San Diego County homeowners can now get rebates of up to $50 and businesses can get rebates of up to $200 for purchasing highly efficient toilets as part of extensive regional efforts to promote wise use of water.
While many homeowners and businesses have upgraded to more efficient toilets in recent years, manufacturers have continued to reduce the amount of water necessary for each flush as regulatory standards evolve.
Compared to old toilets that use 3.5 or 5 gallons per flush, new WaterSense toilets certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can save 63 to 74 percent per flush. Even homes and businesses with more modern toilets that use 1.6 gallons per flush can trim water use significantly by upgrading to WaterSense high-efficiency models that use 1.28 gallons per flush.
Toilets are by far the primary source of water use inside homes nationwide, accounting for about 30 percent of indoor residential water consumption, according to the EPA. By replacing older, inefficient toilets with WaterSense models, the EPA estimates the potential savings of 13,000 gallons of water and more than $90 in water costs per home each year. The EPA also said that swapping out all the outdated toilets nationwide for WaterSense toilets could save more than 500 billion gallons of water per year – equivalent to about two weeks of flows over Niagara Falls.
Earlier rounds of toilet-replacement rebate programs were extremely popular in San Diego County, accounting for the installation of more than 500,000 upgraded devices since 1991.
To be eligible for a rebate, toilets must be on the list of approved WaterSense varieties that includes conventional and dual-flush models. Modification of existing valves or the use of valve kits does not qualify for a rebate, nor does the purchase of toilets that use 1.6 gallons per flush.
Qualifying toilets for single-family and multi-family properties are eligible for up to $50 each. Toilet-replacement rebates at commercial properties are up to $100 each, and rebates for qualifying urinals at commercial properties are up to $200 each. Participants must reserve their rebates online before making a purchase. Addresses that have received toilet rebates in the past are not eligible for another rebate.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and its member agencies, including the Water Authority, fund the toilet rebates along with similar programs for other water-related devices. The current toilet rebate offer will continue until funding runs out or June 30, 2014, when California will require that only high-efficiency toilets be sold per legislation supported by the Water Authority.
The Water Authority’s new conservation-related website, WaterSmartsd.org, offers information about a number of incentive programs – including the toilet rebates – and provides water-saving resources, such as a home water-use calculator and water-efficient landscaping workshops.