Columbia Water & Light is proposing new rebates to promote water conservation.

The rebates would apply to the installation of high-efficiency toilets and upgrades that help lawn sprinklers conserve more water. The toilets would need to be WaterSense-certified by the EPA to qualify for the rebate. These toilets use a little over a gallon per flush, while older toilets can use up to six gallons per flush, according to the EPA’s website.

Rebates for most residential toilets would be $75, but households with low to moderate incomes could receive a $200 rebate. Businesses that install WaterSense toilets would also qualify for a $100 rebate.

A kit with other tools to help residents conserve water is also among the proposed rebates. The kit may include a low-flow shower head, a water faucet aerator or toilet leak detection dye.

The kits would be available for free to residents with qualifying incomes. Brandon Renaud, Columbia utility services managers, said a family of four with an income below $51,500 would qualify for the kit. He said the city’s estimated cost is $65 per kit.

Toilets are the largest indoor water user, Renaud said when proposing the rebates during an October work session of the Columbia City Council. He said these toilets use 38% less water per day.

Renaud said residents who install a WaterSense toilet could save $20 to $30 per year on their water bills.

The water utility would pay for this, but the City Council would have to approve a budget amendment for the project. The rebates would cost an estimated $75,000 in the first year.

Renaud said residents would most likely be able to apply online or with a paper form if the council approves the budget amendment.

  • Public Life reporter, fall 2019 Studying magazine writing and economics Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5720

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