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PAWSD ‘Credit for Clunkers’ program saves money, water

Like the federal “Cash for Clunkers” stimulus program that sought to take old gas-guzzling automobiles off the road and replace them with more fuel efficient counterparts, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) is offering a “Credit for Clunkers” rebate program that seeks to decommission old water wasting fixtures and appliances and replace them with more efficient ones.

Nearly half of all indoor domestic water consumption comes from the toilet and washing machine. PAWSD offers rebate credit for the replacement of old water-guzzling clunkers; $75 or $125 for Low-flow / high efficiency toilets, $125 for high efficiency washing machines.

Since the debut of the programs in 2003, 298 toilets and 93 washing machines have been replaced, which has culminated in an overall water savings of approximately 2,883,263 gallons, or 8.84 acre feet. That’s enough water to have the even the tallest Bronco swimming to keep his head above the 7 feet of water covering Invesco Field.

The Rebate program is simple. First, fill out the rebate application (available at the PAWSD offices or online at, then bring the receipt of purchase along with the old water wasting clunker to the PAWSD offices at 100 Lyn Ave. PAWSD will apply the rebate amount as a credit to your current water bill and will properly recycle the old toilet or washing machine.

Though the rebate program won’t jumpstart the local economy with an injection of billions of sales dollars, it does save water — a benefit to us all. The more water that is saved, the less pressing the immediate need for costly water pipe, pump, plant and storage expansion projects.

Per its 2008 Water Conservation Plan (viewable at, PAWSD seeks to reduce its “overall water use by 9 to 10 percent by 2018, which amounts to a savings of about 400 to 500 acre-feet of annual water production.” That’s enough water to fill Invesco field, from the goal posts to the flood lights, about four times over, annually.

Though lofty, this goal is within reach so long as the community takes advantage of the conservation incentives and information available. In terms of water conservation, it takes a concerted effort by the people to fully realize the water saving potential achievable through simple habit alterations and awareness.

Together, everyone can make difference.

For additional water conservation tips, including interactive games, surf to the new PAWSD conservation Web site at