Simi May OK $100 Rebates for Water-Saving Toilets : Conservation: Based on the response to an earlier program, officials hope to see about 600 high-volume models replaced.


California’s drought may be officially over, but conservation-minded staff members in Simi Valley want to make sure that residents don’t keep flushing away thousands of gallons of water unnecessarily.

On Monday, they will ask the Simi Valley City Council to approve a plan to offer residents a $100 reward for switching to an “ultra-low flush” toilet.

“The big drought may be over, but we are in an area that has perpetual water shortages,” said Michael Kleinbrodt, the city’s deputy public works director. “Our supplies are always going to be under pressure. We have an obligation to conserve that valuable resource.”


Conventional high-volume toilets use five to seven gallons per flush. City officials want to encourage residents to switch to models that use 1.6 gallons or less per flush.

Kleinbrodt said a previous rebate program, which ended in April, led to the retrofitting of 530 toilets in 274 Simi Valley homes.

Under the new proposal, one new water-stingy toilet will qualify for a $100 rebate. Each additional one in the same household will lead to a $50 rebate.

Based on the response to the previous program, the city expects to see about 600 high-volume flush toilets hit the scrap heap, replaced with more drought-conscious devices.

City Council members must approve the plan because they serve as directors of Ventura County Waterworks District No. 8, which provides water to about 60% of Simi Valley’s residents. The private Southern California Water Co., which serves the remainder of the city, is planning a similar rebate program.

The cost of the rebates is being shared by the local water district and two wholesale suppliers--the Calleguas Municipal Water District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.


The council will be asked to allocate up to $47,000, covering the local share of rebates for 600 toilets, plus permit and inspection fees.

The program is to be administered by a private contractor, the Roberts Co., which will inform residents which toilet models qualify for the rebates. The company will issue rebate checks after a city inspector has confirmed that the new model has been installed.

Residents must purchase and put the toilets in themselves or hire a plumber to do so. City staff members estimate that replacing a high-volume toilet will cost about $225.

The Simi Valley program is part of a larger rebate project aimed at replacing 5,000 high-volume toilets throughout Ventura County, said Donald R. Kendall, general manager of Calleguas, the wholesale agency that serves 75% of the county’s residents.

A previous program launched by Calleguas in 1992 was highly successful, Kendall said.

“We ran out of rebates,” he said. “We serve an area that has half a million people, and they went pretty quickly.”

Kendall said the program is important because this year’s wet winter has caused some people to forget the water rationing that was imposed locally in 1990 and 1991.


“We know droughts are going to occur again,” he said. “The population in Ventura County continues to grow, and we are trying to prevent having to do water rationing again in this county.”