We are very fortunate here in central Texas to have local municipalities actively support rainwater collection through public education and rebates. The City of Austin has one of the longest running rainwater collection rebate programs in the US.

Did you know that rainwater harvesting system equipment is sales tax exempt in Texas?

Section 151.355 of the Texas tax Code exempts rainwater harvesting equipment and supplies from state sales tax. To claim this exemption, the purchaser must furnish a Tax Exemption Application Form 01-339 to the supplier at the time of purchase.

Learn more about Water Related Equipment (including rainwater harvesting systems) in Texas.

If you use our installation services, the sales tax exemption will be automatically be assumed in the estimate pricing.

City of Austin Rainwater Collection System Rebate

The City of Austin Water Utility offers a capacity-based rainwater harvesting system rebate program. The program applies to rain barrels as well as larger capacity rainwater collection systems. The rebate program is structured as follows:

  • $0.50 per gallon for non-pressurized systems (no pumps), not to exceed 50% of system cost
  • $1.00 per gallon for pressurized systems (with pump), not to exceed 50% of system cost
  • Total maximum lifetime rebate amount of $5,000 per site
  • All sizes of rain barrels and rainwater collection cisterns/tanks are eligible

Rebate covers materials and labor for dedicated system components including tank, pad, screens, filters, first-flush, and selected piping installation only, but does not include gutters, irrigation system components, or backflow preventers.

The main eligibility requirements include:

  • Applicant must be a customer of Austin Water or an eligible water district (see below).
  • Systems of more than 500 gallons will require approval prior to system installation.
  • Tanks of more than 500 gallons will require the installation of a first-flush diversion system and a sturdy, level base constructed of gravel, sand, or concrete. Wooden, above ground platforms are not permitted for large cisterns.
  • Pressurized systems require the installation of an RPZ backflow preventer at City of Austin water meters. Systems with a pump and/or tanks more than 10 ft high are considered pressurized. The installation of an RPZ backflow preventer requires a plumbing permit. Depending on your system, other permits may be required. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the system construction does not violate subdivision or zoning regulations (including setback restrictions, impervious cover limitations, etc.) and homeowners association enforced restrictions.
  • Applicant must maintain the install backflow prevention device as per City of Austin regulations.
  • Collection of rainwater cannot be used for potable use.
  • Plus many others…

Customers in the following eligible water districts also qualify for the rebate:

  • Aqua Texas- Morningside
  • Aqua Texas- Night Hawk WSC
  • Aqua Texas- Rivercrest Water Systems
  • City of Rollingwood
  • City of Sunset Valley
  • City of Westlake Hills
  • Creedmoor-Maha WSC
  • High Valley WSC
  • Marsha WSC
  • Mid-Tex Utilities
  • North Austin MUD #1
  • Northtown MUD
  • Shady Hollow MUD
  • Travis County WCID #10
  • Village of San Leanna
  • Wells Branch MUD
  • Windermere Utility

Give us a call or schedule a consultation and we can help you make sense of all the requirements. As part of our installation service, we will provide all of the documentation necessary to complete the rainwater harvesting system rebate application.

Download the City of Austin rainwater harvesting system rebate form

LCRA Rainwater Collection System Rebate

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) offers rainwater harvesting equipment rebates up to $600 per residential property.  The program provides $0.25 per gallon of storage capacity for a non-potable system, 100 gallons or greater, up to $600 or until sizing capacity is met, whichever is less.

The main eligibility requirements include:

  • Applicant must be a LCRA domestic water use customer or an eligible water customer of LCRA (see below).
  • System must be for non-potable use.
  • System must be 100 gallons are greater.
  • You will need to submit receipts and photos of the upgraded equipment with the application.

Eligible water customers of LCRA include:

  • Aqua Texas (Barton Creek Lakeside Utilities)
  • Aqua Texas (Rivercrest Water System)
  • Buena Vista Water System
  • City of Burnet
  • City of Cedar Park
  • City of Cottonwood Shores
  • City of Granite Shoals
  • City of Horseshoe Bay
  • City of Lago Vista
  • City of Leander
  • City of Marble Falls
  • City of Pflugerville
  • Corix Utilities
  • Dripping Springs Water Supply Corporation
  • Hays County WCID #1
  • Hays County WCID #2
  • Reunion Ranch WCID
  • Hidden Valley Subdivision Cooperative
  • Hurst Creek MUD
  • Inverness Point Water System
  • Jonestown Water Supply Corporation
  • Kingsland Water Supply Corporation
  • Lakeway MUD #1
  • Lazy Nine MUD 1-A
  • Sail Haven Water System
  • Llano County MUD #1
  • Loop 360 Water Supply Corporation
  • Pecan Utilities Company
  • Peninsula Bluffs
  • PK-RE Development Company
  • Senna Hills MUD
  • Travis County MUD #10
  • Travis County MUD #12
  • Travis County MUD #4
  • Travis County WCID #17
  • Travis County WCID #18
  • Travis County WCID #20
  • Travis County WCID Point Venture
  • Village of Briarcliff
  • West Travis County PUA
  • Windermere Oaks Water Supply Corporation

Give us a call or schedule a consultation and we can help you make sense of all the requirements. As part of our installation service, we will provide all of the documentation necessary to complete the rainwater harvesting system rebate application.

You can apply for the LCRA WaterSmart rebate online or you can download the LCRA WaterSmart rebate form.

The LCRA also provides rebates for many other water conservation equipment including the following:

  • Pressure-reducing heads and nozzles: 50 percent of the cost of devices up to $5 per head or nozzle.
  • Pressure-reducing valves and in-line regulators: 50 percent of the cost of devices up to $100.
  • Soil moisture sensors: 50 percent of the cost of devices up to $250.
  • Rain sensors: 50 percent of the cost of device up to $20.
  • Pre-approved WaterSense smart controllers: 50 percent of the cost of devices up to $100.
  • Pool filters: Up to $250 per high-efficiency cartridge filter.
  • Pool covers: 50 percent of the purchase price up to $50 per manual or solar ring, and up to $200 for permanent mechanical cover.
  • Aeration: Up to $50 for equipment rental or contractor costs.
  • Compost and mulch: 50 percent of cost up to $150 per household. No activated sewer sludge.

City of Sunset Valley Rainwater Collection System Rebate

The City of Sunset Valley is offering up to $3,500 in rainwater collection system rebates to their water customers who install larger rainwater harvesting systems. The rebate covers the cost of gutters, leaf screens, first-flush diverters, cisterns, conveyance piping, and water treatment systems.
Eligibility requirements include:

  • The system must have at least 900 gallons in storage volume
  • Approved building permit for the system
  • Rebate approval through a pre-inspection with a Public Works representative before commencing work on the system
  • The system must last for a minimum of 20 years
  • The rainwater cistern(s) must be either UV resistant or enclosed/painted

Rebates will be issued after the system is installed and inspected by a Public Works representative and a final cost report submitted.

As part of our installation service, we will provide all of the documentation necessary to complete the rainwater harvesting system rebate application.

Download the Sunset Valley rainwater collection system rebate form

City of Round Rock Rainwater Harvesting Rebate

The City of Round Rock Water Conservation Department is offering a rainwater rebate of $0.50 per gallon, up to $400 in rainwater collection system rebates to their water customers.Round Rock has specific guidelines for the rebate so you should definitely understand all of the requirements before purchasing any rainwater harvesting system.

Some requirements include:

  • Applicant must be a direct water customer from the City of Round Rock in good standing
  • Only purchased tanks and/or barrels are eligible for the rebate. Home-made barrels, barrels previously used, and/or barrels purchased directly from the City of Round Rock ARE NOT eligible for the rebate.
  • A purchase receipt must be submitted with the application form within 60-days of purchase to qualify.
  • The receipt must include the purchase date, vendor name and address, purchase price, and description of the barrel/tank.
  • Rebate is $0.50 per gallon of storage capacity, not to exceed the tank purchase price.
  • The maximum rebate amount per water account is $400.
  • Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis while funding is available.

Download the Round Rock Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Application

City of San Marcos Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Program

The City of San Marcos is offering a capacity-based rainwater harvesting system rebate program just like the City of Austin. The rebate program is structured as follows:

  • $0.50 per gallon of storage capacity for non-pressurized systems (no pumps)
  • $1.00 per gallon of storage capacity for pressurized systems (with pump)
  • Total maximum lifetime rebate amount of $5,000 per site
  • All sizes of rain barrels and rainwater collection cisterns/tanks are eligible

Rebate cannot exceed 50% of total system cost. The maximum lifetime rebate amount is determined by your water meter size:

  • For 5/8 x3/4″ meters (residential) the maximum rebate is $5,000
  • For 1″ water meters the max rebate is $10,000
  • For 1.5″ water meters the max rebate is $15,000
  • For 2″ meters and larger the max rebate is $20,000

The rebate covers rainwater system components including: rainwater barrels or tanks, screened gutters, leaf screens, first-flush diverters, primary filtration systems, tank pad/foundation, pumps, and backflow devices installed at the City water meter. The rebate is not applicable to miscellaneous pipes and fittings, advanced treatment systems (for potable water), irrigation system components, maintenance agreements or warranties.

Read more about the San Marcos Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Guidelines
Download the San Marcos Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Program Application

Hays County Rainwater Harvesting Incentive Program

The Hays County Development Services department is offering an rainwater harvesting incentive program which provides the following:

  • $100 fee reimbursement for new development permitted through Hays County Development Services
  • Property Tax Reduction: Taxable value is reduced by the rainwater collection system construction costs. (Available from Hays County or other participating taxing entities.)

They want homeowners and business owners to make a smart choice to install rainwater harvesting systems to reduce the demand for treated water for potable and irrigation uses.

The qualification criteria is pretty straight-forward.

  • Hays County application approval
  • Minimum storage capacity: 2,500 gallons
  • Annual application & approval for tax exemption (required by law) submitted to the Central Appraisal District
  • Sunlight restrictive design (helps prevent algae growth)
  • Insect proof

Download the Hays County Rainwater Harvesting Incentive Program application

New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) Rain Barrel and Cistern Rebate

New Braunfels Utilites (NBU) is offering a rebate of $0.50 per gallon, up to $500 in rainwater collection system rebates to their water customers. The rebate will be credited to their utility account.

NBU has specific guidelines for the rebate so you should definitely understand all of the requirements before purchasing any rain barrel or cistern.

Some requirements include:

  • Rain barrels and cisterns should be elevated at least 6 inches off the ground
  • If a cistern is installed, it must have a first flush system designed to divert and discard the first 10 gallons for every 1000 square foot of rain catchment area
  • Cisterns need to be opaque or painted to prevent light from entering
  • Rain Barrel openings should be covered with screening small enough to prevent mosquitoes
  • Overflow systems must be designed to prevent erosion or localized flooding

Download the NBU Rain Barrel and Cistern Rebate Application

The City of Horseshoe Bay Rainfall Harvesting Rebate

The City of Horseshoe Bay is offering a rebate of $250 as a one-time offer covering the purchase factory-made components for rain collection and storage systems. The Rainfall Harvesting Rebate promotes water conservation by encouraging residents and businesses with City water to collect rainwater for non-potable use.

The City of Horseshoe Bay has specific guidelines for the rebate application. The requirements include:

  • The program is open to any Horseshoe Bay water customer, including those outside the city limits.
  • Read and understand the City’s Rainfall Harvesting Ordinance, which is section 13.11 of the City’s Utilities Ordinance.
  • You must receive approval from your property owner association’s Architectural Control Committee. The ACC is separate from the City, but has the legal right to dictate aspects of the community’s appearance.
  • If the system is more than 400 gallons, download and fill out the rainwater harvesting system permit form and return it to the City Utilities representatives at City Hall. The permit is free, and the system must be examined by the City Water Conservation Inspector after installation to assure compliance with the rules and to get the rebate.
  • If the system is less than 400 gallons, purchase the system and install it, and then download a rainwater harvesting system registration form, complete the form and bring it to the utilities office. The registration for the smaller system is also free. As with the larger systems, the City must inspect the system before allowing a rebate.
  • The City rebates only factory-made components and does not include installation labor.

The City of Horseshoe Bay also has specific requirements for the actual system installation:

  • Rain barrels or tanks may not be placed in front of a home or business.
  • The City allows no more than two barrels or tanks on a property.
  • There is no limit on size or capacity of rainfall catchment systems.
  • Rainwater from the system may not be used for drinking water in Horseshoe Bay.
  • Rain catchment systems may be tied to irrigation systems if the irrigation system is isolated from the public water supply and household plumbing by a reduced pressure zone backflow prevention assembly.

Download the City of Horseshoe Bay Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Application

Kerr County Rainwater Harvesting Rebate

The Upper Guadalupe River Authority (UGRA) has a rebate program to promote water conservation and watershed stewardship through rainwater harvesting. The Rainwater Catchment System Rebate Program will reimburse eligible applicants up to $100 when they provide proof of purchase of rainwater catchment system equipment. Each address is eligible once per calendar year.

The UGRA has specific guidelines for the rebate application. The requirements include:

  • The program is open to any individual or business with a verified address within Kerr County.
  • Proof of purchase for rainwater catchment system equipment must be dated within the last 12 months.
  • The rainfall catchment system equipment for which a rebate is requested
    shall be utilized within Kerr County, Texas, and not elsewhere; and
  • The equipment for which the applicant requests a rebate will be used as
    part of a rainwater catchment system.

Payment by UGRA is subject to the availability of funds. For more information, contact UGRA at (830) 896-5445.

Download the UGRA Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Application

Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Programs for Other Cities in Texas

Impervious Cover Credits

LCRA Highland Lakes Rainwater Harvesting System Credit

In response to the impact of stormwater pollution, LCRA implemented the Highland Lakes Watershed Ordinance (HLWO) to protect water quality throughout the Highland Lakes region.  The Ordinance applies to development in the Lake Travis watershed in Travis County, the Colorado River watershed in Burnet County, and a portion of Llano County identified on the official Ordinance Watershed Map.

If you are building within this regulated area, then you can receive stormwater credits by installing a rainwater harvesting system. This will allow you to develop more impervious cover area than you are limited to without a rainwater collection system. The amount of additional impervious cover allowed is based upon a calculation within the HLWO document. You can read the section about the rainwater harvesting credit to determine the amount of rainwater storage you will need to install for the additional impervious cover you want to develop on your lot.

We are here to help with this part of your system planning so give us a call at 512-490-0932 if you want us to walk you through this process.

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