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City rebates for low-flow toilets, high efficiency washers popular
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Foreclosure sales are having a positive impact on water consumption.

And it’s not from banks letting the grass die.

Not only are buyers of foreclosed Manteca homes - especially older ones - getting the best prices in years in terms of affordability but they are also investing in high efficiency washing machines and low-flow toilets as well making weatherization improvements aimed at reducing the ongoing cost of home maintenance.

The City of Manteca offers rebate programs for high efficiency washing machines as well as low flush toilets in a bid to reduce water consumption. The No. 1 household use of water is toilets followed by showering and baths and then washing machines. In most homes, though, the lawn and landscape watering actually is the biggest water user overall.

In a typical household of four a low-flow toilet can reduce water consumption by at least 20 gallons a day saving a household on monthly water bills as well as reducing demand for water.

Low flow toilets use 1.6 gallons of water or less per flush. Technology has steadily been improving to reduce the water needed to flush toilets since the 1950s when it was 7 gallons per flush. It improved to 5.5 gallons per flush by the end of the 1960s and newer toilets in the 1980s got it down to 3.5 gallons per flush.

Normally Manteca receives 155 high-efficiency washing machine rebate requests and 20 low-flow toilet rebate applications a year. Through the end of November of this year the city has already received 144 requests for the washing machine rebates and 42 for toilet rebates.

The City Council on Tuesday is being asked by staff to appropriate $32,000 from the water maintenance and operation account’s undesignated reserve to allow the city to continue to offer rebates at the current rate of 30 washing machines a month and 12 toilets a month through June 2011.

The water account is funded by monthly charges to users. It does not impact the general fund.

Rebate information - which can run as high as $75 for a washing machine - as well as applications are available at the Manteca Civic Center’s one-stop desk for community development and public works needs.

The Manteca City Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.