Saving water saves residents cash

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There are six ways to save water and money this spring and summer if you live in Okotoks.

The Town of Okotoks again started offering rebates on six water-saving products like mulch, drought tolerant plants and rain barrels May 1.

Okotoks Environmental and Sustainability co-ordinator Dawn Smith said the Town is providing an incentive for people to save water when supply is the lowest and the demand is the highest.

Late summer is often the most critical time when the Sheep River – the Town’s only source of water – is low creating a need to cut back on water use, Smith said.

“We need to manage our water resources,” Smith said.

If Sheep River water levels drop too low, the Town can’t draw water from it and must put watering restrictions in place.

The Province sets minimum stream levels to ensure the health of fish, frogs and plants in the river, she said.

She said the Town wants to provide incentives for Okotoks residents to help cut back on water usage in the summer and ensure enough is available for everyone.

Watering lawns – typically Kentucky bluegrass – is a big reason why water use increases in the summer, Smith said. Okotokians who put in drought tolerant plants or turf can receive 50 per cent of their costs up to $200. The same offer is available for irrigation rain sensors, mulch and low flow toilets. This is the last year the Town will offer rebates for low-flow toilets. Residents can get 50 percent of their money back for rain barrels, up to $50 per barrel and $100 per household.

Putting in a 1,000 gallon cistern or other rain catchment systems are rebated by 50 per cent up to $750.

Smith advises homeowner to contact the Town first if they are considering this type of system to get details on what is eligible for a rebate.

Last year in Okotoks, 401 people bought mulch for their yard and five yards changed to drought resistant ground covering or xeriscaping.

“Mulch basically keeps the water in the soil longer so it is much better for water retention,” Smith said. “We are also encouraging people to take out turf and put in turf and xeriscaping.”

The annual program runs from May until the end of the year or until the $40,000 fund is depleted. Last year it ran out in October. Sixty-four per cent of people who participated in 2016 said the rebate program was the motivation for their purchase

To qualify you must fill out an application form and provide proof of purchase. Some items are not eligible for a rebate in new home construction.

For a full list of rebates and to download the application form visit www.okotoks.ca/sustainability/rebate-programs/water-conservation-rebate-program

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