The City of Guelph, Ontario continues to blaze a trail in water conservation and efficiency. Just a few weeks ago, the City defined vulnerable local water supply source areas in need of protection in compliance with the provincial Clean Water Act. It also introduced rebates for installing water efficient furnace-mounted humidifiers and waterless floor drain trap devices in homes.

Last week, the City announced that it will offer residents a $2,000 rebate towards the purchase and installation of a home rainwater harvesting system in 2010.

“Installing a home rainwater harvesting system is an involved but rewarding undertaking,” said Wayne Galliher, the City’s Water Conservation project manager. “Using harvested rainwater for water activities in and around the home will help conserve Guelph’s groundwater supply, save homeowners money on their water bills and reduce the demand on our municipal water system.”

The home rainwater harvesting system collects rain and melted snow from the roof and eavestroughs and stores it in a large underground cistern for later use. This water is then filtered, purified and used inside the home for toilet flushing and outside for gardening, lawn watering and other activities that do not require drinking quality water.

Reusing rainwater and melted snow to flush the toilet can save a family of three 69,000 litres of water per year—approximately 30 per cent on a home’s indoor water use. On top of these savings, treated rainwater can also be used for almost all outdoor seasonal water use activities.

The Rainwater Harvesting System Rebate Program is a program recommendation of the City’s Guelph Water Conservation and Efficiency Strategy Update.  This strategy was approved by Guelph City Council in May of 2009 and aims to reduce Guelph’s water use by 8.7 million litres of water per day by 2019.

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