Conserve to Enhance

For Immediate Release

November 2nd, 2010

WMG Media Contact:
Lisa Shipek
(520) 396-3266

Pilot Program Will Enhance Desert Rivers through Individual Water Conservation
$500 – $1,000 Water Harvesting Subsidies Offered to Pilot Participants

This fall, Tucsonans can participate in a unique pilot program that links individual water conservation efforts with local river and stream enhancement. This program is known as Conserve to Enhance (C2E) and is the result of a collaboration between the Sonoran Institute, the UA Water Resources Research Center, and Watershed Management Group.

Forty-five pilot participants will receive a $500 to $1,000 subsidy to install water harvesting practices as the first step in the program. Those interested in participating in the pilot can apply online at until January 7th, 2010. People who want to save water and donate their savings, and don’t need the subsidy, can also apply and participate.

The C2E program works as follows: 1) participants install water conservation technologies at their home, 2) they track their monthly water bill savings in comparison to their historical use, and 3) they make quarterly donations to the C2E program based on their monthly savings.

Funds donated by participants will go directly to the environment to restore river and stream vegetation, create in-stream flows needed for a healthy ecosystem, invest in reclaimed water use, and increase groundwater levels. The funds generated by program participants are overseen by a community advisory board. The advisory board recently selected the Swan Wetlands and Atturbury Wash restoration projects as the beneficiaries to receive the funds generated through the pilot.

Pilot participants who receive the water harvesting subsidy will participate in Watershed Management Group’s Co-op program. The Co-op is based on the barn-raising model where members help each other install green practices under the guidance of a skilled instructor. Through the Co-op, members learn firsthand how to install water harvesting practices, such as cisterns, greywater systems, and rainwater catchment landscapes. The Co-op also ensures the cost of installing such practices is affordable, thanks to the volunteer labor of other members.

For more information or to apply to the C2E program, please visit or contact Lisa Shipek at or call 520-396-3266.