The Southern Nevada Water Authority's (SNWA) Water Efficient Technologies program (WET), which offers monetary incentives for businesses that convert to water-savings technologies, reached a milestone recently as it surpassed more than 1 billion gallons saved since its inception in 2001.
"As with residents participating in our successful Water Smart Landscapes Rebate program, businesses involved in the WET program are doing their share to help the community extend its water supply through highly innovative techniques," said SNWA conservation manager Doug Bennett.
WET offers financial incentives of up to $150,000 to commercial and multifamily property owners who install water-efficient devices. Examples include toilet retrofits, water-efficient showerheads, waterless urinals, onsite reuse systems, conversion of sports fields from grass to artificial surfaces and cooling tower improvements.
To qualify for the program, customers must create at least 500,000 gallons of annual savings. The program allows applicants to combine technologies and multiple business locations to meet the threshold. Businesses also can work with the SNWA to implement custom technologies that meet their business needs, then qualify for a performance-based monetary incentive.
Consumptive-use technologies (for water not returned to the sanitary sewer system, such as landscape irrigation) earn up to $10 for every 1,000 gallons conserved annually. Nonconsumptive-use (primarily indoor water use) technologies earn up to $2.50 for every 1,000 gallons conserved annually.
Jaime Cruz, director of energy and environmental services for MGM Mirage, said the company has saved more than seven million gallons of water annually at the Mirage Hotel and Casino alone after completing a cooling tower upgrade that maximizes efficiency.
"There are a variety of technologies we utilize at MGM Mirage properties," Cruz said. "Indoors, we use highly efficient sinks, toilets, showers and urinals. Outdoors, we use computerized landscaping systems that take into consideration weather conditions like wind and moisture content so that we irrigate plants only when they need the water."
Nevada Linen Supply President Steve Stith said his company has reduced water consumption by about 60 percent annually after implementing WET technologies.
"The Water Efficient Technologies program allows us to serve our customers, including many in the restaurant and hotel industry, in the most efficient manner possible," Stith said.
Thanks to community participation in WET, the Water Smart Landscapes Rebate Program and compliance with mandatory watering restrictions, Southern Nevada is continuing a trend of declining water use. The community's consumptive water use dropped by about 18 billion gallons between 2002 and 2006, despite the addition of more than 330,000 new residents and nearly 40 million annual visitors in that span.