Council committee considers incentives for cisterns

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The Raleigh City Council’s Budget and Economic Development Committee voted today to move forward with incentives for residential water cisterns and drought-resistant landscaping. The ideas will go to the city’s Water Conservation Task Force to firm up the recommendations and then to a public hearing.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, who chairs the committee, said during Tuesday’s meeting that he hoped to have something in place early next year.

The committee has two questions to answer about the incentives program before bringing a formal proposal back to the full council. The first is whether the city should recommend or require new landscaping be drought resistant. The second is how, if at all, the city should give incentives for installing residential cisterns or drought-resistant landscaping.

Councilor and committee member Nancy McFarlane told the committee that she recently installed a cistern at her home. She said the 2,500 to 3,000 gallon tank cost about $8,000 to install.

Committee members brought up the issue of extending these incentives to businesses, but Meeker said he wanted to focus first on residential water customers before taking up the issue for commercial customers.

The Water Conservation Task Force, which will take up the recommendations next, technically does not exist since they delivered their final report earlier this month. Meeker said staff should ask the members who want to keeping working with the city on water conservation issues to bring the task force back together to address the questions over incentives for water-saving measures.

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