How New York is preparing for growth by motivating people to save water

We don’t have enough water for everyone. Fourteen of the world’s 20 largest megacities already struggle with water shortages. And with the global trend of people moving to cities, the pressure is on to find ways to stretch water supplies.

While conservation isn’t a new idea, SUEZ Conserve, a program from Council partner SUEZ is helping to magnify its impact. As you’ll read below, the smart use of incentives in some suburbs of New York City can save customers substantial amounts of money — and the region can save enough water to supply 15,000 new residents. It’s a true win-win. — Kevin Ebi

A program that combines conservation incentives with a partnership between water and energy providers is on its way to saving part of New York a million gallons of water a day — key to helping the area prepare for population growth.

The effort between Council partner SUEZ and Orange and Rockland, the electric and gas utility that serves two New York counties is designed to conserve enough water to be able to supply 15,000 new residents without placing an additional strain on the area’s existing resources.

Motivating residents to do their part
The rich conservation incentives provided to residents could potentially allow them to get the equivalent of a free month’s worth of water each year. Incentives defray the cost of washing machines, toilets, showerheads and other household devices.

The savings can be substantial. In the case of showerheads, the rebates reduce the cost by 80 percent. Already, SUEZ says residents have redeemed nearly 2,500 rebates either in-store or through the program website.

Helping businesses do their part, too
In addition to its program for residential customers, business customers that use a substantial amount of water can request a free water audit to identify ways to save water and money.

With a team of partners, SUEZ has conducted over 50 audits of commercial properties that have high potential to save water through updated fixtures. Each customer receives a two-page report with current water use, potential savings and rebate savings estimates.

SUEZ says most commercial customers have a payback period of less than two years.