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DENVER-The Apartment Association of Metropolitan Denver is proposing an innovative program to conserve water in this drought-stricken area.The nonprofit trade group is negotiating with the Denver Water Board to retrofit 5,000 pre-1998 bathrooms in apartment communities.

Under the program, the Water Board would rebate $120 per bathroom to the apartment owners to replace older toilets, aerators and nozzles with new water-saving devices.This will save 47 million gallons a water a year, which is enough water to serve almost 1,500 families during two months this summer.

Even with the rebate, apartment owners will have to shell out, on average, an extra $10 to $20 per bathroom, estimates Megan Forristall, government affairs coordinator for the apartment association.In the pilot program, the lion’s shares of the units are being provided by Equity Residential and Legacy Partners. Legacy will retrofit 1,300 bathrooms, Forristall tells GlobeSt.com.

Matt Wakenight of Equity Residential says he will be retrofitting 2,300 units. Baron Properties also will be participating in the first program. The association estimates that there are more than 15,000 bathrooms that could be eligible for the program.

Under the program, the association likely will act as a conduit, with it getting a check from the Water Board, which it will distribute to the apartment owners, Forristall tells GlobeSt.com. The Water Board is getting the money from surcharges it has been charging customers since the metro area started experience its worst drought in modern history last year.

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