Why My Municipality Won't Offer Incentive on Iro

Had good discussion with officials of my municipality (quarter-million population suburb of Dallas) a few days ago.

Specifically asked why no incentives offered for Rachio product (rebate $ and/or exemption from watering restrictions).


  1. No means for user to be locked out from changing parameters. (An inspection one day can show automated, least water settings, and then can be changed the next day).

  2. User interface is complex, not understandable by many.

Best regards,


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Ecobee has this, they have a feature that if you are buying a subsidized version, they can take over settings and over ride.

Hey @a0128958-

Thanks so much for sharing these details, very interesting. While I understand the need to regulate these from a municipality perspective, I also hate the idea of locking a homeowner out of controlling their landscape. Do you think your municipality would feel comfortable if they could at least monitor these settings to ensure they stay reasonable? Also, any specifics on the UI and how it is confusing?

@ghctim With ecobee, can the homeowner still view their settings? Do they have any editing power, or no?

McKynzee :rachio:

This doesn’t make much sense. Most municipalities have electronic meter reporting devices installed. As such, they know how much water each home is using. If a home doesn’t meet the water savings criterion for a given petiod, they could send a notice thereby rejecting the rebate for the period. I guess the judgement is that EPA studies mean nothing and watersense certification doesn’t matter.


@mckynzee i don’t know all the details but I do have product management relationships there and I would be happy to connect you with them.

They participate in demand conservation programs. Such that local utilities can cut ac control to a house during high energy spike times.

Maybe you can offer to cut watering if utilities demand it? or have other limitations? But generally this is what required to get rebates as like @garyjnj1 said, they need some way to see the data and know it’s happening

I can’t speak for others, but everywhere I’ve lived in MA our water meters (including electric ones read via radio frequency) are read monthly at best, sometimes quarterly. Short of a municipality interface directly to Rachio they would probably need more granularity to determine if you’re following any restricted water times or other limitations.

Let me guess…

You need to explain that Rachio has SWAT performance data and has the EPA WaterSense label. There is not one single product on the market where settings can be locked. Actually, i would not worry about these city people. Just enjoy your Rachio and the savings, too. I am not that keen on rebates. If a product is great it will sell anyway.

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Oklahoma is north Texas’ only hope for more water.

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Yes. This would be a reasonable conclusion.for my municipality.

Another separate judgement is needed to conclude whether or not other municipalities are the same way.

The art of figuring out what features to offer versus what price to charge is hard. Being good at it makes or breaks small companies like yours.

Your described ‘pro division’ should have enough market intelligence information by now to know the answer to your question. If not, many companies will hire professionals to do this kind of research.

You guys are a self described software company. I’d be sure to make second in priority: marketing company.

My municipality is just one of tens of thousands. I’d aim for the ‘sweet spot’ of what the mujnicipalities tell you collectively. you.

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Tell them to review the SWAT Performance report at www.irrigation.org/swat
Rachio has an excellent report.

EPA WaterSense will not be around much longer. It never was an officially funded program by the entire Congress. Basically any product can acheive EPA certification. As far as utilities, so many of the people heading up their water conservation programs know little about irrigation. They make assumptions without knowing the facts about Rachio.

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@a0128958 Thought your municipality conducted a pilot study with the Rachio controller last summer. Haven’t seen any updates on the findings. Seems like cities to your north and east run rebate programs for smart irrigation controllers.

What is the name of this city?

@robertokc - I believe Plano, TX.

I checked Plano’s website. They do not offer rebates for any smart controllers. Personally, i would take advantage of their rebate for pressure regulated spray heads. The water waste from high pressure is tremendous. I did a scenario where a system had 20 pop up sprays operating at a pressure of 75 psi. Assuming a 30 week irrigation season, a run time of 15 minutes and manufacturer specs at 30 psi, the water savings would be about 40,000 gallons. If rotors are operating at high pressure and these heads were pressure regulated, the savings increases to 85,000 gallons per year. The reason that many utilities are reluctant to give rebates on controllers is because they cause low water users to actually use more water. However, if super users could be targeted, then smart controller would be beneficial. Does this make sense?

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I asked mine Highland Village and they don’t give rebates. I think they are simply living in another decade. They should maybe themselves use a rachio. I saw often while it was raining their sprinklers were running. There goes our tax money…

Just FYI, last Wednesday, I received a check for $80 from the MWD (Metropolitan Water District of SoCal) because I installed my Rachio controller. It took a couple of months from the time I applied but that seems quite normal for such things.


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I have attended several conferences where utilities like Denver Water admitted rebates did not save water. Their recommendation would be to only target super users. I am opposed to rebates, too. Why should government subsidize irrigation parts?
Do you get rebates from the government when you buy a new coffee pot, tires, television, entertainment or landscape lighting? Rachio is totally affordable.

@robertokc that is a whole other discussion. Your comparison is not really valid.

Why did we get rebates from government on higher SEER AC and high efficiency furnace? Why do we get rebates from gas and electricity companies for such equipment and for ecobee or nest thermostat?
This is not only about saving water, gas or electricity. It is also about the environment. I think incentives are a good thing in those cases.

I am certain that with my rachio I save water. Especially comparing to people and cities watering while it is raining or it just rained. Because they run it simply all x days. They also overwater often.

It is not that a rachio is expensive either

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