In my previous posting, I highlighted El Paso’s proactive water-conservation measures noted in a recent article authored by Juan Carlos Llorca "Texas city rips up grass in effort to save water" found in the El Paso Times and commented upon by Hill Country Alliance on September 22, 2011.
After focusing on El Paso’s progressive efforts, the writer forsees the possibilities of El Paso’s strict water conservation plan being mimicked by even more Texas cities as the state’s second worst drought in recorded history continues to bring depletion of water supplies for other "water-starved" communities. In particular, Austin and San Antonio progressive programs designed to induce their residents to rip up their water-hungry turf are highlighted.
- "Austin offers a $20 to $30 rebate for each 100 square feet of turf removed as part of a pilot program. So far 70 residents have replaced their grass, and the plan may become permanent if the city sees enough water savings. The city also offers up to three free water-efficient toilets per household and rebates for new dishwashers."
- "San Antonio offers rebates and gift certificates of up to $400 to residents who choose certain grasses, reduce their turf and cut their water consumption. Only about 360 residents have taken part since the program began in 2008, and the utility estimates savings of about 1 million gallons per year. Overall, the city estimates it can save up to a billion gallons annually from all the water-saving measures combined."
I also wanted to point out that both Austin and San Marcos offer rebates for rainwater collection, Austin’s program being especially generous. My hope is that other communities in West Texas and the Hill Country will adopt similar measures with the result of reducing water demand. With the right amount of conservation and increased efficiency, perhaps municipalities can avoid needless and costly expenditures to expand their water supply capacities.
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