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Tempe sets new goals for water conservation

PHOENIX — The city of Tempe has unanimously passed new water conservation goals that aim to have the city saving hundreds of millions of gallons of water each year.

Councilman Kolby Granville said the the council expects to have Tempe saving more than 600 million gallons of water each year by 2020 with the new plan.

“It’s a real number, and it’s a number that maybe isn’t flashy, but five, 10 (or) 20 years out, it’s the kind of thing that is going to directly effect the quality of life for future generations,” Granville said.

Now that the council has agreed on a timeline and how much water the city expects to save, it is up to a panel of city experts to come up with plans and strategies that will help the city achieve those goals. Some of the strategies will involve a 2 to 3 percent overall reduction in water usage, Granville said. Others will include reworking rebates and other incentives aimed to get the public involved in conservation.

Currently, the city offers a flat $250 rebate for homeowners that choose to remodel their yards to a desert or more water-conservative landscape, but now the city will look to make that rebate more appealing.
Granville said having a flat rate of $250 might be appealing to people with smaller yards, but it was hardly an appealing number for people with larger landscapes to remodel.

“Not everyone in Tempe has a small lawn; some people live on a third of an acre or half an acre, And for them, $250 isn’t really much of an incentive to do what would really be a considerable and expensive amount of work,” Granville said. “So one of the enhancements that we’re looking at is having it so that we’ll create a similar dollar amount, but then it will be scaled based on the square footage of the yard that you convert.”

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