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City replacing old shower heads
Cutting costs for residents with low-flow fixtures
Web Shower head
The water-saving shower head and wand that are available from the city of Statesboro are shown. - photo by JEFF HARRISON/staff

    A new program being launched by the City of Statesboro will offer local families a considerable break on monthly water bills and promote conservation efforts to boot.
    In an endeavor to cut back on water use, the city’s Water/Wastewater Department has kicked off an initiative to infuse dwellings with more water- and cost-efficient fixtures.
    Currently, and on an indefinite basis, home-owners looking to save money on water bills can exchange old shower heads for new ‘water-wise’ heads by visiting the Water/Wastewater offices on East Main Street, a couple of doors down from City Hall.
    “Anybody that owns their home can take their old shower heads off and bring them to the office,” said Wayne Johnson, Director of Water/Wastewater. “When they bring [the heads] in, we will give them up to two new low-flow heads to replace the old ones.”
    According to Johnson, home owners will be allowed to choose between a handheld or fixed-style head. In December, two additional versions will be stocked at the office, he said.
    The new, more efficient shower heads could amount to substantial savings for home owners without sacrificing any performance.
    “If you are in an older home— built before 1993 or so — you probably have a shower head that uses five gallons per minute,” Johnson said. “The new shower heads use only 1.3 gallons per minute. And, of course, showers are one of the biggest users of water in a house. A family of four could probably cut their water bill by 10 to 15 percent by going to the low-flow heads.”
    And, “with the new water-wise heads, you can not tell the difference between them and the old-style heads,” he said. “Seven or eight years ago, with the old low-flow heads, you could not even feel the water coming out of them. But these new heads are really nice, and you can literally not feel the difference.”
    People also can trim bills in another way, Johnson said.
    “If [residents] bring in a receipt or proof that they have installed a water-wise toilet, or dual-flush toilet, we will provide a one-time $50 credit towards their sewer bill,” he said. “If [an owner] switches to the low flow toilets, it would probably cut their water bill another 10 percent.”
    For the time being, the program is limited to owner-occupied, single family residences, according to Johnson. The city hopes to expand the effort to include rental units and other residences in the future to increase conservation, he said.
    “[The program] is just getting started,” Johnson said. “We have got to start promoting conservation now. We have a limited amount of water available, and we have to start using it more wisely and making it last longer.”
   
    Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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