Updated water bills and retrofit kits are on the way with the goal of conserving water in Charles County.
The recommendations were a part of a planned water conservation plan approved July 26 by the county commissioners.
The 37-page plan outlines the county’s efforts to conserve water based on tools developed by the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure optimal use of the county’s current supply.
The plan is designed to be updated every three years to account for new water conservation techniques to help serve changes in water demand.
“This is a living and changing document, and as we advance with this [plan] we will see how the project works,” Sam Simanovsky, chief of operations and maintenance for Charles County Department of Public Works, said.
The document was created as a joint venture between the department of planning and growth management and engineering firm Johnson, Mimran and Thompson Inc. in response to a request in 2020 to draw an extra 1.28 million gallons per day.
The extra supply was required to serve a forecasted increase in demand on the Waldorf Water System.
All of the supply would come from a new well designated Waldorf Well No. 16r that is expected to come online sometime this year.
An additional well, Waldorf Well No. 17, is expected to begin providing water to residents in 2023.
The county has future plans to draw an extra 3.6 million gallons per day through a connection with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission in 2026.
According Johnson, Mimran and Thompson Inc., the plan focused on updating bills and distributing retrofit kits because the savings would provide a net benefit in costs compared to how much water was being saved.
Updating the water bills would save the county about $716,000 in water-saved value over 20 years and fall in line with current efforts to make changes in the financial and billing system.
Water bills would be updated to show a breakdown of water use by rate tier, water use compared to previous billing cycles and other information to help residents make informed decisions on how to manage their water.
Updated bills would be sent out to customers starting in 2025 after a two-year period to select the updated billing software and develop updated bills for customers.
The county also plans an annual distribution of about 1,000 retrofit kits for homes that would save $4.6 million worth of water over 17 years.
The kits include a low-flow shower head, aerators to control flow of water from sinks and a toilet displacement device.
The items are designed to reduce water output and create a reduction in demand as well as lower water bills.
“There’s a lot of people who would love for that to happen,” Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins II (D) told Southern Maryland News.
Collins was in-person on Tuesday after attending the previous week’s session virtually due to testing positive for COVID-19.
Kit deliveries are expected to begin sometime in 2023 once a vendor and distribution list is developed.