Commercial Smart Irrigation Controller Rebate

Small businesses and organizations have a lot to keep up with. Make irrigation a little less complicated by updating your system with a smart irrigation controller!

How It Works

STEP 1: Complete an Annual Irrigation Checkup and Backflow Testing

Required properties not in compliance will not be approved for a rebate until compliance requirements are met. See our frequently asked questions for more information.

STEP 2: Do Your Research on Controllers and Plug-ins

Review the program requirements, frequently asked questions, and list of approved devices to understand what is needed to participate in this program. A compatible plug-in can be used with some pre-existing controllers to make them “smart,” or you can purchase a new smart controller.

STEP 3: Purchase, Install and Take Photos

Once your licensed irrigator has installed the controller or plug-in, take pictures of your new smart controller on the wall, your uninstalled and disconnected previous controller, an invoice for the installation of your new device, and a temporary read-only access code for your system. These will be submitted as part of your rebate application.

Hummingbird in flight

STEP 4: Apply for Rebate

Submit your application with photo documentation within 12 months of purchase. Rebates are 50% of the pre-tax device cost with a maximum rebate of $100. If approved, you will receive a confirmation email that your application has been accepted and a rebate check will be mailed within eight weeks. Checks will be made out to the billing address and name on the SAWS account. SAWS reserves the right to conduct an in-person site verification.

STEP 5: IRS Requirements

If your organization has received $600 or more in rebates from SAWS, you will be required to complete an IRS W-9 Form. SAWS will provide you with a form. You will receive a 1099 Form from SAWS for your taxes. Rebate checks will not be issued until your completed W-9 form is received by SAWS.

Before You Buy

While there are many smart controllers on the market, each one has its own features and approach to smart watering. Research carefully to find the device that best fits your needs and budget.

  • Go to each product website and determine the product cost.
  • Watch the installation videos provided by the vendor.
  • Products vary in how their smart watering algorithms work.

Are you Eligible?

You must have a SAWS commercial water account in good standing, and you must be in compliance with the Annual Irrigation Checkup and Backflow Testing, if applicable (see below). Have you ever received a notice you are ineligible for SAWS conservation programs? If you are not sure, contact us at 210-704-SAWS (7283).

Review Rebate Agreement

Be sure to read our frequently asked questions and review the rebate agreement.

Have Questions?

Join us each week on Thursday from 3-4 p.m. for our commercial rebate office hours. Conservation staff will be on hand to explain the rebate process, offer project advice and answer any questions.

Approved Smart Irrigation Controllers

SAWS rebates are available only for the smart irrigation controllers and plug-ins listed below.

Plug-In Module for Existing Controllers

RAINBIRD LNK WiFi Module, LNK2 WiFi Module

  • Components: Plug-in only, must be used with an existing compatible Rain Bird controller.
  • App Compatibility: iOS 8.0 and Android 6 (Marshmallow) or later mobile devices; subject to change. Mobile app is required to connect the controller to Wi-Fi and control from anywhere.
  • Wi-Fi Compatibility:4 GHz (only) Wi-Fi router compatible with WEP and WPA security settings.
  • Upgrades Wi-Fi ready controllers (ESP-Me, ESP-ME3, and ESP-TM2) to make them fully accessible and programmable from iOS or Android compatible devices.
  • Simple Plug & Play design for quick and easy installation.
  • NOTE: This plug-in’s weather-based automatic adjustments may run your irrigation system outside of watering restrictions. We recommend a fixed schedule during watering restrictions to avoid a citation.

New Smart Controllers with Wi-Fi

Calsense CS3000

  • Components: Controller comes with choice of WiFi, Ethernet or Industrial grade 4G LTE wireless.
  • App Compatibility:  Command Center Mobile is for any internet connected device to have mobile access.
  • Wi-Fi Compatibility: Wi-Fi communication device, using pre-shared keys
  • Specs: 1-48 stations, conventionally wired; or support for up to 128 stations when using both conventional and 2-wire or only 2-wire.  Unlimited station groups, EPA water sense certified,  indoor or outdoor installation, Evapotranspiration(Weather) based watering capable, seasonal adjust can be applied to any and all station groups, flow monitoring of individual or multiple flow meters, weather sensor capable. Detailed water usage reports and budgeting available anytime.  Real time flow data from mobile device while operating up to 6 stations at a time.
  • Calsense provides a holistic approach to smart irrigation with controllers, accessories and support to maximize savings and maintain beautiful landscapes

HUNTER HC, Pro-HC, HPC, HCC Controllers or X2 Controller purchased with WAND Module

  • Components: Most controllers have built-in Wi-Fi capability. The X2 controller must be purchased with a WAND Module.
  • App Compatibility: iOS 10.0 and Android 11 or later; subject to change. Mobile app is required to connect the controller to Wi-Fi and control from anywhere.
  • Specs: 4-32 zones

RAINBIRD ESP-ME3, ESP-Me or ESP-TM2 Controller purchased with LNK Wi-Fi Module

  • Components: Must purchase both approved controller and LNK Wi-Fi plug-in.
  • App Compatibility: iOS 8.0 and Android 6 (Marshmallow) or later mobile devices. Mobile app is required to connect the controller to Wi-Fi and control from anywhere.
  • Wi-Fi Compatibility:4 GHz (only) Wi-Fi router compatible with WEP and WPA security settings.
  • Specs: 4-22 zones; allows up to 4 individual programs. Indoor or outdoor installation. Internet-based weather information can be used to make daily adjustments to the irrigation schedule. Seasonal Adjust can be applied to all programs or an individual program.
  • Control your Rain Bird irrigation system with your smartphone, view all of your scheduled watering, and receive real-time irrigation notifications.
  • NOTE: This plug-in’s weather-based automatic adjustments may run your irrigation system outside of watering restrictions. We recommend a fixed schedule during watering restrictions to avoid a citation.

Interested in a controller not on this list? See our frequently asked questions for controller criteria to see if yours will meet our requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

A smart irrigation controller is a device that operates an automatic in-ground irrigation system from a smartphone-based app. Typically, these services offer automatic weather-based settings that will decrease or skip irrigation when it has rained recently, or it is anticipated that it will rain. Smart controllers offer increased convenience compared to standard controllers, making it easier for property owners to monitor their irrigation water use.

Plug-ins are specialized components that can be plugged in to compatible controllers to make them Wi-Fi enabled. These would be purchased if you had an existing controller that could accept a plug-in, e.g., if you already had a Rain Bird ME3 controller, you could purchase the LNK Wi-Fi plug-in, which would then allow you to control your irrigation from your phone.

If you do not have a controller that is smart-enabled or compatible with a plug-in, you will need to purchase a smart controller. With some brands, you will need to purchase both the controller AND the plug-in (though you can only receive one rebate).

Check your irrigation controller manual or the manufacturer’s website to see if your model has plug-in capabilities. Your irrigator can also assist you.

Devices can be added to our eligible products list for a rebate if they meet the following criteria:

  1. The controller should have the ability to reduce water consumption based on weather data. For example, if the weather becomes cooler or wetter, the controller should have a setting selection customers can choose that would automatically reduce or eliminate runtimes.
  2. The controller should use current local weather data to help prevent irrigation during and immediately after significant rain events.
  3. The controller must accept connections from commonly used rain sensor devices and use this data to prevent irrigation cycles and implement rain delay requests from the sensor.
  4. Customers must be able to choose to accept email and/or text and app messages alerting them to any changes in the runtimes. Any time the runtime is increased due to weather data, customers must get a notification if they have authorized this in the settings.
  5. Many customers normally water less than the smart controller might recommend. Customers should be able to program the controller to override any pre-programmed settings to prevent increases in water consumption. This may include the ability to:
    • Set a fixed schedule that only allows for rain sensor interruptions.
    • Program a maximum runtime or water use amount that the controller will not exceed.
    • SAWS Conservation staff will review any other proposals.
  6. Wall-mounted controller must be accessible and allow for system operation and configuration on the controller.

SAWS makes no guarantees regarding the continued functioning of the device or company.

Per City of San Antonio Ordinance, residential and commercial properties five (5) acres or larger and properties that used over 1 million gallons of water for irrigation in the prior calendar year with in-ground irrigation systems submit an annual irrigation checkup to the SAWS Conservation department by May 1 each year. Annual testing of backflow prevention assemblies is required by Chapter 24 of the City of San Antonio’s Plumbing and Fuel Gas Code, Chapter 34 of the City of San Antonio Code of Ordinances, and the SAWS Cross-Connection and Backflow Prevention Control Program.

After you submit your application, we will begin processing your rebate. You will receive an email when your application has been approved. You can expect your rebate to appear as a check in the mail, usually 6-8 weeks after approval. Limit one rebate per account.

The SAWS-approved device must have been purchased from the vendor or retail store within the last 12 months of the application submission date. Program funds are limited, and applications will be processed on a first come first served basis. Applications will be accepted year-round.

Yes, you will need to submit an invoice/receipt with the item(s) purchased on it along with a temporary, read-only access code and photos of your new controller on the wall and your old controller.

You will need to contact the device vendor in order to troubleshoot any technical or installation difficulties. SAWS does not offer installation assistance for smart irrigation controllers.

SAWS does not conduct installations of app-based irrigation controllers.

As part of the rebate agreement, you will be required to maintain internet connectivity (via Wi-Fi, cell service or other medium) and a contract with a licensed irrigator for at least 3 years.

SAWS cannot recommend any irrigation companies. The San Antonio Irrigation Association maintains a list of licensed irrigators on their website, or you may check with the vendor as they may offer recommendations for local irrigators. SAWS does not endorse any irrigation companies, so make sure to research any companies and ask for proof of their irrigation license before hiring them.

If you have attempted to contact the device vendor multiple times and have had no response, please let us know at 210-704-SAVE (7283).

Yes, you must have an existing in-ground automatic irrigation system to apply for this rebate.

You must have a smartphone (Apple or Android) and strong Wi-Fi signal. You will need to install a smartphone app to control and access your irrigation system.

You can purchase a new smart controller from any retailer. Purchases must have been made within 12 months prior to submitting your application.

Our Smart Irrigation Controller Rebate is limited to one rebate per account. If you have more than one controller, our Smart Irrigation System Rebate may be right for you.

Weather-based controllers often help save water during spring and fall, but you may need to adjust the settings to a fixed schedule during summer months, or when rain is less frequent, to avoid over-watering.

Many smart irrigation controllers offer weather-based controls that will change your irrigation settings depending on how much rain we have or may receive. Pre-programmed recommendations are typically based on averages for the entire country, and consequently may not be suited to our region. We always recommend referring to Garden Style San Antonio for our current local watering advice and consider using a fixed schedule to limit watering to once a week during the summer months in the absence of rain.

No, SAWS does not endorse any companies or products or services these companies offer. Rebates are offered on specific products with features that we believe will be helpful to customers seeking to save water. We strongly advise that you conduct your own research before purchasing other gardening services or products.

Yes, give us a call at 210-704-SAVE (7283).


The Fine Print

  1. You must be a SAWS commercial water customer.
  2. The rebate your business receives is nontransferable. Limit one rebate per account.
  3. The device must be an eligible product approved by SAWS. The device must have been purchased from the vendor or retail store within the last 12 months of the application submission date. The device will not be shipped from SAWS.
  4. See rebate agreement and FAQ for additional program requirements. Program funds are limited, and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
  5. Properties are required to submit an annual irrigation checkup and an annual testing of backflow prevention assemblies. Learn more in our FAQ.