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Stop flushing money
Manteca ups toilet rebate to $75
Toilets are notorious for their silent leaks and can steal thousands of gallons of water.

Manteca businesses — especially restaurants — may be flushing money down the drain.

It is why the Manteca City Council last week bumped up the municipal rebate for those that replace less efficient toilets with higher efficiency toilets from $50 to $75. The rebate, traditionally accessed by homeowners, can now be used by businesses and owners of residential rental property as Manteca seeks ways to further reduce water consumption.

“We think that might be enough of incentive to get people (to change out toilets),” Ron Light, chairman of the 10-member citizens’ water conservation committee told the council last week.

Light noted the city’s list of the 100 largest water users included four restaurants.

He estimated if one of those restaurants had a pre-2006 high efficiency toilet they would take 1.6 gallons per flush. The new designs use only 1.23 million gallons. A 10 percent savings based on average use would translate into 122,000 gallons a year.

A quick check of three central Manteca restaurants this week showed two had toilets that were significantly older than the toilets Light was referring to when speaking before the council. Replacing those would result in even higher water savings. Older toilets can use as much as 4 more gallons per flush than the latest high efficiency models.

Staff stressed the rebate couldn’t be more than the cost of the toilet. While most high efficiency models cost in excess of $100 because they tend to fit in with décor and meet other needs, a quick look at toilets available at Home Depot that qualify for the rates shows it is possible to buy one for $69 meaning you can essentially get a new toilet for free under the rebate program as well as start saving money by reducing your water bill.

Toilets are the largest user of indoor water for homes accounting for 26 percent of a typical household’s consumption according to the American Water Works Association. Clothes washers are next at 21.7 percent, followed by showers and baths at 16.8 percent, faucets at 15.7 percent, and leaks at 13.7 percent, and other at 5.3 percent.

The AWWA notes replacing an existing toilet depending upon its age can cut water use by 20 to 60 percent. A running toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water a day.

Lawn to garden

Rebate cap kicked

up to $650

The council also adopted a committee recommendation to increase the residential rebate cap for those converting lawns to gardens from $500 to $650. The city pays $1 per square foot that is converted. The committee believed increasing that to $650 would encourage people to remove more of their lawn and replace it with shrubs and trees that are more water efficient.

They arrived at that figure by examining those that had already participated in the program

The city as mid-August has received 97 residential lawn-to-garden applications that represent 58,644 sure fete of an average of 644 square feet per home. The council also agreed to reimburse those already approved retroactively up to the $650 cap.

The council also agreed to keep the 10-member committee in place to continue advising the council on ways that water can be saved.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email