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Anti-Drought Rebates Dry Up


Isn't it like the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, when faced with a 100-year drought, to stop giving rebates to customers who purchase water-saving toilets and appliances? The official reason is that the rebate program was so popular among conservation-minded citizens served by the 26 agencies that buy water from MWD that it ran out of funding. It's understandable that government agencies, in these times of self-inflicted economic disaster, are finding themselves short of funds. But isn't this rebate program exactly the kind of scheme that not only promotes water conservation but also engages the public with a sense of participation?

According to the L.A. Times, MWD says that slow accounting procedures allowed it to fall behind in figuring how much it owed to individual customers and to vendors who install water-saving devices. Turns out the agency owes $14.2 million, which MWD says it will try to disburse within the next month. File it all under Mistakes Were Made Dept., because even though MWD says it will try to start up the program again later this summer, the Times piece notes that the money will come too late to save some of the companies that participated in the program to install the water-saving devices. (And no, we're not talking bricks in the toilet tank.) These companies are finding out the hard way that there's no such thing as an IOU in a drought.

Meanwhile, a Poway, California company called Coast Molding has

announced that West Coast water departments from Seattle to Santa Cruz

are giving out, at no charge to their customers, the company's shower

timers. Needless to say, the MWD is not one of the agencies passing out

the Shorter Shower devices.


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