Council grants aim to increase residential water efficiency

Posted In: Wastewater & Water
Date: 11/13/2019

Residents of 40 cities and townships in the seven-county metro area will be eligible for rebates to purchase water-efficient toilets, clothes washers, irrigation controllers, and irrigation spray heads over the next three years.

Sprinkler spraying in grass.The Metropolitan Council, in November, awarded 40 local governments a combined total of $787,100 in water efficiency grants. The grants will be used to help residents swap out inefficient appliances with more efficient WaterSense- and Energy Star-labeled replacements.

“Water demand is increasing in the metro area in concert with population growth, and that is putting a strain on the aquifers that supply potable water to 75% of the region’s residents,” explained Brian Davis, engineer for the Council. “Increasing water efficiency helps reduce stress on the aquifers and potentially reduces the number of new water supply wells needed in the future.”

The Council awarded a grant to every local government that applied. The grant amount was based on a scoring system with eight factors, including total daily gallons per capita water demand; the difference in water demand between the peak month and the winter months; percent forecasted population growth from 2010-2040; and others.

“We decided to award all applicants at least some funding because these local grant or rebate programs can achieve good results with a small investment,” Davis said.

Grants range from $40,000 to $2,000. Communities are required to provide a match to their grant so that the combined total is 75% Council funds and 25% local funds.

The 2019 Minnesota Legislature allocated $750,000 in Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment funds to the Council to support the grant program. The Council added $37,757 remaining from a similar grant program in 2015-17.

Of the 40 applicants, 17 are returning from the previous program and 23 are new applicants. All applicants will receive an award letter in December.

Grant presentation, including local governments awarded grants (PDF)

Posted In: Wastewater & Water

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