Okotoks businesses eligible to receive thousands in water grants

Businesses and institutions can apply to the Town for funding for a variety of projects to reduce water usage.

The Town of Okotoks’ Water Smart Business Grant program is back for its second year and gives the business sector a chance to apply for thousands of dollars in grant money for implementing projects that conserve water. 

Businesses and institutions can apply to receive funding of up to $10,000 for each eligible project. 

“It’s a win-win situation — the Town is supporting local businesses through covering the investment costs, while businesses will ultimately see savings on their utility bills from the water they save in the long-term,” said Mayor Tanya Thorn. “This grant provides a substantial incentive and plenty of flexibility that makes it worthwhile applying for.” 

There are four types of eligible indoor and outdoor projects including water-wise landscaping, irrigation system decommissioning, rain or storm water capture or reuse, and indoor fixture upgrades. 

“Converting areas of non-functional grass is a great place for businesses to make major savings,” said Jinny Toffelmire, environment and sustainability coordinator. “Using a combination of waterwise landscaping and irrigation system decommissioning, a business can still have beautiful landscaping that includes drought tolerant turf and other plants, while substantially reducing their watering costs.” 

With a project like waterwise landscaping, the grant will cover many of the costs related to an outdoor project, including labour, materials, equipment and even landscape plans. This grant helps businesses rethink the design of outdoor areas that are unnecessary water wasters in a way that is still visually pleasing but uses a fraction of the water to maintain. 

The grant program has a total of $40,000 available to fund selected projects. Applications are open until March 31 to businesses, institutions such as schools and churches, non-profit organizations, and condominium boards which have a utility account with the Town of Okotoks. 

All applications will be evaluated, and funding will be awarded based on the percentage of water the project saves. Outdoor projects must have projected summer water savings of 15 to 30 per cent or more, and indoor projects must project water savings of at least 20 per cent based on the fixtures being replaced. 

Applicants may include more than one project type in their submission and customize the project for their needs, as long as they stay within the grant guidelines. 

The Town’s approach to offer water grants to the ICI sector is found in only a handful of other municipalities across Canada. As well as helping businesses and organizations save money and time, the grant also supports the Town’s commitment to long-term water conservation. 

The application process, including a step-by-step guide, application forms and a scoring rubric are available online at okotoks.ca/water-grant. 


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