By Brad Stager
Making smart choices about how water is used in a home or business can mean a little extra money in a budget thanks to a water-saving program offered by Tampa Bay Water, its member governments and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
Known as Tampa Bay Water Wise, the program offers customers a chance to qualify for rebates on improvements made to plumbing and irrigation systems. The utility also said that customer savings will continue through lower water use resulting from the upgrades.
With about 30 percent of indoor home water use resulting from flushing toilets, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Tampa Bay Water is encouraging the use of high-efficiency toilets through a rebate program. The EPA puts potential savings in water costs for a family at about $140 per year by using high-efficiency toilets that meet the federal agency’s criteria for WaterSense certification.
Rebates for residential properties include $100 for toilet replacements, and since irrigation is another big use of water, up to $250 is available for using smart irrigation controllers that help avoid things that are common in Florida, such as landscape watering during a thunderstorm. Shallow wells for outdoor irrigation are also eligible for rebates up to $1,000.
Commercial customers of Tampa Bay Water are also eligible for rebates, ranging from $75 for switching to WaterSense toilets to $1,000 for a more efficient cooling tower. The food service industry also benefits, with $50 to $400 rebates available for using water-efficient dishwashers and spray valves.
Tampa Bay Water is offering the rebates as part of an effort to achieve greater water conservation in the face of rapid population growth in the Tampa Bay area. The utility currently serves about 2.5 million customers in the region, which means widespread participation in the Water Wise program can add up to substantial savings.
“Small individual changes can make a big impact,” said Amelia Brown, Tampa Bay Water’s demand management program manager. “Taking water-saving measures can positively impact our community now, and in the future. When we save water, we all win.”
For more information, visit tampabaywaterwise.org or call 888-491-0033.