save on your water bill in exchange for reducing polluted water in our rivers?

DO YOU WANT TO

1. Learn about this resource. 

Residents, businesses, and property owners can save money on their DC Water bill when they help reduce pollution from runoff with green projects, such as green roofs, permeable pavement, rain gardens, and rain barrels, on their property. We—DC Government—offer up to 55% off your DOEE Stormwater Fee and up to 20% off the Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge depending on how much stormwater runoff your green projects prevent.

 

This program is called RiverSmart Rewards and is offered by the Department of Energy & Environment.

2. Check if you are eligible.

You are eligible if all of these statements are true:

  • You or someone in your household is a current DC Water customer. Your DC Water bill includes the Stormwater Fee and Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge.

  • You are up-to-date on all your DC Water bill payments.

  • You have installed and continue to maintain one or more eligible types of green projects on a property in DC:

    • Green roof to support the growth of plants that hold rain,

    • Rain barrel or cistern to catch and store rain to use later to, for example, water your garden,

    • Permeable pavement system to capture and temporarily store rain in place of an asphalt, concrete, or brick surface,

    • Rain gardens or similar system to collect rain and filter out pollution,

    • Shade trees to help hold rain in the soil, or

    • Disconnected downspout to redirect drains to your lawn instead of pavement.

 

Both homeowners and renters may apply.

3. Apply.


  1. Gather relevant documents, including a copy of a recent DC Water bill with your name on it and recent photos of your green projects.
  2. Determine which of the two applications below applies to you based on the size of the area you're managing rainwater for, and complete that application. If you’re not sure which to use, email riversmart.rewards@dc.gov for help.
    • If your green projects manage runoff on impervious surfaces (like your roof and driveway) less than 2,000 square feet, complete the Simple Application online (see step #3) or in a PDF. Most residential properties can use this application.
    • If your green projects manage runoff on impervious surfaces (like your roof and driveway) more than 2,000 square feet, complete the Standard Application online (see step #3) or in a PDF. This is uncommon for residential properties.
  3. Submit your application online, by email, or by mail:
    • If you apply online, you’ll need to create an account. Please follow the online application instructions.
    • To apply by email, send your completed application to riversmart.rewards@dc.gov. You’ll need to attach photos or scans of your documents to the email.
    • To apply by mail, print and mail your completed application and copies of your documents to:
Department of Energy and Environment Attn: Regulatory Review Division 1200 First Street NE, 5th Floor Washington, D.C. 20002 You can apply at any time.





4. Gather more information.

What happens after I apply?


  1. Within 10-20 business days, we—DC Government—may call or email you for additional information if needed.
  2. If you submitted a Standard Application because your project manages runoff on surfaces more than 2,000 square feet or has a Stormwater Management Plan, we will schedule a time to visit your property and inspect your green projects.
  3. Within a month, we will send an email to notify you if you’ve been approved. If it takes us more than a month to approve your application, we will retroactively apply the discount to cover the extra time we took.
  4. If approved, you will see the discount to your water bill in 1-2 billing cycles.
If you are not approved, we will email or call you.




Are there any additional requirements I should know about?


If you would like to continue to receive a discount on your water bill, you must reapply for the program every three years. We will send you a reminder email three months before your current discount expires. If you don’t reapply, you’ll stop getting the discount. The reminder email includes a simple reapplication form and instructions.




Who should I contact if I have questions?


First, take a look at the frequently asked questions at the bottom of the page. If you still have questions, please reach out to the RiverSmart Rewards team at (202) 671-5004, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. Or, you can email the team at riversmart.rewards@dc.gov and put your street address (123 A St NE) in the subject line.




I still need help with my utilities. What should I do?


You can find information about other resources that might help on our utilities resources page. You can also learn about other resources to make your home more environmentally friendly.




Frequently Asked Questions


Can I get help with installing and paying for green projects? Yes! Our RiverSmart Homes program reduced prices and installation assistance for green projects, such as rain barrels, rain gardens, permeable pavement, and more. You may be eligible if you own a single-family home (or a building with four or fewer units). For property owners of any type of residential building, commercial building, or community space, we—DC Government—also offer rebates for green roofs, permeable pavement, rain gardens, rain barrels, and tree plantings. The eligibility criteria, application process, and amount of rebate vary depending on the type of green project, and you may need to apply before installation. Unlike RiverSmart Homes, our rebate programs do not offer help with installation. Can I combine this program with any other discounts or resources? Yes! When you apply for this program, we’ll automatically sign you up for another discount on your DC Water bill, called the Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge (CRIAC) Residential Relief Program. If you apply for RiverSmart Homes or a rebate for green roofs, permeable pavement, rain gardens, rain barrels, and tree plantings, we will ask you if you’d like us to automatically sign you up for the RiverSmart Rewards discount. What determines the amount of discount received? We calculate your discount based on the type of green project you’ve installed and the volume of stormwater it manages. How do these green projects help the city of DC? Green projects, like rain barrels, rain gardens, and shade trees, help reduce the amount of polluted rainwater running off your property and into your rivers. This helps us protect the Anacostia River, Potomac River, and Rock Creek from harmful pollution. Can I try to reapply for the program if I am not approved? Yes. You can reapply to RiverSmart Rewards once eligible green projects have been installed or your existing green projects have been updated to meet DOEE standards. My water bill is not in the name of anyone that lives in my home. Can I still apply? Yes, you can still apply. If your DC Water bill does not list a household member’s name, you must include proof that someone in your household owns your home or a copy of the lease agreement that states that someone in your household is responsible for paying your home’s DC Water bill.




Do all eligible applicants receive the discount?


Yes, all applicants with eligible green projects will get a discount on their water bill.





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Keywords: homeowners, renters, green home, manage rainwater, landscaping, single-family home, sustainability, reduce pollution, polluted water, plant trees, tree planting, permeable surfaces, water fees, reduce water bill, reduce water usage, water assistance

This page was last updated April 2021.

Department of Energy and Environment