Saving water by going gray

Wouldn’t it be great if you could reuse water around the home with minimal effort? Well, you can! And better yet, there are no buckets involved! With the help of a rebate from the Santa Clara Valley Water District, you can install a graywater laundry-to-landscape system to water your landscape every time you do laundry. After investing a little time and effort into installing your graywater laundry-to-landscape system, irrigating your landscape is as easy as flipping a switch. Graywater refers to waste water from bathroom sinks, baths, showers and clothes washers.

Apply for a rebate of at least $200 before installing your laundry-to-landscape system and keep your garden thriving at a lower cost and effort compared to other types of graywater systems. Here’s an additional perk that can potentially save you time, money and headaches — typically, permits are not required for these simple, sustainable graywater systems.

There are a few factors to consider when planning to install a graywater system:

  • The amount of graywater your home produces may be more or less than your plants’ needs. Ask yourself, how many loads of laundry do you typically do a week?
  • Consider the location of your washer in relation to your landscape. These systems are more efficient when the landscape is downhill from the washer (as water flows naturally downward), and also when your washer is located near an exterior wall adjacent to the landscape as opposed to the middle of your home.
  • Shrubs and trees, including fruit trees, benefit best from a graywater system compared to the traditional lawn.  Think, how much of your landscape do you want to irrigate with your new graywater laundry-to-landscape system?
  • Using garden-friendly detergents can improve the quality of the graywater used in your landscape. Do you know how to check if your preferred detergents are garden friendly?

These are questions that the water district can help you answer on the rebate information page.

Interested in getting started with your graywater system? Watch the short video below for a brief explanation of how a graywater laundry-to-landscape system works and an overview of the system’s components. For a full tutorial on how to install such a system, check out the how-to videos and other information on our Graywater Resources page. Just remember to apply for the rebate before installing the system to ensure you qualify.

Interested in learning more about graywater or water-wise gardening? The South Bay Green Gardens page has a listing of classes and workshops you can attend. For a list of upcoming events click here.


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