How to Qualify

Tucson Water rain tank

Applicants may apply for both incentive levels below (passive and active), not exceeding $2,000 for the combination per property.

This program is available to single-family residential and small commercial Tucson Water customers. Small commercial is defined as a property with a single meter that is 5/8” or 3/4”. Properties with more than one meter or with meters larger than 3/4” do not qualify.

Applicants receiving rebates for $600 or more will be issued a 1099-MISC for miscellaneous income.

Incentive Level 1 - Simple/Passive (Rain Garden) 
50% of the cost of eligible materials and labor up to $500

Practices: Passive earthworks include directing and retaining water in landscape using site appropriate practices such as basins, berms, terraces, swales, infiltration trenches, and curb cuts.

Covered costs include:

  • surface, sub-surface, and conveyance features
  • mulch, rocks/boulders for reinforcement (rock work) and soil amendments
  • equipment rental such as tillers, jackhammers, and trenchers
  • permits and costs for curb cuts and coring
  • labor from licensed contractors (Contractor must be licensed with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors exiting Tucson Water website in the particular trade or field for the type of work performed.)
  • gutters, but only if they drain directly to a passive feature

Incentive Level 2 - Complex/Active (Rain Tank) 
Rebate covers cost of system based on gallon per capacity of tank up to $2,000.

  • $0.25 per gallon capacity of 50-799 gallon rain tank
  • $1.00 per gallon capacity of 800 gallon and larger rain tank

Note: The $0.25 and $1.00 per gallon capacity rebate amount includes tank, gutter, tank foundation, overflow, and miscellaneous materials which make up the system.

For example, the rebate for a system with one 865-gallon tank and one 420-gallon tank is $970 ($865 @ $1 plus 420 @ $0.25). The rebate for a system with two 420-gallon tanks is $210 (840 @ $0.25), unless the tanks are connected and would yield a total volume of 840 gallons.

Costs Not Covered

The rainwater harvesting rebate program will not cover costs for the following:

  • Conveyance features which direct rainwater offsite without entering appropriately-sized landscape retention feature or storage tank (e.g., gutter and downspout directed onto driveway, allowing rainwater flow into street)

  • Overflow features, like a rock or mulch basin, that receive water from a tank are not eligible for an additional passive rebate. This is considered a best practice for an active system to have an overflow feature to receive water once the tank is full.

  • Removing and replacing old gutter

  • Imported soil to create passive rain garden practices. Creation of passive features does not require additional soil; engineered permeable fill can be covered if site requires it to support subsurface storage.

  • Purchase and delivery of gravel or decomposed granite (also known as DG or 1/4 minus) as a surface cover. Decomposed granite includes finer particles which may result in sealing soil surfaces, especially in desired infiltration areas.

  • Purchase or installation of pressurizing pumps or associated controls (the incentive program is promoting lower costs and simple rainwater harvesting practices). Pumps are not prohibited; however, their associated costs will not be covered.

  • Purchase or installation of irrigation systems or backflow prevention devices, which are required for any site with a pump system for non-municipal, potable water distribution

  • Purchase or installation of landscaping materials such as plants, edging, decorative gravel, etc.

  • Installing, raising, or improving a driveway and removing concrete, asphalt, etc.

  • Labor completed by owner, neighbor, friend, or handyman

  • Purchase of tools such as shovels, rakes, drill bits, garden hose, etc.

  • Used or reconditioned tanks and cisterns, unless approved by Tucson Water

Permit Information

Zoning requirements for cisterns are set by City of Tucson Planning and Development Services within the city limits and by Pima County Development Services outside of the city limits. Within city limits, see the City of Tucson Land Use Code Sections 6.6.2 (Accessory Buildings & Structures) exiting Tucson Water website and 6.3.4 (Dimensional Standards for Perimeter Yards) exiting Tucson Water website . In the county, see the Pima County of Ordinances, Title 18 – Zoning, Chapter 18.07.030, Land Use Regulations, Section R (Rainwater Harvesting System) exiting Tucson Water website .

For additional information:

City of Tucson Tank Zoning and Permit Requirements pdf
Pima County Permitting Requirement for Water Tanks and Policy exiting Tucson Water websitepdf

Contact the City of Tucson Planning & Development Services Department at 520-791-5550 for additional information.

Backflow Prevention Requirements

NEW! Watch this informative video on Backflow Prevention: Rainwater and Gray Water Pressurized System - Backflow Prevention Requirement

Use of an irrigation system that is pressurized with any kind of pump must have a reduced pressure principle assembly (RPA) installed at the service connection to protect the public water system from potential contamination.

For more information on backflow assembly requirements for alternative water sources (rainwater and gray water irrigation systems), download Alternative Water Sources and Backflow Assembly Requirements pdf, Backflow Prevention Q&A, and/or visit the Backflow Prevention web page, or call 520-791-2650.