City updates water efficiency goals

The city of Oak Harbor has updated its water use efficiency goals for the first time since 2014.

The city of Oak Harbor has updated its water use efficiency goals for the first time since 2014.

At last week’s city council meeting, Chris Price, a water specialist for the city, said the efficiency goals in the city’s water system plan needed to be revisited and reestablished.

He said some of the requirements of the water use efficiency program include publicly establishing water-saving goals for customers, evaluating specific water-saving measures and keeping a standard of no more than 10% water loss. Some of the benefits of meeting efficiency goals are ensuring a reliable, long-term water supply and promoting good stewardship of the state’s water resources.

Council previously adopted a water use efficiency program as part of its 2014 water system plan. The plan consists of goals that target water production and consumption.

“The city needs to work side by side with its residents to achieve its consumption goals,” Price said.

He said the city’s production goal is to maintain distribution system leakage below 10% on a three year rolling average. Distribution system leakage is the water loss between the city’s source meter and customers’ meters. The current leakage average is 6.15%, well below 10%.

As far as consumption goes, Price said the goal is to maintain single-family residential use at or below 64 gallons per capita per day on a three year rolling average. The current average is 67 gallons per day.

“There’s no repercussions for not meeting an established goal,” Price said. “Staff just need to kind of explain why we didn’t meet the goal and explain what we’re going to do to meet the goal in the future.”

Price said low flow plumbing features are available from the city’s water division, distributed at the utilities department counter. Residents only need to show proof of being a city water utility customer and are given the features free of charge while supplies last.

“This is one of the main reasons for this public hearing, it’s to get residents aware of water conservation,” Price said. “If residents could even save one more gallon per day, that would equate to 9 million gallons per year. So every drop counts.”

He said measures to achieve the city’s production goal include repairing aging infrastructure such as replacing the leaking 6-inch steel water main on West Whidbey Avenue.

Councilmemebr Bryan Stucky asked about the work on West Whidbey Avenue and if it would affect the repaving of the road scheduled for this year.

Price said the work on the road would be completed this summer. City Engineer Alex Warner said the water main replacement is required to be done before the paving.

The resolution to update the water efficiency goals was approved unanimously.