Sunday, April 21, 2024 at 3:21 AM

City preparing irrigation system, rainwater harvesting rebate programs

As Boerne and Kendall County remain in an extreme drought classification heading into the spring and summer months, the city is creating a program to financially reward residents who take steps to upgrade their irrigation systems.

Ryan Bass, city environmental program manager, briefed City Council March 26 on plans for the rebate program he anticipates will be in full use by late spring.

“We really truly want to incentivize someone to take action and upgrade their system,” Bass said.

One of the three rebates addresses installation of irrigation system rain/freeze sensors, which cost about $100. Bass said the rebate will pay a resident $100 to have that service performed.

A second $100 rebate involves a residential irrigation system consultation.

Irrigation system owners contact any state-licensed irrigator who will inspect the home or landowner’s system and evaluate its effectiveness.

“They come to the house and operate the system,” Bass said. “They look at the timing. They look at what drought stage we’re in, and make sure everything is set up correctly.

“They’ll look at spray heads and see whether they are functioning properly. They will provide that resident with a list of recommendations based on the evaluation,” he added.

A lot of systems, he said, “are just irrigating too long ... water that is not needed is being used on the landscape. This is a definite money-saver for that customer.”

The $100 is about the average cost of scheduling a consultant appointment.

A $150 rebate is being proposed for rainwater harvesting.

“They can either purchase and install a 50-gallon system at their house, or a 1,000-gallon system, there’s no size limit,” he said. “We thought a $150 flat rebate was a good starting point to get people introduced to rainwater harvesting.”

All the measures are designed to help irrigation system owners reduce water consumption, eliminate wasteful water practices and upgrade older systems to help conserve water and money.

“Since March 2022 we’ve either been in the extreme or exceptional drought classification,” he said. “We are not receiving the rainfall needed to re-establish base flow in our streams and rivers, and bring the lakes up that we rely on for a potable water source.”

Bass said Boerne residents use 125 gallons of water per person, per day out of the city’s potable water system, which is better than the state average of 137 gallons.

“Our target in the water conservation plan is to reduce that water use per day by 7 gallons. That’s a five-year plan,” he said.

He said the rebate program will be just another tool in the city’s arsenal of saving water, and for residents to save money in the process.


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