Posted on | July 14, 2009 | 1 Comment
YOU CAN be too popular. The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California last month suspended payments for its conservation rebate program after being told that that the program might be $24m in the red. Today, after hearing from auditors that the backlog was only $14.2m and that the cost of water saved through conservation was still cheaper than buying supplemental new water, the board concluded that its main failure was success. It subsequently voted to cover the rebate backlog.
Other options before the board included covering the 2008/09 over-spend with next year’s budget or telling applicants caught up in the overspent system that the funds had run out.
Today’s vote covers the overspend as well as guaranteeing that an additional $19.1m will be dedicated to the conservation program in fiscal year 2009/10.
“This means that now over the past two years, we have spent over $70m in conservation,” said Debra Man*, Metropolitan’s Assistant General Manager and Chief Operating Officer. “For that investment, we expect to get 300,000 acre feet of savings over twenty years. This is a huge amount of water for the lifetime of these devices.”
An acre foot of water is enough to cover one acre to a depth of one foot.
As the authority keeps subsidizing low-flow toilets, updated irrigation systems and front-loading washing machines, Metropolitan’s goal is to get 1.1 million acre feet of savings from its Conservation Credits Program by 2025. “This would be equivalent to the water demands of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego,” said Mann.
For those waiting for outstanding rebates, or wishing to apply, Mann said, “We are going to try to put that online as soon as possible now that we’ve gotten board approval.”
For the Riverside Press Enterprise story on the board decision, click here.
This post has been updated.
*Correction: An earlier version of this posting misspelled Debra Man’s surname as Mann. The correct spelling is Man.