Irrigation Upgrades & Soil Improvements

Irrigation Upgrades & Soil Improvements

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Status: The Irrigation Upgrades & Soil Improvements Rebate is now open and accepting applications for 2024

Maximum Value

This incentive program was created to help residents conserve water outdoors by enhancing the water efficiency of automated irrigation systems and/or by improving the water-holding capacity of soil through soil amendments. Up to $675 per residential property is available to help offset the cost of landscape upgrades to improve water efficiency. In the event where the applied bonus rebate ($100) increases the possible rebate amount beyond the total cost of the project, the rebate amount will be capped at the total eligible expenses paid by the applicant.

Maximum rebate chart
Add a: Smart Controller $100
Rain Sensor or $75
Weather or Soil Moisture Sensor $125
Convert to: Drip Irrigation $200
Matched Precipitation (MP) Rotators $50
Add: Quality Top Soil, Compost, or Other Organic Mulch 50% off (up to $100)
BONUS! Complete Both Irrigation System Upgrades & Soil Amendment $100
Maximum Total Rebate: $675
Application Forms

Who Can Apply

This rebate program is available to all residential landowners with an existing automated irrigation system and/or existing garden/lawn in the RDN, including electoral areas (A, B, C, E, F, G, H) and member municipalities (Nanaimo, Lantzville, Parksville, Qualicum Beach).


  • Each residential landowner is eligible for one (1) rebate over the lifetime of the program. Only property owners are eligible to receive the rebate.
  • The rebate is available on a first come, first served basis. Once funds are exhausted, the program will be finished for this year.
  • Irrigation Upgrades must be completed by an irrigation professional certified by the Irrigation Industry Association of BC (IIABC). To locate IIABC certified professionals in the RDN visit, click on "Find a Certified Professional Here" and search by Classification ("Technician") and Area ("Vancouver Island/Coast").
  • Soil Improvements must be completed on garden/lawn areas of at least 37 m2 (400 ft2). Added top soil/mulch/compost must be at a minimum 50 mm (2 inch) in depth for garden beds and 6 mm (1/4 inch) in depth for lawn topdressing.
  • All work must be completed and all documentation submitted between January 1 and December 15, 2024.

How To Apply

Before you apply, plan your WaterSmart lawn and garden upgrade(s). Check out the RDN Landscape Guide to Water Efficiency for helpful tips.

All documentation, forms, photos, and invoices, can be sent electronically to watersmart [at] (watersmart[at]rdn[dot]bc[dot]ca) or by mail/in person to Drinking Water & Watershed Protection, 6300 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo, B.C., V9T 6N2.

Step 1: Submit Pre-approval Application

  1. Complete the Pre-approval Application form, including a description of the upgrade(s) that are to be completed.
  2. Submit with the pre-approval form "before" photo(s). Include an indication of scale (i.e. a person, landscape tie, meter stick, ruler, etc.) with the landscape area requiring upgrade(s), clearly demonstrating deficiencies described on the Pre-approval Application form as well as a point of reference that uniquely identifies the area requiring upgrade(s) so that "before" and "after" photos can be easily compared.

Team WaterSmart offers free workshops, visit for available topics, workshop dates, and locations. Registration is recommended; attendance is free.

Step 2: Completion of Qualifying Work

Pre-approved applicants will have the maximum value of each pre-approved category set aside for them (up to $675). Upon receiving written approval from the RDN, the applicant will have 90 days to complete the upgrade(s) and submit their Claim Form and supporting documentation to receive the rebate. Pre-approval expires 90 days after the confirmation letter is issued. Contact the RDN (watersmart [at] (watersmart[at]rdn[dot]bc[dot]ca) or 250-390-6560) to request an extension.

ALL IRRIGATION UPGRADES MUST BE COMPLETED BY AN IIABC CERTIFIED IRRIGATION PROFESSIONAL. Visit, click on "Find a Certified Professional Here" and search by Classification ("Technician") and Area ("Vancouver Island/Coast").

Soil Amendments can be completed by the homeowner or by an IIABC certified professional, see below reference table for amounts of soil required for given areas and depths.

Soil Amendment Reference Table - Purchasing Guide to Soil, Mulch, or Compost Amount Required by Application Area & Depth

Recommended depth of soil amendment
  Recommended Depth of Soil Amendment*
  50 mm (2 inch)
For Garden Beds
6.5 mm (1/4 inch)
For Lawn Topdressing
Application Area
(size of garden or lawn)
Amount of Soil/Mulch/Compost Required
37 m2
(400 ft2)
67 x 28 Litre bags
2.4 cubic yards
10 x 28 Litre bags
0.32 cubic yards
46 m2
(500 ft2)
84 x 28 Litre bags
3 cubic yards
12 x 28 Litre bags
0.4 cubic yards
70 m2
(750 ft2)
126 x 28 Litre bags
4.5 cubic yards
18 x 28 Litre bags
0.6 cubic yards
92 m2
(1000 ft2)
168 x 28 Litre bags
6 cubic yards
24 x 28 Litre bags
0.8 cubic yards

*Recommended depth refers to the minimum amount of organic material added to qualify for this rebate.

Step 3: Submit Your Claim Form

The final document submission must occur within 90 days of the applicant's pre-approval and include:
  1. Receipt(s) and/or invoice(s) marked PAID, including DATE and ITEMIZED purchase details.
  2. Photo(s) of the improved garden/lawn and/or efficiency increases of automated irrigation system, clearly showing upgrades. Include reference points (i.e. measuring stick) and ensure "after" photos clearly show it is the same property shown in previously submitted "before" photos.
  3. Complete the Claim Form. If completing efficiency improvements to your irrigation system include the Irrigation Upgrades Eligible Components Checklist on the Claim Form.
Allow up to 6 weeks for processing and payment.


If you have any additional questions, please call 250-390-6560 or email watersmart [at] (watersmart[at]rdn[dot]bc[dot]ca).

DWWP Water Stewardship Rebates Map

DWWP Water Stewardship Rebate Map

New! Learn more about RDN Water Stewardship Rebates supported by the Drinking Water & Watershed Protection program with this interactive web map.

The vision of the RDN's Drinking Water & Watershed Protection program is for healthy, safe, and resilient water resources in the region. Learn more at