In other efficiency news, the Austin Water Utility
joined the EPA
in announcing a new labeling program for high-efficiency products known as "WaterSense
." The label will denote products such as high-efficiency toilets, fixtures, irrigation systems, and appliances like washing machines that are at least 20% more efficient than their counterparts. Austin Water Utility's David Juarez
said the city wants to use conservation to push back the need for another water-treatment plant, which he says will be needed in 5-7 years at current consumption rates. Juarez said poorly maintained and adjusted sprinklers and irrigation devices contribute most to summer water shortages. According to the city, easily corrected household leaks can hose you for 8% of your water bill, and poorly designed irrigation systems can waste 30% of a home's water use. A household can save 30,000 gallons per year by adopting high-efficiency products and practices enough to supply drinking water for 150 neighbors. The city offers a bevy of assistance programs and incentives, from free irrigation evaluations to $100 rebates for switching to high-efficiency toilets and washing machines, to $500 rebates on rain collections systems and low-water landscaping. See www.cityofaustin.org/watercon
for more info.