The city of Anacortes has asked Skagit Public Utility District water customers, which includes Oak Harbor residents, to voluntarily reduce water usage by 10% as of Aug. 30.
The Skagit River provides water for Anacortes and Oak Harbor, as well as La Conner. It is one of the state’s largest rivers and primary water sources, according to Brian McDaniel, water system manager for the city of Anacortes.
The Washington State Department of Ecology has established minimum instream flows for the river. The flow levels fluctuate throughout the year and are designed primarily to protect fish habitat.
Twice a year, in the late summer and late winter, water flow in the river can fall below these minimum levels. McDaniel said the low water level in the river is simply due to the time of year and that the advisory is no cause for concern.
“The whole idea of the advisory is just to make us aware that water is a precious resource and the Skagit River is at its lowest right now,” he said. “We are asking folks to conserve where they can.”
Each person is asked to reduce water usage by 10%. Ways to do this include taking shorter showers, turning the water off while brushing teeth, letting lawns go dormant, flushing the toilet less, watering plants less often and generally running faucets less.
“If you let it run for 10 minutes, try to let it run for only nine minutes,” McDaniel said.
The city of Oak Harbor is currently in Stage 1 of water restrictions, which only asks for voluntary reductions.
“The system is set up so that if those river levels start to fall any further or continue to reduce, then our response increases,” McDaniel said.
Subsequent stages will mean actual water restriction instead of only voluntary conservation.
McDaniel said that this advisory is to protect the Skagit River so it can continue to provide high quality water in the future.
“Protecting that resource, as we’re doing right now, is paramount for us,” he said.
The last time the city of Oak Harbor was under a voluntary water reduction advisory was in June of 2021 due to a regional chlorine shortage.
Visit facebook.com/anacortespublicworks for any alerts or updates. For more information on water conservation visit oakharbor.org/publicworks/page/water-conservation.