nozzles
  • Rotary sprinklers or spray bodies with pressure regulation and/or check valves
  • Dedicated landscape meter, flow sensor, hydrometer

Irrigation hardware rebate amounts vary based upon the project materials and cost.

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. Learn more about 
gas utility safety information.

Read more details on the
Landscape Rebate Program.

Free High-Efficiency Toilet (HET) and Urinal (HEU) Direct Installation
Businesses, schools and apartment buildings with tank-type and flush-valve toilets that flush at 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) or greater can receive free high efficiency toilets that flush at 1.28 gpf or less.  Facilities with urinals that flush at 1.0 gpf or greater can receive a free flush valve retrofit kit, which reduces the flush volume to 0.5 gpf.  Installation is included in this free service.

Visit the
SCVWD webpage for more information on this free direct install program.

To schedule a free HET or urinal flush valve kit installation, call Southwest Environmental at (800) 307-5700.

High-Efficiency Toilet Rebate
Rebates of up to $125 are available for replacing inefficient toilets with qualifying PREMIUM model High-Efficiency Toilets (HET) which are WaterSense certified, flush at 1.06 gallons per flush (gpf) or less and achieve a MaP flush performance score of at least 600 grams of waste removed in a single flush.

Rebates of up to $50 are available for installing WaterSense certified HETs that have been MaP tested and flush at 1.28 gpf or less.

The HET category includes both single and dual-flush fixtures. Rebates are approved for toilets that have not previously been replaced or rebated through a similar program.

For applications and more information, please call (877) 874-8479 or visit the
SCVWD HET webpage. Learn about it in this short video.

View the full list of
WaterSense certified products. MaP stands for the Maximum Performance scale that rates toilet efficiency and flush performance and provides detailed information on individual toilet characteristics. Learn more about the MaP testing.

High-Efficiency Urinal (HEU) Rebate
Businesses and schools with urinals that flush at 1.0 gallons per flush (gpf) or greater may be eligible for rebates for replacing existing fixtures. Rebates are up to $300 for qualifying models. New urinals must flush at no greater than 0.125 gpf (one pint) and be WaterSense certified to qualify.

Visit the
SCVWD webpage for more information on the program.

High-Efficiency Clothes Washer Rebate
Property managers and owners of laundromats or multi-family common laundry rooms can receive rebates of $400 for installing approved high-efficiency clothes washer models. 
Learn more information on the
SCVWD webpage and contact Karen Koppett from SCVWD at (408) 630-2707 or for application materials.

Connectionless Food Steamer Rebate
Businesses, schools, commercial kitchens and other non-residential facilities may be eligible to receive rebates for replacing connected food steamers with connectionless models. Rebate amount is up to $485 per compartment in each model. Qualifying models are listed on the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) Tier B list (≤ 4 gallons/hour/compartment). View the complete list of qualifying models.

Air-Cooled Ice Machine Rebate
Businesses, schools, commercial kitchens and other non-residential facilities may be eligible to receive rebates for replacing water-cooled ice machines with air-cooled ice machines. Rebate amount is up to $1,000 per machine. Any machine on this approved list qualifies for the rebate.

Visit the
SCVWD webpage for more information on the program.

Custom or Measured Rebate 
Custom rebates are available for upgrading or replacing water-using equipment to improve efficiency. Eligible projects must reduce water use by at least 100 hundred cubic feet (CCF) per year. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-serve basis through June 30, 2014, while funding lasts. Some restrictions apply.

It's easy to apply and your water-saving project may qualify for additional funding through CPAU's energy-saving incentives in the
Commercial Advantage Program.

For details, visit the
SCVWD webpage, contact your Utility Account Representative or the City's water conservation specialist at (650) 329-2417.

Water Submeter Rebate
Rebates are available for property managers and owners of mobile home parks and condominium complexes for changing from a master water meter to individual water submeters. The Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) offers a rebate of up to $100 per installed water submeter. Applicants must contact SCVWD for an application package prior to a project start.

For more information, visit the SCVWD webpage and contact Karen Koppett at (408) 630-2707 or for application materials.

Free Conservation Devices and Marketing Tools
CPAU and SCVWD offer a variety of free water conservation devices and items to help remind customers of easy ways to use water efficiently. View the full list here. Contact your Account Representative or the SCVWD Water Conservation Hotline at (408) 630-2554 to request any of the following:
  • Low-flow showerheads
  • Low-flow faucet aerators
  • Toilet leak detection tablets and toilet flappers
  • Pre-rinse spray nozzles
  • Posters and fliers
  • Static cling window and mirror stickers
  • Table tents for restaurants - "Drinking water served upon request."
  • Hotel linen reuse cards and door hangers
  • Literature


Last Updated: Feb 25, 2014