“Reverse Auction” Rebate Program Could Help Rahway Homeowners Save Water & Money

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RAHWAY—Rahway homeowners may be able to obtain financial assistance to upgrade their old appliances and water fixtures through a special ‘reverse rebate’ auction.

The Rahway “Name Your Own Rebate” program is designed to allow Rahway residents to bid on the price they are willing to pay for products that save water such as high efficiency toilets, faucets, showerheads and washing machines. These are normally the biggest water wasters in the home and through this program Rahway residents can save on products that help them save water.

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Rahway residents can go to www.water.rutgers.edu to see the list of appliances and fixtures included and bid on the amount they think they should get back to purchase any of the items listed. Bids will be accepted until March 1.

All of the products available through this program are low water using fixtures, many of which carry the EPA WaterSense™ label guaranteeing they use at least 20 percent less water while ensuring product performance.

According to the EPA’s WaterSense™ program, the average older washing machine uses about 41 gallons of water per load, while high-efficiency washing machines use less than 28 gallons of water per load.  In addition, a typical single-family suburban household uses at least 30 percent of their water outdoors for irrigation. Some experts estimate that more than 50 percent of landscape water use goes to waste due to evaporation or runoff caused by overwatering.

In 2008 alone, WaterSense™ labeled toilets, faucets, and faucet accessories helped American consumers save more than 9.3 billion gallons of water and realize more than $55 million in savings on water and sewer bills. That is enough water to supply 100,000 average households for a year.

In New Jersey, although water seems plentiful, in reality, increasing population growth progressively strains the state’s water supply. Rahway is participating with the Rutgers Water Resources Program and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to help develop a Water Conservation Program.

“New Jersey’s water supply problems are different then other parts of the country,” says Michele Bakacs, environmental and resource management agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County who helped develop the program along with the Rahway Environmental Commission.

“We get a lot of rain, and people think conserving water is not important. But we have so many people who use potable water for their lawns, and for indoor uses like toilets and washing machines. New Jersey’s demand for water is starting to outweigh our supply. We are testing incentive programs like the ‘Name Your Rebate for Water Savings’ to determine how residents can reduce indoor water consumption, without hurting their wallets.”

This uniquely indoor water-saving program is available to Rahway residents only. Since funding is limited, residents will have a better chance of receiving a rebate with a lower bid. The program, which is funded by the EPA and the NJ DEP Division of Water Supply, is coordinated by the Rutgers Water Resources Program with much appreciated sponsorship from American Standard, W.A. Birdsall & Co., and Home Depot.

Residents can get more information and bid on their rebates on the Rutgers Water Resources Program website at www.water.rutgers.edu.  Applications should also be available at Rahway City Hall, and more information is available from Michele Bakacs at 1-732-398-5274 or at bakacs@njaes.rutgers.edu.


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