The Tampa Bay Water Wise regional rebate program is picking up steam as more residents and businesses realize they can get paid to save water. For fiscal year 2023, the program surpassed its water savings goal, reaching 161,885 gallons per day (gpd) saved. Since it launched in March 2020 through Oct. 3, 2023, Tampa Bay Water Wise has issued nearly 5,000 rebates and saved more than 300,000 gpd at an overall cost of $0.82 per thousand gallons of water – far less than the cost of developing new water supplies.
The lion’s share of the water savings this year is from multi-family toilet retrofits, which saved nearly 120,000 gpd. This year, seven multi-family projects have been completed, and three more properties currently retrofitting fixtures.
To get an idea of how impactful a multi-family toilet retrofit can be for water savings, look at these examples from Tampa. One multi-family complex had a 70% reduction in water usage from installing 120 fixtures with a rebate amount of $17,890 – saving 8.5 million gallons of water per year. A second multi-family complex experienced a 56% reduction in water usage from installing 205 fixtures with a rebate amount of $15,375 – saving 9.3 million gallons of water per year.
“Multi-family retrofits provide the most bang for the buck,” said Amelia Brown, Tampa Bay Water’s demand management program manager. “While we are increasing our efforts in reaching out to multi-family complexes and hotels because they account for significant water savings, we encourage everyone who is within our service area to apply for the rebates.”
Tampa Bay Water Wise is a regional water conservation rebate program aiming to save up to 3.8 million gallons of water per day (mgd) by 2030 through rebates on water saving fixtures like water-efficient toilets and smart irrigation controllers. The program aims to defer the need to build future water supplies by saving water today. The Southwest Florida Water Management District supports the program with cooperative funding dollars up to $1,432,238 and has so far funded $407,293.41 toward the program. With ample funding remaining, Tampa Bay Water’s board, at its January meeting, voted to extend the timeline of the funding agreement to Dec. 31, 2024, with no additional funding needed.