Environment & Science

Met Water Board considers replenishing popular rebate program

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Metropolitan Water Board directors want studies about adding millions of dollars to a rebate program for water-saving appliances. KPCCs Molly Peterson says Metropolitan’s program is more popular than officials had thought it would be.

The phones lit up like a Christmas tree when the district started offering the rebate in April and May. Each month the money ran out fast. This month, 20,000 people have been waiting on
$2 million worth of rebates for water-saving measures from fake grass to efficient washing machines. Another $22 million would go to commercial water efficiency projects.

The money for the rebate program would have come from state water bank funds Metropolitan earmarked for emergency supplies – money that doesn’t need to be used, because spring rainstorms increased the amount of water on hand.

Some Metropolitan officials say they’re skeptical that more rebates translate into enough conservation. They want to analyze and validate the $24 million backlog before doing anything further. But water agency staffers are looking at how to pay for rebates for new sprinkler heads and low-flow toilets, when demand has as much as tripled over last year.