Saturday, February 14, 2009

Miami-Dade Toilet Replacement Program

Miami-Dade Toilet Replacement Program
Just in Time for Dry Spell

Picture of palm treesFor all its associations with lush tropical vegetation, pristine beaches, and swampy habitats, coastal and southern Florida are often short on fresh water. The west coast of Florida is under year-round water conservation measures, and now water shortages are affecting the southeast of the state as well. It has been so dry in southeast Florida Exit Disclaimer that in March, the South Florida Water Management District imposed mandatory water restrictions that are having an impact on more than 5 million Floridians, nearly a third of the state's population. Miami-Dade is among the four counties affected, as well as Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach Counties.

These water restrictions have arrived just as WaterSense partner Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (MDWSD) is launching a new toilet replacement program, lending greater urgency to a program that has been in the works since last April. MDWSD will stage its first distribution of free high-efficiency toilets (HETs) to county residents in May 2007. Residents will simply need to arrive at the event location to pick up their new HET. For qualifying senior citizens and low-income households, MDWSD is also sponsoring a total bathroom retrofit, which includes installing new, water-efficient toilets, faucets, and showerheads.

The toilet replacement program also offers up to a $100 rebate toward purchasing an HET for Miami-Dade residents who cannot attend one of the free HET distributions or who would like to replace more than one toilet. The rebate program, which starts this month, is limited to two toilets per household and the existing toilets must have been installed before January 1, 1996.

By encouraging residents to retrofit their bathrooms with water-efficient toilets, MDWSD is helping to bring southeast Florida closer to its recent goal to cut water consumption by 15 percent and more in some areas. MDWSD will document water savings from the toilet replacement program by tracking participating household's water bills.

The good news for consumers is that even without access to free HETs, they are still a good deal. Many utilities offer rebates (contact your local water utility or WaterSense at (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) to see if they are offered in your area) and these water-efficient toilets might help you save on your water bill. HETs are designed to use an average of 20 percent less water than standard 1.6 gallon per flush toilets, while maintaining or improving flushing power. As WaterSense labeled HETs hit the market in 2007, consumers can trust that this label ensures both high performance and water efficiency.

Learn more about Miami-Dade's toilet replacement program