How does a semi-arid region find the water to keep up with the thirst of 3 million residents and businesses? It learns how to share. By volunteering to use less water, San Diego county residents are making sure there’s some available for a new neighbor, or a new neighborhood.
Today the San Diego County Water Authority celebrated 15 years of water conservation efforts and 433,700 acre feet of water saved. And it gave much of the credit to the high-efficiency toilets installed through its toilet voucher program.
“The toilet-replacement program has been a major focus of the Water Authority’s conservation effort, “ said Water Authority Board Chair Fern Steiner. “More than 518,000 inefficient toilets were replaced. And it’s the suppliers, plumbing contractors and motivated citizens that made it possible.”
She encourages homeowners who have yet to use a $75 to $165 toilet discount voucher to call 800-986-4538 soon. March 31 is the last day to request a voucher and they are offered on a first-come, first- served basis. Homes built before 1994 that still have water-guzzling 3.5- to 5-gallon-per-flush toilets are eligible for the cost-saving vouchers.
“San Diegans have demonstrated a lot of respect for the limited supplies of water we have access to,” said Steiner. “We’ll continue to invest in their efforts to become more water efficient.”
According to Steiner, water saved in homes and businesses is the county’s most reliable and cost- effective supply source.
One toll-free call gets a voucher on its way to your home or faxed to the store where you would like to purchase a qualifying fixture. They are accepted at more than 100 retail and wholesale suppliers countywide for an immediate point-of-purchase discount.
And that’s the critical link. By treating vouchers like a coupon, retail and wholesale suppliers make it possible for homeowners to reduce their out-of-pocket cost. Toilets cost less. Suppliers sell more. Water use decreases.
If you are ready to put a new toilet on your shopping list, you have many choices. 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.
How to get a voucher...
To request a toilet or clothes washer voucher, call 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 must be selected from Water Authority lists of approved models. Call 800-986-4538 to request a copy or visit www.sdcwa.org/manage/pdf/Conservation/ApprovedSPStoilets.pdf
• Toilets must replace fixtures that are specified by their manufacturers to use at least 3.5 gallons of water per flush.
• Toilets installed as part of new construction or bathroom additions do not qualify.
• Participating property owners agree to onsite installation verification.
• The last date to request toilet vouchers is March 31, 2007.
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 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.)
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.
Gravity-flow toilets use the weight of the water in the tank to push the wastewater over the bowl's integral trap. The taller the column of water, the greater the downward pressure. This is why water-saving toilets, which use only 1.6 gal.of water, tend to have taller tanks.
Customers of the following participating water agencies are eligible for vouchers: Carlsbad Municipal Water District, City of Del Mar, City of Escondido, 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, Vallecitos Water District, Valley Center Municipal Water District and Vista Irrigation District.
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