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James City County residents will have to apply for rebates covering water-conserving appliances within 180 days of purchase and installation thanks to a new policy that went into effect Wednesday.
Previously, James City Service Authority customers could apply for one of several rebates for appliances installed Jan. 1, 2010 or later. Now the customers must file the request within 180 days of the purchase and installation of the appliance.
The county offers rebate programs for the installation of high-efficiency toilets, washing machines, hot water recirculators and dishwashers. Rebates are also available for yards landscaped using water-saving techniques, for the installation of rain sensors and for purchasing and installing rain barrels.
In addition to the shorter window for rebate applications, the rules now say the applicant and installation address pertaining to a rebate must be a JCSA residential water customer. Previously, the rules did not specify the installation address had to be connected to a JCSA residential account.
For more information about the rebate program, visit its official website.
JCSA encourages the use of water-saving techniques due to the county’s reliance on groundwater. It is the largest utility in the state that relies primarily on ground water. During the summer, 60 to 70 percent of the total water used by the county is for landscaping, according to JCSA’s website.
Toilets are also a major user of water. They often use more water than advertised due to leaks and inefficiency.
James City County is currently negotiating with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for a new permit to withdraw groundwater. The county’s permit currently allows for the withdrawal of up to 8.8 million gallons of water per day. The county typically uses around 5.4 million gallons per day, while DEQ has indicated it would like to cut the amount of water the county can withdraw to 3.8 million to 4 million gallons per day.
The county may be allowed to continue drawing more water than DEQ’s preferred amount thanks to a new law introduced into the General Assembly by Sen. Tommy Norment (R-3). That law prohibits DEQ from reducing how much water permitees can withdraw until the newly formed Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee gets a chance to implement a strategy for groundwater management.