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Helping reduce water use

Manitobans could save at least 80 million litres of water annually and households would collectively cut their water bills by $2 million under the new WaterSmart Manitoba program, Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick has announced.

“We want to leave a legacy of abundant, clean water to the next generation,” Melnick said in a release. “Our program provides incentives to reward Manitobans who make water-efficiency improvements. These incentives are part of an overall update of water conservation guiding principles to ensure we are making the best use of our most precious resource.”

The program, to be supported by a campaign educating Manitobans about the benefits of conserving water through efficient use, includes:

Expanding Manitoba’s Power Smart loan program to include high-efficiency toilets as part of other renovations that reduce utility costs. The Manitoba government will provide funding to Manitoba Hydro to offset additional administration costs.

Doubling the federal government’s $50 EcoENERGY rebate for dual-flush, high-efficiency toilets by providing an additional $50.

Providing instant $50 rebates for dual-flush toilets at selected retailers, following the successful model used in the cities of Toronto and Calgary.

Investing to expand Manitoba’s province-wide, low-income, energy-efficiency program to include water efficiency.

Launching consultations on how to restrict the sale of inefficient fixtures such as 13-litre toilets.

The minister also noted that Manitoba’s building code will be updated by 2010 to include water and energy efficiency, a measure that has been enshrined in legislation as part of the Climate Change and Emissions Reductions Act passed in June.

Melnick said $500,000 is being invested in WaterSmart in its first year. It will be officially launched in January 2009.

More information on how to be WaterSmart is available at: www.gov.mb.ca/seeinggreen/waters-mart.html.

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