Metropolitan Board Takes Water Savings to the Next Level in Southern California

Board Increases Local Conservation Incentives by More Than 25%

Saving water in Southern California became even more affordable as Metropolitan Water District's Board of Directors increased financial incentives by more than 25% for local conservation investments and expanded the inventory of devices eligible for rebates to include the latest high-efficiency models.

Under a revised core conservation program, Metropolitan will transition from providing rebates for ultra-low-flush toilets to high-efficiency models that use 20% less water, and the agency will increase its annual financial commitment to conservation by as much as $5 million over the next five years.

"With this commitment, we're sending a strong message that Southern California plans to stay at the forefront of water conservation and is truly serious about encouraging everyone to use water as efficiently as possible," said Metropolitan board Chairman Wes Bannister.

"These upgrades to our conservation program provide a real link between water savings, environment benefits and fiscal responsibility," Bannister said. "We're creating a conservation climate that has the potential for even greater water savings without having to make sacrifices."

As part of a new five-year conservation strategy developed in coordination with its 26 member public agencies, Metropolitan will increase incentives to local agencies for new high-efficiency programs and devices from $154 for every ac-ft of conserved water to $195 per ac-ft up to 100% of the cost of a device. An ac-ft of water is nearly 326,000 gal, about the amount used by two typical Southern California families in and around their homes in a year.

Metropolitan currently offers rebate packages for a variety of devices, including ultra-low-flush toilets and urinals, high-efficiency clothes washers, weather-sensitive irrigation controllers, waterbrooms and cooling tower conductivity controllers. Customized incentive programs also are available to homeowners' associations for large landscapes and for industries that use water in processing or manufacturing. During 2005, Metropolitan issued approximately 300,000 rebates for devices that are now saving 9,000 ac-ft a year in Southern California.

Through today's action, Metropolitan will expand the rebate list to include high-efficiency toilets that save up to 14,000 gal of water a year; high-efficiency urinals (20,000 gal in annual savings); waterless urinals (40,000 galannually); cooling tower controllers that conserve up to 844,000 gal annually; and connectionless food steamers that save more than 80,000 gal a year.

"These are truly the next generation of water-saving devices," said Debra C. Man, Metropolitan interim CEO and general manager. "When it comes to saving water, we have led the way in developing and promoting new technologies that will ultimately help us save more than 1.1 million ac-ft of drinking water a year by 2025."

While maintaining Metropolitan's innovative conservation program, which provides $250,000 in competitive grants every two years for research into new water-saving devices, technologies and systems, the board also created an enhanced conservation program. The enhanced conservation pilot program will award $4 million in competitive grants every other year to pilot and develop programs and improvements that maximize innovative water-saving devices and technologies.

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

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