The green grass of West Lincoln Park is an inviting sight for locals and tourists in the summer. The city is looking at the possibility of switching from treated water to raw water for irrigation at the park in an effort to conserve resources.

Photo by John F. Russell

The green grass of West Lincoln Park is an inviting sight for locals and tourists in the summer. The city is looking at the possibility of switching from treated water to raw water for irrigation at the park in an effort to conserve resources.

Steamboat rebate program to boost water conservation

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At a glance

■ High-efficiency toilets ($150 rebate for commercial, maximum $1,050; $100 rebate for residential, limit two per residence)

Rebates are for replacement of toilets manufactured before 1994 that use 3.5 gallons per flush or more. Only EPA WaterSense-labeled toilets that use 1.28 gallons per flush or less listed at www.epa.gov/WaterSense/product_search.html are eligible for rebate. The WaterSense logo must appear on the toilet or box.

■ High-efficiency clothes washers ($100 rebate, limit one per residence)

Replace your 2000 or older model clothes washer with a high-efficiency model. Only Tier 3 models listed by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency at www.waterenergysavings.com are eligible.

■ High-efficiency dishwashers ($100 rebate, limit one per residence)

Replace your 2002 or older model dishwasher with a high-efficiency model. Only models listed at www.energystar.gov are eligible. Other restrictions apply.

— Local water providers have launched a rebate program to encourage residents to conserve treated water, and the city of Steamboat Springs is looking to lead by example.

While the city is looking at alternative methods for watering some of its parks, the rebate program allows homeowners to receive a $100 rebate by swapping out an old toilet, washing machine or dishwasher with one that is efficient. Businesses can receive $150 for replacing a toilet.

Businesses and residential users also can receive rebates for making irrigation systems more efficient by installing rain sensors or efficient spray nozzles.

Money also is available for those who might be willing to part with their perfectly manicured yards. Replacing existing irrigated turf with indigenous drought-tolerant plants or nonirrigated xeriscape is worth a rebate of as much as $75.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this rebate program to customers in Steamboat Springs and Steamboat II,” Mount Werner Water District General Manager Jay Gallagher said in a news release. “The goal is to eliminate those old water-guzzling appliances, toilets and irrigation systems and to educate customers on how they can save money by reducing water consumption with new efficient appliances and irrigation systems.”

A grant from the Colorado Water Conservation board is paying for 75 percent of the $66,000 rebate program. The remaining matching funds are coming from the Mount Werner Water District, City of Steamboat Springs District and Steamboat II Metro District. The rebates will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. More information about the rebate program can be found at www.mwwater.com.

At the same time, the city is looking into using creek and river water at several parks that currently use treated water for irrigation.

By doing that, Steamboat’s Public Works Director Philo Shelton said, the city would be helping do its part in reducing the demand on the water filtration plant.

In the Steamboat area, officials are trying to reduce demand placed on the treatment plant, especially during peak usage days in the summer.

“Making wise water-use decisions directly affects the rate of future expenditures of public funds,” Gallagher said last week. “For each gallon we can shave off peak-day demand, we can defer the investment of a dollar in a new filtration bay. It also saves money on your water bill.”

Shelton said the city would be working with a consultant to help with the designs to convert the existing irrigation systems. He said the parks currently using river and creek water for irrigation are the Howelsen Hill fields, Emerald Fields and the Ski Town Fields next to the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.

With water rights owned by the city, Shelton said officials are looking at drawing water from creeks or the Yampa River for Little Toots Park, Stehley Park near Butcherknife Canyon, Memorial Park near Steamboat Springs High School and West Lincoln Park just west of the Bud Werner Memorial Library.

“We have the water rights, so I want us to use them,” Shelton said.

He said it was too early to say how much it would cost to convert the irrigation systems or how much money the city could save in water bills.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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