British Columbia

Non-profit in Salt Spring Island, B.C. offers rebate to homeowners collecting rainwater

A non-profit organization dedicated to fighting climate change is encouraging residents to take advantage of the rain this fall by installing a rainwater collection system on their property.

Participating homeowners can get back $250 to $500

On Oct. 1, Transition Salt Spring launched a pilot project to offer homeowners on Salt Spring Island a $250 to $500 rebate for installing a rainwater harvesting system on their property. (Meghan McKee/North Salt Spring Waterworks District)

A non-profit organization in Salt Spring Island, B.C., dedicated to fighting climate change is encouraging residents to take advantage of the rain this fall by installing a rainwater collection system.

Transition Salt Spring (TSS), with the help of the Capital Regional District, piloted the Rainwater Harvesting Rebate program on Oct. 1, which offers homeowners $250 to $500 for installing cisterns to catch and store rainwater on their property.

"The interest for an island our size ... has been tremendous," TSS chair Bryan Young told CBC's On the Island host Gregor Craigie. "We actually had to close the application window after just under 10 days."

He says 27 applications are currently going through the rebate program, which will help save about 100,000 litres of well water a year.

The need for programs like this is growing, Young says, as an unprecedented heat wave in the province this past summer brought one of the worst drought seasons to the Gulf Islands.

"We really need to see local governments more on an emergency footing when it comes to dealing with the droughts, which create quite a forest fire risk on the southern Gulf Islands," he said. 

He says it can cost about $2,000 to install a 500-gallon water collecting system.

"It really depends on how much of a garden folks have or how much irrigation they do ... but a thousand gallon is a really good place to start," he said.

There's currently a waitlist for homeowners who wish to participate in rebate program.

"I bet you anything before the money is made available again, we're probably going to have a full waitlist."

With files from On the Island

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