s
s
Sections
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, nearly 1.5 million people used their mobile devices to visit our sites.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Wow! You read a lot!
Reading enhances confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction. Keep it up! Subscribe.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
Until next month, you can always look over someone's shoulder at the coffee shop.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Supporting the community that supports us.
Obviously you value quality local journalism. Thank you.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
We miss you already! (Subscriptions start at just 99 cents.)
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
X

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

X

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Windsor's innovative water conservation program has been extended for another year by Town Council members, despite some who said it's too early to pronounce it a success.

The council unanimously agreed to extend the program through June 2014, saying it is off to a promising start.

"I think it's working now," said Mayor Robin Goble, who last year voted against the pilot program when it was implemented on a 3-2 vote.

While too early to make a definitive judgment, "It's going the right way," she said.

The program allows residents to install devices such as low-flow toilets and showerheads, and convert lawns to drought-resistant landscaping, without any upfront cost or taking on of debt.

Financed by the town, homeowners and renters pay for the upgrades over five to 15 years with a small surcharge on their bill.

The town promises the savings on their water-sewer bill will be greater than the monthly surcharges.

There were some delays in getting the program operating after it was approved, but those appear to be resolved.

More than 300 residential customers have enrolled in Windsor Efficiency PAYS, or Pay As You Save, as it is called. They are saving an average of about $30 per month on their bi-monthly utility bills and an average of 10,000 gallons annually per household, according to town officials.

But some Windsor residents, like Fran Tanti, are reporting much more dramatic savings. "I was astounded by the amount," Tanti told the council. "My bill went from $175 to $66, a savings of $109."

"I am so enthused by this program," she said.

Windsor hopes to have 2,000 customers, or one-quarter of the town's households, signed up. That would save more than 30 million gallons annually as outdoor and indoor water uses are reduced.

"I can feel it taking off," said Councilwoman Debora Fudge. "I'm getting emails from people who are excited. The momentum is just starting."

Councilman Sam Salmon said the program is producing results and makes residents feel good about where they live. Participants "feel they can do something day-to-day to help the environment," he said.

Councilman Bruce Okrepkie noted that water is a precious commodity and essential to conserve.

"It's too early to get a sense of the program," he said "but everyone I talk to thinks highly of it and what it's doing."

Councilman Steve Allen last year cast a "no" vote on the pilot program, expressing qualms about the bids submitted by the landscape contractor who replaces the turf for participants. He said the bid was half the amount of the next highest, indicating something was amiss and the bids should have been thrown out.

This year he voted in favor of extending the program and expressed excitement about the amount of water savings participants are achieving inside their homes.

Ann Hancock, executive director of the Santa Rosa-based County Climate Protection Campaign, commended the council for its leadership on the issue.

"It's a very, very promising program," she said.

Windsor Efficiency PAYS is getting regional and national attention, according to Lauren Casey, a manager with the Sonoma County Climate Protection Authority.

"There's growing momentum from positive referrals," she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or clark.mason@pressdemocrat.com.

Show Comment