Water Rebates & Incentives

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water conservation

Attention: Drought warning restrictions are no longer in effect for the City of Charlottesville. For more info on droughts see the Drought Page.

For a Full List of Green Incentives & Rebates: Click Here!

Indoor Water Conservation Kits

To assist water conservation efforts, the City of Charlottesville is offering free Water Conservation Kits to residents. 

The indoor kit contains:Water Conservation Opportunity: Bathing & Showering

  • A self cleaning, massaging showerhead that has earned the WaterSense label. 
  • A package of 2 toilet leak detection dye tablets.
  • A roll of extra heavy duty Teflon tape to help install the showerhead
  • WaterSense labeled faucet aerator
  • Toilet Rebate brochure
  • Water saving tips brochure

To your obtain your free kit, drop by the City's Utility Billing Office, located on the first floor of City Hall.  For more information, contact the Utility Billing office at 970-3211.

Do you live in the County? Stop by the Albemarle County Service Authority to pick up your own water conservation kit.

$100 Toilet Rebates

Toilets generally account for 30% of the water used inside your home.  A new toilet will create instant, significant and permanent water savings.  As of July 1, 2012, the City will only offer the rebate on WaterSense labeled toilets.   
 A WaterSense toilet has been verified by a third party to be at least 20% more efficient than standard fixtures,  while maintaining the same performance.  Local retailers carry these low flow toilets in a number of styles and price points.  They can even be found for less than $100.

Click here to download the toilet rebate brochure.


  • Be the home / rental property owner of a building built before 1994
  • Be replacing a toilet of 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) or higher with a toilet that is WaterSense certified.
  • Be a City of Charlottesville water customer in good standing
  • Purchase the toilet(s) after 6/30/2002
  • Provide us with a receipt for the toilet and/or installation and a completed rebate form including adequate information to verify WaterSense status on official website: www.epa.gov/watersense

SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES: For single-family homes, the rebate is up to a maximum of $100/toilet, with a limit of 3 toilets per household, for homes built prior to 1994.

The rebate, up to $100, can be used to cover the cost of the toilet and/or the expense of installation.  The amount can be credited to your account or mailed out as a reimbursement check.

MULTI-FAMILY HOMES / APARTMENTS: For multi-family housing and apartment complexes built prior to 1994, with a water meter smaller than 1”, there is a limit of 2 toilets per housing unit.

 Multi-Family complexes built prior to 1994 that use a 1” or greater water meter will need to apply for rebates via the Apartment Toilet Rebate Program.  New toilets must be WaterSense certified and units receiving them must also be fitted with low flow showerheads, available through the City.  Rebates under this program are not retroactive to 2002, and must be approved in advance.   Contact the City’s Water Efficiency Program Coordinator at 970-3800 or via email for more information.

COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES: For commercial properties built before 1994, there :is a limit of 2 toilets at this rate.

  • $80 per flush valve toilet replacement
  • $60 for each tank-type toilet replacement costing up to $100 ($80 rebate for those costing over $100)
  • $80 per waterless urinal

Rebates should be returned with your water bill, faxed to (434) 970-3212, or mailed to:
Office of Utility Billing
P.O. Box 591
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Do you live in the County? The Albemarle County Service Authority offers a comparable toilet rebate too.
ACSA Program Rebates & Incentives Website: http://www.serviceauthority.org/conserve.html

Rain Barrel Rebates

Click here to download the rebate request form. $30* CASH BACK REBATE OFFER

What is a Rain Barrel?

Generally sized between 50 and 60 gallons, a rain barrel is a container connected to a downspout on your home, office or garage. Its purpose is to capture some of the precipitation that lands on the roof and store it for future use. A barrel is often a container recycled from a previous life in the food industry, or it can be a brand new container made for this purpose. If you use a recycled container make sure that it is food grade. Do not use a barrel that previously held chemicals or other possible toxins.

What are the benefits of using a Rain Barrel?

Using harvested rainwater can reduce the amount of treated water pulled from the community’s water supply. Consider all the ways you use water outside: washing your bike or car, watering potted plants, irrigating a landscaped bed, or any number of other activities. The water you use for these does not need to be potable, or, treated to the standard of drinking water. Captured rainwater will do the job just as well. In addition, rainwater captured in a barrel can still be used outdoors even when we’re under drought restrictions.

Runoff Reduction

Stormwater runoff is rain or snowmelt that flows over the ground and into the City's stormwater system or directly into creeks and streams. As this runoff flows, it can pick up oils and greases, heavy metals, pesticides, fertilizers, trash and debris, sediment, animal wastes, and other pollutants. Since our storm drains do not connect to water treatment facilities, but rather drain untreated into local waterways, these pollutants

are carried along with stormwater runoff into the Rivanna River. As a result, contaminated stormwater runoff is a major source of pollution to our local waterways. By capturing some of that precipitation and redirecting it to a slow dispersion over our yards, where soil and plants can filter toxins, we reduce pollutants and slow the surge of water that can cause flooding during an intense storm.

How should I set up my rain barrel?

The two most important considerations in setting up your rain barrel are a stable base and proper overflow control. Water is very heavy, over 8lbs per gallon. A full 55-gallon barrel can weigh over 450 lbs! It’s important that you level the ground under your barrel and create a secure base using a material such as concrete blocks.

Your barrel should come with an overflow outlet installed near the top. This is where excess water will escape should your barrel start to overflow. The simplest method to deal with overflow is to attach a long hose or tubing to the overflow outlet and direct it well away from the foundation of your home. Another option is to use a short piece of tube and connect multiple barrels together, as shown below. This is called “chaining” and increases the amount of your rainwater storage while decreasing the chance of overflows.

Once you have a secure base, determine how high up you will need to cut the downspout (most downspouts can easily be cut with a hacksaw). Once cut, you can leave as is, or add a flexible gutter piece to direct flow to the barrel opening.

Some other considerations:

o You’ll want your barrel at least high enough that you can easily fit a watering can or bucket under the spigot.

o Consider connecting a soaker hose to your spigot. Run it to a mulched plant bed and leave in the “on” position during the rainiest weeks.

o Spruce up your barrel with a pretty paint job, or camouflage behind shrubs.

o Remember to empty and disconnect your rain barrel in winter, to prevent damage from freezing

o There are diverter valves on the market that can be used to direct barrel overflow back into your downspout system. Configurations vary.

o If mosquitoes are an issue, use a product like Mosquito Dunk for added control. You may also try adding a little vegetable oil to the barrel. It will create a coating at the water surface that disrupts the mosquito life-cycle.

o Rooftops made of asbestos, asphalt or composite shingles, galvanized metal and sheet metal may leach toxins into your rainwater runoff. It is not recommended that you use such runoff for irrigating food crops.

o Do not use collected water for drinking, cooking or bathing.

o Keep the barrel lid secure so children or animals cannot fall in.

o Learn many ways to make your yard Water-Wise by visiting our landscaping page.

To qualify for the Rebate you must:

· Be a home / rental property owner

· Have a City water account in good standing

· Purchase the rain barrel after 4/20/2009

· Provide us with a receipt for the rain barrel

· Certify installation on a property inside City limits

· Rebates are funded as monies are available; once depleted no more rebates are available. 

Do I have to buy my rain barrel from a certain vendor?

No, a barrel purchased from any vendor is eligible, so long as a valid receipt is presented. We encourage you to look first to local vendors who have a variety of styles in a range of prices.You can find a rain barrel at most gardening stores. You may also contact our local soil and water conservation district at (434) 975-0224 (www.tjswcd.com); they sell rain barrels at a reasonable price and will also show you how to install them. 

How many times can I apply for the rebate?

Up to two (2) $30 rebates may be issued for each service address.

What if my barrel costs less than $30?

$30 is the maximum rebate; a qualified barrel bought for less will be rebated for the purchase amount.

Can I get the rebate if I build my own barrel?

No, homemade barrels do not qualify.

How do I get help installing my rain barrel?

Barrel instructions and information can be found at the water conservation home page.  You may also contact our local soil and water conservation (Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District) district at (434) 975-0224.

What is non-potable water?

Non-potable water is not suitable for drinking. It should not be used for food preparation, cleaning dishes, bathing, or other instances where it may be ingested.

Please return rebate forms to:
Water Efficiency Program Coordinator
305 4th Street, NW
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Fax: (434) 970-3659
Email: waterconservation@charlottesville.org

 Do you live in the County? The Albemarle County Service Authority offers a comparable rain barrel rebate too.
ACSA Rain Barrel Rebate Application:  http://www.serviceauthority.org/conserve.html


Contact the Water Efficiency Program Coordinator
Call (434) 970-3877 or email: waterconservation@charlottesville.org