46.9 acre-feet of water (enough to submerge the entire Railyard) would be saved by the city if it continues funding the rebate program, according to Water Conservation Manager Daniel Ransom.
" Conserving water is cheaper than going out and purchasing new water. You know how expensive the Buckman Direct Diversion Project is."—Santa Fe Water Conservation Manager Daniel Ransom
Think of the city’s water conservation rebate program as an innocuous bribe: You replace the urinal in your office with a water-free version, and the city dumps $630 into your bank account.
Santa Fe’s water conservation rebates “are higher than you’d see normally,” Daniel Ransom, the city’s water conservation manager, tells SFR. The rebates, he explains, are based on the amount of water saved, which is why replacing urinals and commercial toilets with more efficient (even water-free) models brings in the biggest bucks for consumers.
Despite all the water savings, though, rebate payouts still cost the city money. A $425,000 federal stimulus grant helped pay for the program earlier this year, but Ransom says that without approval from the city’s Public Utilities Committee to put in more city money, the rebate program might have to be suspended until 2011.
And where has all the money gone? SFR got the breakdown:
• 575 commercial toilet replacements ($504 each)
• 173 residential toilet replacements ($175 each)
• 12 water-free urinal replacements ($630 each)
• 692 top-loading washing machine replacements ($480 each)
• 15 front-loading washer replacements ($180 each)
• six rain barrels ($12, $25 or $50, depending on size)
That’s a grand total of $662,707 in the first half of this year—and savings of 43 acre-feet! Then again, on July 6, Las Campanas alone consumed 811,000 acre-feet—more than half of which went to its golf course. No rebates as yet for water-free golf.