For The Answer
Week of February 17, 2003
Submitted by Calvin Finch, Ph.D., Manager, Conservation Division, Water Resources & Conservation Department, SAWS, and Horticulturist
REWARDS FOR WATER CONSERVATION
Are you ready to be on the SAWS Water Conservation Team? One of the best ways to do your part is to organize a group to participate in the Community Conservation Challenge.
The SAWS Community Conservation Challenge rewards groups that set their own water conservation goals, enlist their group members to be part of the effort and achieve the goal. The reward is cash to be used towards a group goal. Does your neighborhood clubhouse need a new roof? Does the high school band need new uniforms or funds for a trip to a band competition? How about your church, does it need a new xeriscape landscape?
The reward for meeting your goal to reduce water use (this year compared to average water use over the last three years) is determined by the following formula: $1 times the percentage goal times the number of participants in your group. For example, if your scout troop had 100 families join the challenge and agree to a 10 percent water use reduction, the award for success would be $1 x 10 (percentage goal) x 100 (SAWS ratepayers) or $1000.
One thousand dollars can go a long way towards the group goal, but that is only the beginning. If your neighborhood includes houses built before 1992 and some still have high-water-use toilets, SAWS will give everyone who is eligible up to two new toilets free plus the group gets $25 per low-flow toilet that replaces the high-flow flusher!
Need more to do the work of organizing the effort? Every month SAWS will reward the group (if at least 10 groups are participating) with the highest savings, a reward equal to $1 times the number in your group, times the percentage of savings. If the same neighborhood described above replaced 100 high-flow toilets and won the monthly competition by saving 20 percent water over the base year, that would be another $4500 for the roof, band uniforms, landscaping, or whatever good cause your group came up with.
If your group all had new houses and did not need low-flow toilets, an easy way to save 10 percent of the water in a summer month would be to have everyone agree to water three times per month instead of four times. Even by turning off the faucet while you shave or brush your teeth will save 3 percent. Replace your old, inefficient showerheads and faucet aerators with free SAWS showerheads and aerators and that is another 5% saved.
As you can surmise by this description, the SAWS Community Conservation Challenge is not a simple program. To fulfill its full potential it will take one or more members of your group to organize and encourage the group. There is some paperwork involved. The water savings must be achieved over a five-month period from April 1 through August 30 or from May 1 through September 30, 2003.
In 2002, five groups participated. In 2003, we want to have 20 groups. SAWS Conservation staff will help you plan the effort. For more information call Ed Wilcut or Janie Guzman at 704-7354. They will send you a write-up by mail or electronically of how the program works. They will also arrange a speaker for your group to explain the effort and answer any questions you may have. The SAWS Community Conservation Challenge is a serious program for groups that want to be at the forefront of the water conservation effort, are capable of organizing themselves to achieve a water conservation goal, and have a worthy project that will benefit by some extra money.