COVER: Completed in 2010, Fire Station No. 5 on River Ridge Parkway in north San Marcos is outfitted with a rainwater harvesting system with a storage capacity of 10,000 gallons. The water is used for washing fire trucks and landscaping irrigation. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Under a new program administered by the Public Works department, the city of San Marcos is offering rebates of up to $5,000 for homeowners who install rainwater harvesting systems. Owners of commercial and institutional properties, including apartment complexes and buildings, are eligible for up $20,000 in reimbursements.
The rebates represent a major expansion of a five-year-old city project that offers $50 payments for residents who install rainwater barrels.
“Conserving water is more critical than ever right now,” said Jan Klein, the city’s conservation coordinator. “Capturing rainwater off your roof and using it instead of treated water is a great way to conserve our valuable water resources. Rainwater is also better for your plants, and capturing it onsite helps to reduce stormwater runoff.”
For residential participants installing gravity-powered, non-pressurized systems, the program offers payments of 50 cents per gallon of storage capacity or 50 percent of the system’s total cost, including rain barrels, rainwater tanks, screened gutters, primary filtration systems, tank foundations and pumps. Rebates for homeowners are capped at $5,000.
For businesses and institutions that install more complex, pressurized systems, the reimbursement rate is $1 per gallon of storage capacity or 50 percent of the total system cost. Commercial rebates are capped at $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000, depending on meter size (and thus water consumption).
For information, visit the city’s rainwater collection website or call 512-393-8310. Download rebate program guidelines and the application here: