Rebates: Incentive to reduce water use
This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press
Friday, March 27, 2009.
By ALISHA SEMCHUCK
Valley Press Staff Writer
LANCASTER – Los Angeles County Waterworks District 40 wants Antelope Valley residents and business owners alike to conserve water, so county officials launched a rebate program for people who purchase and install water-saving devices.
The rebate program is a collaboration between Waterworks District 40 and Lowe’s Home Improvement meant to encourage people to reduce their water use.
Rebates are $4 each for rotating sprinkler nozzles, 30 cents per square foot for synthetic turf and $50 to $150 for water-saving devices such as “smart” weather-based sprinkler controllers, high-efficiency clothes washers, high-efficiency toilets, and waterless urinals for businesses.
“We’re trying to provide incentives,” said Melinda Barrett, Waterworks Districts water conservation program manager.
“We’re hoping (to do this) by making it easier to find the products and get a rebate.”
County officials highlighted merits of the rebate program during a news conference Thursday in the garden department at Lowe’s. They were joined by the store manager, a local landscaper and students from Antelope Valley High School’s FFA.
For rebate application forms, people can go online to lacwaterworks.org or call (626) 300-4683.
The Waterworks district provides water to 170,000 people in the Antelope Valley, and the government agency wants to ensure that supplies can meet the demand, now and in the future, Barrett said.
Despite recent rains and some winter snow, Barrett said water supplies are still so low that the situation prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare a state of emergency.
In 2008, Antelope Valley residents saved 13% compared to their use the prior year, Barrett said. The goal is to have everyone use 20% less water by the year 2020.
“Summer will soon be here, when we have our highest water usage,” said Norm Hickling, field deputy for Los Angeles County 5th District Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.
Glenn Guenther, a Valley resident who runs a landscaping business, said because of the work he does, he realized the need to conserve water.
“This rebate program will bring attention to the issue,” Guenther said.
“The water district rebate program is appealing to my customers,” Guenther said. Not only do they save water, but they save money on their monthly bills, he said.
“Our customers are looking for ways to save money every day,” said Daniel Goff, store manager at the Lancaster Lowe’s.
Aside from receiving a rebate for purchasing a water-saving device, Goff said, program participants will “cut home utility costs for years to come.”
“Over the course of your lifetime, you will flush the toilet nearly 140,000 times,” Goff said.
Because the greatest percentage of water consumption occurs outdoors, Goff advised people to grow only drought-tolerant, native plants in their yards.
This spring members of the FFA at Antelope Valley High School will plant a drought-tolerant tree on campus to honor Antonovich, said Nicole McMurray, 17, a senior and the president of the FFA campus chapter. She also presented Hickling with a plaque for Antonovich, thanking the supervisor for his “dedication to ensuring the Antelope Valley has a reliable water source for the future.”
“As part of our horticulture curriculum, we provided the water system for our fields,” McMurray said. “It helps make sure our school is not wasting water.”
With water being so crucial to the agriculture industry, McMurray said conservation is a critical factor that ensures she “will have a future in agriculture.”
“With us all working together,” Goff said, “we can reduce water waste.”
Los Angeles County had received a state grant that would have paid $1 per square foot for taking turf and replacing it with water-saving ground cover, but the funds were frozen because of the state budget crisis.
The lawn-removal rebate “won’t start until we get the funds,” Barrett said.
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