Peoria conserving water through rebates program | News

Joe McHugh, Peoria Times Staff Writer
5 Min Read


Peoria’s Water Services Department is utilizing its rebates program as a way to gain community support for its water conservation efforts.

“It’s all about conservation, but there’s got to be a benefit for the residents as well,” said Victoria Caster, water conservation and sustainability coordinator for the city of Peoria. “We definitely have proven savings for water for all of these programs, and the residents definitely get that savings on the back end as well.”

The rebate program is broken down into two categories — residential and nonresidential. For residents, there are five different rebates. They range from replacing toilets with a WaterSense branded product to smart irrigation systems and xeriscaping — all of which offer cash incentives to participants.

“To convert an old toilet to a WaterSense label toilet, there’s up to $100 for that,” Caster said. 

Caster — although focusing on conserving water — noted the benefits that residents will see in an abundance of areas. 

“When it comes to the conversion from grass to xeriscape, there is a lot of environmental benefits because you’re now switching to something that’s more native,” Caster said. “So, when it comes to our wildlife, you’re going to see more birds, there’s going to be more food and nesting shelter available for them because they’re used to having more desert-adapted plants rather than grass and yards.”

There’s also a financial incentive.

“It’s not just the water savings, though. Definitely its pocketbook savings for people to have, too, because it needs to make a financial sense to kind of make the jump or to make the change over from one to the other,” Caster said.

The rebates program is also catered to homeowners associations up to $40,000 — dependent on size. Caster and the department structured the HOA rebates based off of removing “nonfunctional” plots of grass. 

“Grass in and of itself is not bad; we don’t hate grass by any means,” Caster said. “But we really want to focus on having the grass where people are going to be actively using it and getting rid of the grass that’s not really functional or usable.”

Similarly to the residents’ rebates, Caster highlighted the benefits that homeowners associations will see from switching to xeriscape.  

“It definitely helps them, so anything that can help them make the decision and make that switch over, which will save them hugely on water but also on maintenance costs,” Caster said. “There’s a huge savings difference between the cost of this to maintain and have grass mowed all the time versus the cost of maintaining xeriscaping. There’s a big difference.”

The rebate programs are a part of the grander plan to further solidify Peoria’s water profile for the future. Caster and the department are confident that with continued support from the community, the city’s water will be steady as the population continues to grow.

“So, everything with water in the desert has to be long term,” Caster said. “We like to say that there’s a culture of conservation in Arizona. And that’s something that we as a city and we as a state have been growing for over 30 years. And so, these conservation programs are also geared at this continual education that we are always fostering with our residents.”

 





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Joe McHugh, Peoria Times Staff Writer , www.peoriatimes.com
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