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At 9,000 And Counting, SAWS Watersaver Coupon Has Takers Aplenty

San Antonio Water System
An Esperanza plant is one of the many eligible to be bought using the SAWS WaterSaver Coupon

The San Antonio Water System has issued a record number of landscaping coupons to customers wanting to lower yard water usage.

When SAWS first debuted its Watersaver Landscape Coupon program in 2013, there were about 4,000 applicants. Karen Guz, the Director of Conservation at SAWS, says the number “shocked us, honestly. we didn’t think we’d have that high of participation.”

This year, the program boasts more than 9,000 applications. Qualified property owners receive up $200 to pay for drought resistant plants. The coupons are redeemed at nurseries, and SAWS foots the bill. 

Guz said not all of them would be used. “It’s typical. About half of the coupons, honestly, that are issued [are used]. I think people get into it and realize ‘this is a lot of work’ and they might have applied for two coupons and only used one, which is fine. They can always come back and apply at another time.”

SAWS previously spent $200,000 from its conservation fund each time the program is offered, but expects to spend more this time. “The idea is it’s less expensive to help you use less water than it is to go out and get a new water supply,” explained Guz.

The program is offered two times a year to allow nurseries and growers enough time to meet anticipated demand in the spring and fall. In return for the coupons, consumers promise to remove 200 square feet of grass, which is about two parking spaces, and replace it with drought friendly landscaping. Registration for the coupons closed on June 30, however the program will resume on September 1.

In related news, SAWS is asking customers to offer their thoughts on year-round conservation rules. You may take their survey at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SAWS-YearRound

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules