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Julie Cook Kitchener Apr 29, 2024 13:00 pm
Hi all, 
I had this idea that I would present an interesting rainwater tank rebate program that utilizes a CBSM approach but the thing is….I couldn’t find any. Of the nearly 30 rainwater tank rebate programs I reviewed throughout the United States, not one of them used CBSM. All is not lost, however. I will tell you what I did find. 
All rainwater tank rebate programs for homeowners apply some kind of financial incentive, ranging from $25 to $5000, depending on the size of the tank. This is certainly helpful, though one of the main problems I noticed was that the process to apply for a rebate was anywhere from inconvenient to a nightmare. Some of the steps were so unclear and the process so laborious that I actually started to become a bit stressed, and I don’t even own a house. There were workshops to attend (some of which were not free), pre-approvals, approvals, pre- and post-inspections, sketches, receipts, and photos to be mailed, and long and complicated application forms. I understand this to a certain degree, but overall, I was getting the impression that few homeowners would engage in these rebate programs with so many barriers in place. 
Further, on the majority of websites, benefits were not listed at all, or if they were, only one or two benefits were presented. 
There are several benefits to installing a rainwater tank, including:
-       Supporting green spaces by irrigating gardens
-       Alleviating pressure on municipal water supply systems
-       Saving money on water bills
-       Reducing the risk of flooding by managing stormwater runoff
-       Providing healthier, chemical-free water for plants

Rainwater barrel - Image source: raincampaign.org

Homeowners lead very busy and sometimes stressful lives as it is. Whatever behaviour you may be encouraging them to adopt, make sure that the benefits are clear and that there are not too many barriers in place that would prevent them from engaging in the behaviour. Further, ensure that your communication for a desired behaviour is clear and specific, particularly when it comes to instructions. A three to five step process should be sufficient and easy for homeowners to remember what they need to do. Finally, whenever possible, make the messages personal by having a contact person available should homeowners have any questions. It was surprising to me when I went on municipal websites how rarely this occurred. 
If anyone knows of a successful rainwater tank rebate program that applies a CBSM approach, please provide a link for the benefit of our readers.