California is currently in a pervasive, 4-year long drought. The historically low precipitation affecting the state and the dire predictions are now the new normal.
The state’s plumbing structure relies heavily on runoff from the Sierra’s snow, and this year that crucial snowpack is only 5% of its normal rate. This past winter was the driest winter on California record – EVER.
On April 1, California’s Governor, Jerry Brown, announced a mandatory 25% reduction in water use, going into effect July 2015. Potentially alleviating measures are in the works – from the $35 billion that passed the House to mitigate California’s situation, to the numerous desalination projects in discussion, to the entrepreneur who is putting a plan in place to deliver 10 million gallons of Alaskan water to a buyer in California.
More locally, the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) is focused on stabilizing the constancy of the region’s water supply and distributing those supplies in a cost effective and environmentally responsive manner. A statement from SDCWA’s website, “ To maximize the reliability of the region’s water supply, the Water Authority is executing a long-term strategy to diversify the region’s supply sources, make major investments in the region’s water delivery and storage system, and improve water-use efficiency.”
But the measures that may hold the most water for the commercial real estate market is the commitment by all leaders in California government and water organizations to adopt an intensive water conservation program that incorporates not just an across-the-board awareness and restrictions enforcement, but also includes rebates and incentives.
What’s Available in the Rebate/Incentives Pipeline
- City of San Diego
Grass Replacement and Micro-Irrigation Rebate Programs for commercial landscaping were opened up to businesses a few months ago and had an overwhelming response. More than 350 residents and businesses will receive rebates to replace more than 500,000 square feet of turf. While the funds have been depleted for these programs, the City will once again start accepting applications on July 1, 2015.
|Turf Replacement||Receive rebates for removal of grass (lawn) that is replaced with waterwise plant material (artificial turf does not qualify). Rebates available for residential and commercial customers.|
|Micro-irrigation||Rebates for converting an overhead spray sprinkler system to low application rate micro-irrigation (i.e., drip, micro-spray, etc.). Rebates available for residential and commercial customers.|
- San Diego County Water Authority
The 20-Gallon Challenge offers free landscape surveys and has rebates for weather-based irrigation controllers (from $230), synthetic turf (50 cents per sq. ft.), and rotating nozzles (up to $4 each).
- SoCal Water$mart
SoCal Water$mart offers rebates for weather-based irrigation controllers (from $80 per controller for an acre or less; $25 per irrigation station for larger sites), rotating sprinkler nozzles (from $4 per nozzle), and synthetic turf (from 30 cents per sq. ft.), high-efficiency toilets, washers, WBICs (Smart Controllers), grass replacement, rotating sprinkler nozzles, rain barrels and other devices.
- California American Water
California American Water provides water surveys for their CII and Large Landscape customers at no cost. The organization’s website states, “The surveys are for businesses, institutional facilities, or non-residential customers with dedicated irrigation or mixed-use meters to improve water use efficiency. A certified conservation expert will find water and money saving opportunities by evaluating the property’s current water operating equipment and recommending high efficiency water and energy saving equipment where applicable.”
In addition, California American Water lists these commercial products that qualify for a rebate:
- High Efficiency Toilets – (Toilets must be water-sense certified to qualify)
- $50/multifamily toilet
- $100/Commercial Toilet
- High Efficiency Toilet Flushometer
- High Efficiency Clothes Washers
- High Efficiency Urinal
- Weather-based Irrigation Controller
- Pop-up Spray Heads or Rotating Nozzles
- $4/nozzle (Minimum of 15)
- $13/set Large Rotary Nozzles (Minimum of 8)
- Turf Rebates
- $1.50/per square foot (synthetic turf does not qualify)
- Connectionless Food Steamers
- Air-cooled Ice Machines
- Cooling Tower Connectivity Controllers
- Cooling Tower pH Controllers
- Dry Vacuum Pumps
- $125/0.5 HP; maximum of 2HP
- Laminar Flow Restrictor
- In-Stem Flow Regulator
- $1/each; minimum qty is 25 regulators
- Soil Moisture Sensor System
- Plumbing Flow Control Valves
- $5/valve; minimum of 20
- Pool Cover
- Manual $50
- Mechanical $200
All of these offers require applications and/or registration – be sure to reach out to the organizations directly to get more information.
Go with the Flow
How does this affect commercial property owners and operators?
Meissner Jacquet Commercial Real Estate Services, a San Diego-based company, participates with NAIOP and BOMA, two leading commercial real estate organizations, to further their efforts in educating and spreading awareness of water reduction to clients, tenants, vendors and employees.
Jerry Jacquet, a Principal at Meissner Jacquét, says that, “the commercial real estate industry plays a key role in adopting and encouraging a water conservation culture amongst property owners and occupiers. By following the path set by authorities and experts and taking advantage of available rebates and incentives, seemingly costly water-use reduction improvements performed proactively can positively affect the future bottom line.” Plus, it will showcase a commitment and dedication to environmental best practices.
- Meissner Jacquet Commercial Real Estate Services
- Water Education Foundation
- The San Diego Water Authority
- City of San Diego
- California American Water
- Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
- World Economic Forum