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Incentives and Assistance to Save Water
General Information
The Oregon Department of Energy provides technical help, low-interest financing, and tax credits for water efficiency measures that also reduce energy use.

Oregon homeowners and renters can get a state income tax credit for buying new appliances that save water and energy — and cut utility bills:
Up to $180 for clothes washers
$50 for dishwashers
Clothes washers that qualify for the Residential Energy Tax Credit use 40 percent less water and detergent and 60 percent less energy. Qualifying dishwashers save up to 1,000 gallons of water a year and use up to 25 percent less energy.  To see a list of qualifying models, visit our Web pages on the Residential Energy Tax Credit.

Oregon businesses can get a Business Energy Tax Credit for investments in energy conservation, renewable energy resources, certain recycling projects and less-polluting transportation fuels. The tax credit is 35 percent of eligible costs — the additional cost of the system or equipment compared to standard practice. Some energy-saving technologies also reduce water demand. Examples include closed-loop cooling towers, systems that reuse water for heat rejection, micro-filtration systems for laundries, weather-based irrigation systems for turf and landscapes (if water pumping is on-site), and fixtures and appliances that reduce hot water needs.

Low pressure, drop tube irrigation systems that reduce wind drift evaporation qualify for the Business Energy Tax Credit. Weather-based irrigation systems, moisture sensor controls and variable speed pumping also are eligible. Lining aqueducts or encasing them in pipe reduces pumping energy and water required and qualifies for the tax credit.

State and Local Governments
The State Energy Efficiency Design Program provides design assistance to state agencies for new or remodeled buildings to incorporate all cost-effective energy-saving measures. Staff also looks for opportunities to save water. Reduced-flow showers, optimized water circulation pumping, 0.5 gallon-per-minute sinks and 0.5 gallon-per-flush toilets, and reduced turf areas are all designed into the state’s new prisons, for example.
The State Energy Loan Program provides low-interest, long-term financing for capital projects that save water if they also save energy. Government agencies, schools, tribes, businesses, special districts, and individuals may apply.

Save Water and Energy Education Program
This pilot program aimed for community-wide water savings in five Oregon cities — Bend, Lafayette, Redmond, Salem and Wilsonville. U.S. Department of Energy provided funding. The League of Oregon Cities and Portland General Electric helped the program get underway.
The Oregon Department of Energy provided a public education campaign and technical help. Activities included training landscapers in irrigation auditing, promoting resource-efficient watering, water and energy conservation curriculum in schools, a traveling display of home conservation technologies, direct mail to city water customers, outreach to landlords and other business owners, media events, newspaper ads and in-store displays. Energy engineers helped large water users improve processes and equipment and save water and energy, with the help of state and utility incentives.
Two of the cities — Wilsonville and Lafayette — had a $200,000 line of credit through the State Energy Loan Program. The cities used the funds to provide low-interest loans to residents and businesses for water-saving appliances, fixtures and irrigation equipment.
The US DOE stopped funding this program around 2002/2003 and, due to lack of funding, SWEEP was discontinued.