BMP Information for Private Property Rebates and Incentives Programs In Southern California
Rebates and incentives programs have been implemented successfully within the water supply community for decades and are now a core component of many water supply portfolios. A growing body of research indicates that these least-cost supply strategies have not only shifted behavior to help secure water supplies; they have kept community costs down over time. In the water quality community, financial, social, and regulatory incentives may offer an innovative and more cost-effective path to achieving water quality objectives than traditional capital improvement programs, thus reducing the burden on taxpayers and minimizing challenges related to land acquisition. They also deliver added long-term benefit by enabling engagement with community partners, residents and businesses that builds trust and a sense of shared ownership of community water resource issues.
To begin investigating the opportunity to leverage rebates and incentives to achieve water quality benefits, the County of San Diego recently evaluated 18 best management practices (BMPs), ranging from trash enclosures to downspout disconnects. This evaluation focused on BMPs that address pollutants such as dry weather flow, bacteria, nutrients, and trash. The objective was to determine which BMPs are best suited to a rebates and incentives program in the unincorporated County. The County ‘s unique analysis approach applied water quality modeling and community-based social marketing principles, and integrated quantitative and qualitative analyses at multiple scales, to understand cost-effectiveness, total potential benefit, costs, and acceptability to property owners of each BMP. Results focus on which BMPs are most desired by property owners, cost-effective and programmatically feasible to implement. For example, downspout disconnects, septic system maintenance, and installing smart controllers emerged as the best-performing and most attractive BMPs, as between 20 and 30 percent of property owners expressed willingness to participate with a cost-share of 50 percent. The results are likely to help municipalities considering launching rebate programs in their own communities.
This evaluation enabled a clear understanding of the potential opportunity to make progress towards the County’s watershed-level objectives, and created confidence that program design decisions can persuade property owners to participate and lead to improvements in water quality that demonstrate progress towards desired outcomes such as healthy stream ecosystems and safe, trash-free waterways.
This session will present the BMPs considered, property owner acceptability of each BMP and the estimated water quality benefits possible from implementation of a rebates and incentives program for select BMPs in two watersheds. Considering lessons learned from this effort, this session will discuss how other permittees can select BMPs and estimate cost-effectiveness. Rebates and incentives programs present exciting opportunities to improve water quality, produce multiple benefits that increase regional resilience, explore partnerships that optimize the value of investments, and inspire community support.