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64 gallons daily per person

Responding to changes in Washington Administrative Code that require the city of Oak Harbor to establish water efficiency goals by the end of this month, the City Council evaluated and approved two goals Tuesday night.

In addition, Public Works Director Cathy Rosen said the city will be responsible for reviewing and modifying the goals each time the water system plan is updated.

Oak Harbor placed itself in an auspicious position, as the city made a commitment to water efficiency in the 1990s and the water utility and its customers have been prudent in improving their water use efficiency since that time.

“We’re really doing a good job overall,” Rosen said.

The council and city staff discussed the changes during a workshop held prior to the meeting.

The goals must describe measurable outcomes in terms of reduced or maintained water production or usage, the public works director said. To reach adequate compliance, the council approved continuing to maintain distribution leakage at or below 10 percent. The second goal stipulates that family household water use be maintained at 64 gallons per person per day on a three-year average, and irrigation usage be reduced.

Resident Mel Vance said the goals outlined should be “pretty easy to meet.” He proceeded to advocate using rainwater collection barrels, an easy and inexpensive method. His personal receptacles have already collected 20,000 gallons of water, he said, which is good for irrigation. He suggested that the city could purchase the barrels and distribute them to residents at cost.

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