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City of Tucson considering more incentives for residents to conserve water

Posted at 11:05 PM, Jun 06, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — When Lisa Shipek gets a drink of water at the Watershed Management Group’s living lab, she’s drinking filtered rainwater.

It comes from a faucet that uses less water, which is just one of the water efficient fixtures the group has.

“We can value and steward our local renewable water resources,” Shipek said.

The Tucson City Council voted on Tuesday to ban new developments from using ornamental grass turf and they’re also making them use water-sense fixtures, appliances the EPA says are 20 percent more water efficient.

However, they’re also considering incentives for homeowners to use water-sense fixtures that are similar to what the Watershed Management Group already uses.

“I think incentives really go a long way to helping motivate people and will be a big help,” Shipek said.

When it comes to the incentives the City of Tucson already has for conserving water, Shipek said they hold workshops to help people sign up.

“To teach people about rainwater harvesting and how to qualify for the rebate, so we help hundreds of people every year,” she said.

Bob Cook is also a rainwater harvester who uses rainwater from his cistern when he can. His front yard and backyard also have plants that are drought tolerant.

“We’re very concerned about low-water plants,” he said.

Councilman of Ward 3 Kevin Dahl said the City Council is also considering an incentive for residents to install low-water native plants in their yard like the kind Cook has.

He said they’re also considering incentives for homeowners to remove ornamental grass turf from their lawns.

“All incentives to save and use water more efficiently is important. I think it helps everyone get on board,” Cook said.

However, Dahl said they’re also thinking about other incentives for homeowners that want to take out their pools.

While Cook waits for the City Council to make their decision, he’s still hoping others will help protect Arizona’s natural resources regardless of whether they approve the incentives.

“We want to nourish it, and water’s very expensive,” he said.