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Water Department Press Release

The City of San Diego Letterhead

February 14, 2003

CONTACT: Ruby Enriquez
(619) 232-2112
[email protected]

Money Saving Strategies for the New Homeowner
By: Luis Generoso, Water Resources Manager for the City of San Diego Water Dept.

While rising housing costs haven't stopped San Diegans from investing in new houses, once they move in homeowners are always looking for new ways to save money. Since water is a necessity inside and outside any home, the City of San Diego Water Department offers a variety of programs that will save water and help decrease utility bills.

New homeowners usually find that bath and kitchen fixtures and appliances are already in the house. But one major appliance that probably needs to be purchased is a clothes washer. With all of the makes and models out on the market it becomes a daunting task to choose the right one. One excellent option is a high-efficiency clothes washer which can reduce water usage and, therefore, the utility bill.

High-efficiency washers are uniquely designed to use one-third less water and one-fourth less energy. Instead of agitating clothes back and forth, models like the front-loading horizontal-axis clothes washer gently lift, toss, and tumble clothes during the wash and rinse cycles and extract significantly more water during the spin cycle. Although they usually retail for slightly more than regular washers, San Diegans may be eligible to receive a voucher or coupon from the San Diego County Water Authority for a discount of up to $125. The voucher, combined with lower utility bills, can add up to long-term savings that more than pay for the initial cost. For more information on the High-Efficiency Washer Voucher Program, call 1-800-986-4538.

Although many new homes provide their indoor appliances, outdoor landscaping often needs to be planted. This is another costly expense. City of San Diego Water Department studies have found that nearly half of all residents' water usage goes towards irrigation. The good news is that to save money new homeowners do not have to sacrifice a beautiful garden. Those not born with a green thumb, or who are new to gardening, should look to the Water Department for water-saving techniques.

To create an outdoor garden that's beautiful, yet water-efficient, consider taking a trip to the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College. The Garden provides a variety of ideas and recommendations on topics like garden design, irrigation planning, types of turf, mulch, plants and trees, as well as retaining walls and outside structures such as gazebos. Parking and admission are free. For more information on the Water Conservation Garden, including hours of operation and special events, call 619-660-0614 or visit their website at www.thegarden.org.

Those who already have a garden and are focusing on outdoor water use and how much to water the landscape should log on to the free Landscape Watering Calculator at www.sandiego.gov/water/conservation. The calculator will produce a customized irrigation schedule based on the type of plants, lawn and soil. By irrigating the correct amount homeowners have the benefit of saving water and money, while also making sure their landscaping is as healthy as possible.

With help from the City's free resources, saving money when it comes to water use at home can be simple.

The Water Conservation Program reduces water demand through promoting or providing incentives for the installation of hardware that provides permanent water savings, and by providing services and information to help San Diegans make better decisions about water use. For more information about Water Conservation, visit www.sandiego.gov/water or call 619.515.3500.

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