Meeting Date:

October 19, 2009





Darby Fuerst




General Manager

Line Item No.:




Prepared By:

Stephanie Pintar

Cost Estimate:

FY 09-10 Budget for $325,000


General Counsel Review:  Yes

Committee Recommendation:  By a vote of 2-0 on September 14, 2009, the Water Demand Committee supported the proposed Rebate Program amendments.  The District’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) reviewed and supported the ordinance at the September 3, 2009 and October 12, 2009 meetings.

CEQA Compliance:  Categorical Exemption under Class I, §15301


SUMMARY:  Draft Ordinance No. 140 (Exhibit 12-A), expands the Rebate Program to include lawn removal, synthetic turf, high efficiency urinals, pint urinals, rotating sprinkler nozzles, water brooms, high efficiency commercial clothes washers, cooling tower conductivity controllers, air-cooled ice machines, and X-ray film processor recirculation systems.  Other amendments to the Rebate Program include the deletion of rebates for ultra-low flush (ULF) 1.6 gallon-per-flush toilets, increases in current rebate amounts for High Efficiency Toilets, high efficiency washing machines and Zero Water Consumption Urinals, and revisions to Rule 11, Definitions.  The ordinance also modifies the District’s Washing Machine criteria to use a Water Factor, which is the national standard for determining water efficiency.  Draft Ordinance No. 140 includes rebates discussed during the California America Water (CAW) conservation budget hearings in 2008 before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). 


The draft ordinance removes the rebate for ULF toilets, leaving only a rebate for High Efficiency Toilets (HET) that use less than 1.3 gallons of water per flush on average.  The removal of the ULF toilet was made at the recommendation of California American Water.  The State of California has mandated the more efficient HET as of 2014[1].   Beginning in 2010, the legislation requires 50 percent of all toilets sold in California to meet the new flush standards, 67 percent by January 1, 2011, 75 percent by January 1, 2012, 85 percent by January 1, 2013, and 100 percent by January 1, 2014.  These toilets have proven performance records, and as the new HET mandate will take effect shortly, the District’s Rebate Program will reflect the most current technology.

DISCUSSION:  In recommending the proposed rebates, staff researched other water efficiency Rebate Programs.  All proposed rebate amounts and water savings are supported through extensive research and documentation, particularly the Rebates that are proposed for Non-Residential appliances.  Rebates proposed in Ordinance No. 140 are comparable with Rebates offered by other agencies throughout the state and were reviewed by the Water Demand Committee (WDC), the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), the Policy Advisory Committee (PAC), and were provided to CAW.  The addition of Non-Residential technology to the Rebate Program is necessary to further reduce water consumption within the District.


First reading of draft Ordinance No. 140 was continued and referred back to committee at the September 21, 2009 Board meeting.  The WDC reviewed the draft ordinance on October 1, 2009 and recommended several clarifications, which have been made to the Exhibit 12-A.  Based on direction from the Board during the September 21, 2009 public hearing, the WDC reviewed the definition of “Lawn” in relation to the descriptive qualities that indicate its removal should qualify for a Rebate.  The committee proposed a more descriptive revision to the definition.   The new definition is “an area of land planted with live, healthy grass which is regularly maintained, irrigated and groomed at a low, even height.”  After much discussion, this definition was perceived to most clearly convey the qualities of a water-using lawn.  The WDC recommended staff also add clarifying language that the determination is made at the discretion of the General Manager, making the determination an appealable decision.


The Water Demand Committee recommended that lawn removal rebates also require replacement with either low water using plants or with other permeable surfaces such as paving stones or gravel.  Synthetic grass is another permeable option.  The committee also recommended that the maximum square-footage for lawn removal and synthetic turf installation be reduced from 5,000 square-feet to 2,000 square-feet.  Staff was asked to give an update about the program to the Board after several months.


At the September 3, 2009, Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting, District staff was asked to provide water savings estimates for the proposed rebates.  All new rebates offer significant water savings over conventional fixtures.  Savings will vary depending on the existing circumstances, particularly with Non-Residential retrofits.  A summary of anticipated water savings will be included during the staff presentation on this item.


RECOMMENDATION:  Staff recommends the Board approve first reading of Ordinance No. 140.  The ordinance has been written with an effective date of January 1, 2010.


IMPACT ON STAFF/RESOURCES:  Increased participation in the rebate program has impacts on staff as the District administers the rebate programs for the District.  However, the District has been able to accommodate the existing program and the new database will enhance staff’s ability to process and issue rebates.  The District’s direct involvement in the administration of the program allows it to ensure that program savings are tracked and are not double counted in another District program.  The cost of administering the Rebate Program is contemplated in the adopted Water Demand Division 2009/10 budget.


The Rebate Program is jointly funded through several mechanisms:  The CPUC approved a $900,000 3-year budget (2009-2011) in the CAW conservation filing that is to fund rebates for CAW customers, the District budgeted $10,000 for Fiscal Year 2009-2010 for non-CAW rebates, and the District was approved $15,000 annually for a “Cash For Grass” program by the CPUC in CAW’s conservation filing.  The District administers the Rebate Program and tracks the retrofits and water savings that occur, utilizing the District’s extensive property database to verify eligibility.  California American Water supports the expansion of the Rebate Program as it contributes to both entities’ conservation goals.  Since the inception of the program in 1997, about 230 acre-feet of water have been saved.



12-A    Draft Ordinance No. 140





[1]  AB 715, signed by Governor Schwarzenegger on October 11, 2007, amended the Health and Safety Code, related to water conservation appliances.