Water utility customers on eastern Long Island can take advantage of greater incentives this year to invest in conservation.
The Suffolk County Water Authority has more than doubled its account credits for thrifty tech, including low-flow showerheads and "smart" irrigation controllers. Individual accounts now can be credited up to $250 for the purchase of multiple devices, up from a previous maximum of $50.
Qualifying devices include rain sensors, faucet aerators, Wi-Fi-enabled leak detection, solar pool covers, water-pressure regulators, and rain barrels. The credits range from $15 for a faucet aerator up to $150 for an irrigation controller. Purchases have to have been made on or after Feb. 1 of this year; water-saving gear bought before that date is still eligible, though at the older, less-generous rates. The $250 total bill credit runs through January 2026, after which, it is likely to be reset. Details are at scwa.com/waterwise.
The account credit increases follow strains on the water supply during the summer of 2022. Excessive heat and drought conditions caused irrigation systems to run overtime. In January, the water authority board voted to implement an odd-even watering schedule, based on customers' street numbers.
Lawn and landscape watering is now prohibited for water authority customers between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. -- the hottest time of the day, when water is least likely to penetrate plants and grass, and simply evaporates off in the heat. Properties served by their own wells are not affected.
Virtual and in-person looks at individual customer's water use -- and possibilities for cost savings -- can be scheduled on the water authority website as well.