The Sunshine Coast Regional District is looking for options to replace its toilet rebate program, which will be retired at the end of 2017.
According to a staff report presented to the Infrastructure Services Committee on Feb. 16, the SCRD has issued 3,669 toilet rebates since 2001 to encourage residents to replace older toilets with low flush alternatives. Staff estimate that this has saved 155,000 litres (or 155 cubic meters) of water per day.
Regional District staff presented three possible options to encourage water conservation in future: issuing rebates for rainwater cisterns, giving rebates for replacement of washing machines with efficient models, or launching a program to encourage people to replace their thirsty lawns with xeriscaping (landscaping with drought resistant plants that need little or no watering).
After some preliminary research, staff recommended that they further investigate the washing machine and rainwater harvesting programs, since those would be the simplest to implement.
Directors favoured the recommendation, although Area D Director Mark Lebbell cautioned that plastic cisterns are not the only option to consider for rainwater harvesting. “Ecologically and financially there may be other options we can support,” he said.
Lebbell noted that rural properties differ, and the best rainwater harvesting treatment may vary according to elevations, water tables, rooflines, and other factors. “I have heard concerns about the expenditure of a large amount of non-renewable resource, i.e. plastic and oil, to conserve a renewable one, water,” said Lebbell.
Directors asked staff to investigate possible programs and report back in the third quarter of 2017, so directors can decide whether to budget for a new water conservation program in 2018.