Ways to save water and cash during drought

Turf replacement
Richard Delgado replaced most of the turf in his San Fernando Valley yard with mulch, although he did not qualify for a rebate because he hadn't taken photos of the grass before it died. Funding for turf-removal rebates have expired or have been reduced in Burbank and Glendale, but Glendale residents can still add their names to a wait list. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

In Glendale and Burbank, residents have access to a variety of rebates available to them through the local utilities, which offer higher rebates for appliances purchased within respective city limits. Here is a sample of some of the water-saving tools available.

Clothes Washers

About 15% of a home’s indoor water use goes to doing laundry, according to SoCal WaterSmart, which partners with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Switching to a high-efficiency machine makes a significant difference in both water and bill savings.

A high-efficiency machine can save 14 gallons of water daily compared to a standard one. Over the machine’s lifetime, total water savings could tally 150,000 gallons, and bills could be cut down by more than $400 over the same timespan. Rebates through the SoCal WaterSmart program start at $85, with city of Glendale rebates tallying $80 for machines purchased within Glendale. In Burbank, rebates begin at $100 for machines bought within city limits.

Rain Barrels

Rain barrels are ideal for collecting water, and in turn, the water can be used to nourish plants. SoCal WaterSmart offers rebates that start at $75 for 50-gallon barrels with prices for them ranging from $70 to $119.

Rain barrel
Jay and Kristen Jennings have a rain barrel . Rain barrels are ideal for collecting water, and in turn, the water can be used to nourish plants. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)


Rebates for rotating nozzle sprinkler heads start at $4 per nozzle, with a maximum 15 nozzle rebates per household. They come with the promise of using 20% less water than conventional spray heads, and no more water running down sidewalks.


Toilet flushing typically uses the most water inside of a home and accounts for 30% of indoor water use. High-efficiency toilets will flush 1.28 gallons of water per flush or less, and use 20% less water than standard toilets, making it possible to save 8,000 gallons of water per year. Rebates for toilets start at $100, through SoCal WaterSmart, the same starting price for select high-efficiency models. In Glendale, the rebate value is $125 for toilets purchased within the Jewel City.

Saving water and money at home

Low-flow shower heads

Although no rebates currently exist for low-flow shower heads, the fixtures can save anywhere from 25% to 65% more water according to the U.S. Department of Energy. A federal mandate requires that no shower head can flow with more than 2.5 gallons each minute, and it’s recommended to replace shower heads that were made before 1992, when some flowed with 5.5 gallons of water per minute.

The energy department suggests that a quick test to see whether it may be necessary to install a low-flow device in your home would be to place a gallon-marked bucket below the shower head, then turning it on at the normal water pressure typically used. If it takes less than 20 seconds for the water to reach the gallon mark on the bucket, it’s time to switch to a low-flow shower head.


Funding to provide turf rebates to residents has expired or reduced in some cities, including in Burbank and Glendale, due to the popularity of the program.

In Glendale, residents can typically receive $2 per square foot for replacing grass with native drought tolerant plants, but for now, Glendale residents can add their name to a wait list, should funding for rebates resume in the fall.

Before July, Burbank residents could attain $3 per square foot in rebates, but now they can only receive $1 per square foot. Applications are based on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information on a variety of rebates, including turf, visit .

Burbank residents can also download and print out . Glendale residents can for information on Glendale Water & Power's "Smart Home" rebate program.


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