It’s not every day that someone gets excited about a toilet.
“It looks so nice. It really does!”
But for 72 year-old Gloria LeMay, the new toilet is just part of a whole two days of excitement. Local non-profit Project Home is replacing her toilet, fixing a tub faucet leak, installing new windows and repairing a broken ceiling fan in her condo.
“It’s so it’s wonderful. I’m getting things fixed!”
The leak repair and high-efficiency toilet come courtesy of the Home Water Conservation Program, a new partnership between Project Home and Madison Water Utility aimed at helping low-to-mid income residents improve water efficiency in their homes. It’s the first program of its kind in the state.
“When you’re talking about fixing plumbing leaks and replacing toilets, which are big water users, those are areas where you can make a real impact,” says Jason Hafeman, outreach manager for Project Home. “Everyone has those situations in their home. It’s a matter of being able to take care of that for them and bring down their water usage.”
LeMay bought her small condo when she retired ten years ago. But it wasn’t long before minor home repairs, like the leaky tub, started piling up.
“I knew over time, it was wasting water. I tried to fix it myself, and forget that!” she laughs. “And my son said, ‘Mom, I can’t fix that. I don’t know what to do.’ When you’re retired, and you don’t have a lot of money, a lot of times you don’t know where to call.”
In its first year, Madison Water Utility’s partnership with Project Home has assisted more than 85 low-to-mid income community members with projects and repairs focused on saving water, including the installation of 39 high-efficiency toilets.
“Water conservation is part of energy conservation too. Water bills, energy bills, those are things we all have. If we can bring down the ratio of income going to those bills, for that person, it makes a huge difference,” Hafeman says.
The Home Water Conservation program has been renewed for 2017 with additional funding. Madison residents can call Project Home at (608) 246-3737 to see if they qualify for the program.