Rain Catchment

Rebate Information

$25 per barrel or $25 per 100 gallons storage capacity. The rebate amount cannot exceed the purchase price of the rain catchment system. Sales tax and labor are not included.

Collect rainwater from your roof and use it to irrigate your landscape. In addition to saving water, rain catchment systems help prevent stormwater runoff and pollution and help to recharge groundwater. Determine how much water can be collected from your roof with a simple formula. Our area gets about 29 inches of rain per year.

Soquel Creek Water District (SqCWD) offers the following rain catchment rebates:

  • $25 per barrel (for barrels with a storage capacity of 50 to 100 gallons)
  • $25 per 100 gallons of storage capacity (for tanks/cisterns with a storage capacity of 100 to 3,000 gallons)

Our rain catchment rebates provide flexibility as there are many different types and sizes of rain catchment systems including single or multiple rain barrels, large tanks, and below-ground cisterns.

Backflow Prevention Requirements

All rain catchment systems or large amounts of stored water (like in a pool or hot tub) can pose a risk of backflow or back siphoning into the water system if a hose is submerged in the water. For this reason, all hose spigots should have a hose bib vacuum breaker (HBVB) installed before the hose connection. The Soquel Creek Water District provides these HBVBs for free to install on all hose bibs at the property. Request a HBVB delivery by emailing the Conservation Department.

  • If the tank is connected to the potable water system in any way, a backflow prevention device or double-check valve is required to be installed at the water meter and annual testing is required.
  • 5,000 gallons or more total storage: backflow prevention is required
  • 301 gallons to 4,999 gallons of total storage and are disconnected from the potable water system: No backflow devices are required but an annual inspection by the District's cross-connection control specialist is required and all hose spigots must have vacuum breakers.
  • 300 gallons or less total storage: No backflow prevention device or inspection is required but all hose spigots must have vacuum breakers. These are provided for free from the District.

Rain Catchment System Rebate Eligibility

If you have any questions regarding rain catchment rebates or need additional information, please call our Conservation Department at 831-475-8500.

Complete rebate eligibility requirements are listed on the Rain Catchment System Rebate Application (PDF). However, we still want you to be aware of the following:

  • Captured rainwater may only be used for irrigation and other non-potable uses.
  • If you collect roof runoff, please do not use toxic substances to treat your roof.
  • Rebate applies to materials only. Sales tax and labor are not included.
  • Rain catchment systems must be installed and rebate applications must be postmarked within 90 days of the purchase date.
  • A representative of SqCWD must be permitted to inspect the property to verify installation and proper construction prior to rebate approval.
  • The applicant/customer must identify and comply with all applicable (i.e. County of Santa Cruz or the City of Capitola) building codes and permit requirements.(Note: Both permitting agencies currently require a building permit for rainwater tanks over 5,000 gallons or with a height to width ratio greater than 2 to 1. However, please check with the applicable agency prior to purchasing a tank or cistern as the building codes are subject to change. Building setback requirements should also be considered. View a helpful checklist (PDF) from the Santa Cruz County Planning Department. Also check the requirements for alternate water sources for non-potable applications from the California Plumbing Code.
  • Rain catchment systems must be child-proof and mosquito-proof. Childproof means the barrel/cistern top is sealed to prevent a child from climbing inside and drowning, and that the base is sturdy enough to prevent tipping. Mosquito-proof means that the opening to the system must be completely sealed with mesh that is at a minimum, the size of window screening.
  • Backflow protection is required at the meter for any rain catchment tank or cistern that is connected to the potable water system or with a storage capacity of 5,000 gallons or more (connected or daisy-chained tanks exceeding 5,000 gallons total will also require backflow protection at the meter.) Tanks or total storage of 301 to 4,999 gallons of water must have an annual inspection but if connected do not need a backflow prevention device. 300 gallons or less only require hose bib vacuum breakers installed.
  • Individual barrels/cisterns must have a minimum storage capacity of 50 gallons.
  • All hose spigots require a hose bib vacuum breaker installed before the hose connection to prevent back siphoning.
  • The maximum rain catchment system rebate is $750 (for 3,000 gallons of storage capacity) per property.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires all rebate program participants receiving $600 or more per calendar year in rebates to be issued an IRS Form 1099 unless exemptions apply. If you have received rebates from SqCWD totaling $600 or more in the current calendar year, you must submit a completed IRS W-9 Form (PDF) with your rebate application to receive a rebate. The Social Security or Tax ID number requested in the rebate application process is in compliance with exemptions to the Federal Privacy Act of 1974, 42 UCS 405 (c)(2)(c). Social Security numbers provided as part of the application process are held in confidence under terms of the Privacy Act and are not divulged or otherwise conveyed to individuals or organizations outside the SqCWD Rebate Program.

Rainwater Catchment System Suppliers & Installers

Rain barrels can be installed by a handy homeowner or a professional. However, larger systems should be installed by a professional. View a partial list of local companies that either supply rain catchment systems and/or perform installations. Soquel Creek Water District does not endorse specific companies or contractors, nor does it guarantee materials or workmanship; acceptance of such is the customer's responsibility.

Local company not listed here? If a local company would like its name added to the list, please email the Conservation Department or call in your information to 831-475-8500.

Rain Catchment Tank

The District has a 3,000-gallon rain catchment tank on the side of our main office that you can visit. The water that this cistern collects from the winter's rain is enough to irrigate the drought-tolerant landscaping around it all year long! The garden is Monterey Bay Friendly Landscape certified and photos can be seen at the Monterey Bay Friendly Landscaping website. Tours of the District's gardens and rainwater catchment system can be arranged upon request. Please call the Conservation Department at 831-475-8500 to schedule a tour.