News

Low flow calls for conservation

City employee Jimi Gordon places a water conservation sign outside Oak Harbor City Hall Thursday afternoon. A stage one water conservation warning is in effect until further notice.  - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
City employee Jimi Gordon places a water conservation sign outside Oak Harbor City Hall Thursday afternoon. A stage one water conservation warning is in effect until further notice.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

Record temperatures and sparse rainfall are to blame for an early water conservation warning in Oak Harbor.

The Skagit River’s flow level is below the minimum required for habitat protection with little relief in sight, according to Anacortes city officials.

Oak Harbor buys Skagit River water from Anacortes.

City officials called for “stage one voluntary water conservation” Thursday upon learning of the river’s low flow. Ninety-nine percent of Oak Harbor’s water is from the Skagit River, according to Rhonda Haines, water services coordinator. Water conservation warnings normally go into effect in late September, she said.

Stage one water conservation calls for the reduction of household water usage because the potential for future drought conditions exist. The triggering criterion for stage one water conservation is when the Skagit River height is less than 10-feet and flows 10,400 cubic feet per second or less, according to city officials.

The Skagit River water flow has measured between 7,000 and 10,000 cubic feet per second over the last week, Haines said.

City officials contacted the Oak Harbor School District, North Whidbey Water District, Deception Pass State Park and Whidbey Island Naval Air Station to alert them of the stage one water status. In an effort to save water, Oak Harbor’s parks and facilities will appear a little drier this August and September.

During times of low flows in the Skagit River, Oak Harbor officials encourage the community to be water conscious: Take shorter showers with low flow devices, turn off faucets while washing up or brushing teeth, reduce flushes, only run full loads of laundry, fix water leaks and irrigate at dusk or dawn to avoid evaporation.

For more conservation tips, call 279-4500, visit www.oakharbor.org, or tune into Channel 10.

Community Events, April 2014

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