Homeowners who want to reduce their water use and expense can turn to high-efficiency toilets and a voucher discount worth up to $165 off the price of qualifying models. But they need to act soon. Available for 15 years in San Diego County, the discount incentive opportunity for single-family property owners ends March 31, 2007.
Homes built before 1994 that have yet to replace water guzzling 3.5- to 5-gallon-per-flush or more toilets are eligible for the cost saving vouchers. Dual-flush, pressure-assist and gravity-flow “high-efficiency” models are eligible for $165-per-toilet discounts at the time of purchase. And there’s a long list of 1.6-gpf models that qualify for $75 discounts.
One toll-free call to 800-986-4538 gets a voucher on its way to your home or faxed to the store where you would like to purchase a qualifying fixture. This year’s 25,000 toilet vouchers will be the last, as the Water Authority and its local member agencies refocus their single- family property conservation efforts on outdoor water use – an area where even greater water savings can be realized. It’s a first-come, first-served program, which means the time to replace old toilets is now, before the vouchers run out.
Dual-flush? High-efficiency? Here’s a technology update. Dual-flush models offer the choice of a “liquid-only” short flush or standard full flush. According to a several studies this can reduce water use by up to 65 percent, compared to inefficient 3.5- to 5-gpf toilets. (See www.cuwcc.org/maptesting.lasso.)
The dual-flush toilets, a technology first developed in the early 1980s, have been standard fixtures in Europe and Australia for several decades. They are little known in the United States but water agencies nationwide want to change that.
Toilets have saved billions of gallons of water ... In San Diego County, new homes in Otay Ranch’s Monte Sereno project have dual-flush toilets installed in all the bathrooms. Vice President of Construction for Oakwood Development, Doug Brooks, tested the technology in his home first.
“My family and I are very happy with the performance and efficiency of our dual flush toilets. I have never experienced a backup with the dual flush toilets and our water consumption has been noticeably less,” said Brooks.
Pressure-assist models use water pressure to compress and store air in a plastic tank. A burst of air is released with each flush, which helps clear the bowl using only 1.2 gallons of water. More than 15 models qualify for the $165 discount.
The toilet-replacement program has been the Water Authority’s flagship conservation effort since 1991. It’s been a key to regional water savings.
“Conservation efforts have resulted in more than 102 billion gallons of water saved since 1991,” said Cindy Hansen, a senior water resources specialist of the San Diego County Water Authority. “Much of that savings comes from the more than 518,600 toilets replaced in San Diego county homes.”
It’s the foundation of the Water Authority’s regional goal of saving 100,000 acre-feet of water -annually by 2030, according to Hansen.
Vouchers also available for high-efficiency clothes washers ... Another household water-saving opportunity is high- efficiency clothes washers. And by teaming with San Diego Gas & Electric to offer one convenient incentive, the Water Authority now offers a $175 discount available at nearly all retail appliance stores.
The voucher discounts bring the purchase price of qualifying washers down. Ongoing savings include reductions in gas, electric, water and sewer expenses. According to Hansen, high-efficiency washers save over 9,000 gallons of water a year and use 55 percent less energy.
How to get a voucher ... To request a toilet or clothes washer voucher, call 1- 800-986-4538. It can be used for a point-of-purchase discount at participating wholesale and retail suppliers countywide. The following guidelines apply.
• Toilets and clothes washers must be selected from Water Authority lists of approved models. Call 800-986-4538 to request a copy or visit http://www.sdcwa.org/manage/ pdf/Conservation/ApprovedSPStoilets.pdf
• Toilets must replace fixtures that are specified by their manufacturers to use at least
• Toilets installed as part of new construction or bathroom additions do not qualify.
• Used, remanufactured or reconditioned clothes washers do not qualify for voucher discounts.
• Participating property owners agree to onsite installation verification.
• The last date to request toilet vouchers is March 31, 2007.
Customers of the following participating water agencies are eligible for vouchers: Carlsbad Municipal Water District, City of Del Mar, City of Escondido, Fallbrook Utility District (clothes washers only), Helix Water District, Lakeside Water District, City of Oceanside, Otay Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, City of Poway, Rainbow Municipal Water District, Ramona Municipal Water District, Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District, Riverview Water District, City of San Diego, San Dieguito Water District, Santa Fe Irrigation District, Sweetwater Authority (clothes washers only), Vallecitos Water District, Valley Center Municipal Water District and Vista Irrigation District.
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