Windsor's water-saving program extended, lauded

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."

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