There are a number of things that can be done to reduce our water usage by becoming more efficient in how we use it. The cheapest water is the water we already have and the biggest way to keep our water bills as low as possible is to use less high quality treated water.

One alternative water source is effluent re-use where water is treated at a waste water treatment, or sewer plant, and then used for large irrigation users such as home owner’s associations, golf courses, parks, and other recreational or neighborhood landscape irrigation.

Rainwater capture is another source of alternative water. Amenity lakes with extra storage capacity can also be used to catch and store rainwater that can then be used for irrigation. Home owners can do this on a much smaller scale to catch rain water in barrels for irrigating gardens and flower beds.

The Water Authorities have adopted policies to encourage the use of alternative water supplies, and have even provided monetary incentives for MUDs to use alternative water sources for non-potable water use.

We do this with Alternative Water Credit Agreements between the water well owners and the Water Authority. These Agreements incentivize effluent re-use projects and rainwater capture projects. An entity must have a groundwater well to qualify for this programs.

So how does this program work?

First, contact the Water Authority’s Engineer to discuss the project and confirm the project qualifies for the program.

Second, once the project is approved and an Alternative Water Supply Agreement is in place, the Water Authority will issue credits for alternative water use that has been recorded through a meter.

The credits are issued at a rate equal to one half of the current groundwater reduction pumpage fee, which is currently 3 dollars and 20 cents per 1000 gallons. The credit period is limited to 10 years and in capped to be no more than the approved capital cost of the project. The credits may be used against any fees owed to the West Authority