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Going green could save you some green in 2020: Resolve to save water, money in the new year

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Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Maybe exercise more? Eat better?

Cutting costs or saving money is a common refrain on most people’s lists.

The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department, or WASD, is giving you the opportunity to not only save money, but receive some free items and cash, as well.

The bonus? Saving water and benefitting our local environment.

Despite all the rain we receive, did you know that South Florida is one of the highest per-capita water-use areas in the country? You can reduce your water usage by as much as half by changing a few habits and installing water-saving devices. Here are some ideas:

Showerheads: Free exchange and rebates

Showerheads use a lot of water -- consuming up to 30% of a household’s use. If you have models that were installed before 1980, they use a minimum of five gallons per minute. Even if your showerhead was installed between 1980 until 1992, 3 to 3 1/2 gallons of water per minute are being consumed.

If you bring in your old showerheads, up to two per household, WASD will exchange them for free for high-efficiency models that use no more than 1.5 gallons per minute. Click here for a list of customer service centers.

Pair the new showerheads with shorter shower times and you should notice some savings on your water bill.

If you prefer to purchase your own high-efficiency showerhead, you can apply for a $25 rebate from WASD using this form (limit two per household).

Faucets

Faucets manufactured before 1992 use between 3 and 7 gallons per minute. High-efficiency models use no more than 1.5 gallons per minute. With the installation of a high-efficiency faucet, the average family could save 700 gallons of water per year. If every family in the United States took this water-saving step, four billion gallons of water could be saved each year.

Making small changes such as shutting off the faucet when brushing your teeth can save lots of water.

Rebates up to $25 are available for the purchase and installation of high-efficiency faucets (limit two per household). Apply online here.

Toilet rebates

If you still have a toilet in your home manufactured before 1980, you are flushing money down the drain, as models from this time period use 5 to 8 gallons per flush. Toilets installed between 1980 to 1992 use between 2 1/2 to 3.6 gallons per flush. A household can reduce its water use by more than 4,000 gallons a year with the installation of a high-efficiency toilet. A family of four can save more than $90 a year in reduced water bills and $2,000 over the toilet’s lifetime.

The department will send you a $50 rebate for the purchase and installation of a WaterSense-labeled high-efficiency toilet (limit two per household). Click here to access a rebate form.

Senior high-efficiency toilet rebates

Qualifying seniors can receive up to $200 for the purchase and installation of one WaterSense-labeled high-efficiency toilet and up to $300 for the purchase and installation of two toilets for the home. Click here for more information.

Landscape irrigation evaluations

As part of countywide efforts to reduce water use and improve efficiency, free landscape irrigation evaluations are offered to single-family homeowners and large property owners (i.e. condominium associations, commercial properties, etc.) located within Miami Dade County.

Rebates are available for completing irrigation retrofits recommended during the evaluation. Single-family homeowners are eligible for rebates up to $500 a year while large properties can qualify for up to $2,850 per property. Click here for more information.

Changing habits results in savings.

Little changes really add up. In 2019, WASD issued the following rebates:

  • 3,028 single-family, multi-family, senior and commercial high efficiency toilet rebates;
  • 1,136 high efficiency faucet and showerhead rebates;
  • 140 landscape irrigation rebates;
  • Distributed 732 FREE high-efficiency showerheads to Miami Dade County residents.

These efforts resulted in savings of more than 278,000 gallons of water per day.

Conserving this water goes a long way toward WASD’s goal of reducing water use. Drawing less water from the aquifer has many benefits, including preserving a limited natural resource, reducing the risk of salt water intrusion into our drinking supply, increased resilience in the face of drought and sea level rise and saving energy associated with treating, pumping and distributing drinking water to county residents and businesses.