Greywater and Rainwater


Greywater is wastewater from bathtubs, showers, bathroom washbasins, clothes washers, and laundry tubs.  On average, up to 40-gallons per person of greywater is available to be recycled on a daily basis.

Irrigating your landscaping with greywater will save precious potable water resources, thereby conserving water and saving money. The average family can reduce their fresh water use 5%-30% by using greywater for irrigation.  Metered water use can be reduced by up to 80% through a combination of conservation, climate-appropriate landscaping, rainwater and stormwater infiltration, and greywater reuse.

The benefits of greywater recycling include conserving potable water, using less energy and chemicals, encouraging plant growth, reclaiming other wasted nutrients and easing the strain on septic tanks.

The following are additional resources for more information: greywater

Do I Need a Permit?

Currently, one system does not require a permit statewide: clothes washer only, or "Laundry to Landscape" systems that conform to simple, commonsense guidelines.

In much of Santa Barbara County, simple shower and sink systems (with less than 250 gallons per day of discharge) known as "Showers to Flowers" are also permit exempt if they conform to County guidelines.

- If you are within unincorporated Santa Barbara County and:
    - Provide your own well water
    - Receive your water from Goleta Water District, Carpinteria Valley Water District, Montecito Water District or San Marcos Mutual Water Company
- If you are within Santa Barbara City limits and:
    - Provide your own well water
    - Receive your water from the City of Santa Barbara
- If you are within the Buellton City limits and:
    - Provide your own well water

Complex systems (defined in California's greywater code as having greater than 250 gallons per day of discharge), or any system that does not meet the State Plumbing Code requirements for clothes washer only or simple systems, will need a permit. Please check with your local building department regarding permitting.

Rainwater rainwatergarden

Rainwater Information