The Town has added several new items to the rebate program, including an outdoor water timer for garden hoses and a WaterSavor Controller for flow-through humidifier systems in homes.
An additional 17 drought-tolerant perennials, shrubs and trees have also been added, with over 55 varieties of plants to choose from. Once established, eligible perennials use 40 to 60 percent less water than a traditional lawn or gardenscape.
Drought-tolerant plants were first added to the rebate program in 2018 and were the second most popular item, accounting for 26 percent of the total approved rebates, after organic mulch (35 percent).
“Most of the eligible rebate items not only help residents save money and time, but also conserve water long-term,” said Jinny Toffelmire, Environment and Sustainability Specialist. “Reducing outdoor water consumption is extremely important as demand for water peaks during the summer months when the Sheep River aquifer is at its lowest.”
This year the Town has also increased the number of xeriscape projects to five, with approved projects receiving up to $1000 through the rebate program. An eligible project consists of a xeriscaped area that is a minimum of 500 square feet, with 50 percent of the new area being drought-tolerant plants.
“We saw quite a bit of interest in the xeriscape pilot last year and have added it as a permanent item to the rebate program,” said Toffelmire. “Feedback from xeriscape participants from last year has been very positive, and we are encouraging all residents with undeveloped yards or those who want to redesign their yard to consider xeriscaping.”
“Xeriscaping was an idea that I was looking at for a couple of years and applying for the xeriscape rebate program helped out with the landscaping costs,” said Wayne Meikle, who updated his yard as part of the xeriscape pilot last year. “It will save me a lot of money in the long run, because I won’t have to water my yard anymore or worry about the deer eating my plants.”
Other approved water rebate items include rainwater harvesting systems, rain sensors, WaterSense® irrigation controllers, mulch, drought-tolerant turf and rain barrels.
Residential homeowners or renters in Okotoks who have a water utility account with the Town are eligible for rebates, which will be applied to residents’ utility bills. Rebates are first-come, first-served until the end of the year or until all funds are depleted.
Application forms will be available online and accepted by the Town starting May 1, 2019. A list of eligible plants, rebate amounts and full program details can be found online at okotoks.ca/WaterRebate.