Water conservation starts with education, says City of Colville
Water conservation may not seem prudent during a summer where the rain has been prevalent, particularly this month, but then this is not a new concept to the City of Colville. In the past decade since the city developed its existing conservation plan, new technologies, new attitudes and new goals have raised the bar in terms of water use efficiencies. Municipal Services Administrator Eric Durpos recently announced at a public meeting to discuss water conservation that the city wants to work with residents toward that goal. “I think it’s still education, changing cultural habits and behaviors,” he said. “I think we can still do a lot in that area.” The plan is the result of requirements from House Bill 1338, known as the Municipal Water Law that was passed in 2003. The law establishes that all municipal water suppliers must use water more efficiently in exchange for water right certainty and flexibility to help them meet future demand. “The Department of Health (DOH) was given the task of adopting an enforceable Water Use Efficiency program, which came into effect in Jan. 2007,” Durpos explained. “There are things we (the city) do to measure our water output, and I think it’s safe to say that we are ahead of the game. However, there are still steps we can take to do more as a community.” The city collects data on water usage through source meters at the city’s seven source wells. The meters are checked daily and readings are taken manually and recorded. An ongoing meter upgrade plan is being implemented for service meters that will reduce water waste through old, inaccurate meters. “Consumption is down from what it normally is this time of year because of the weather we’ve been having, but I wouldn’t be able to put an exact number on how much,” Durpos said. The city will offer free educational material for children, including coloring books, stickers, water gauges, and magnets carrying the reminder to conserve water. Employees from the Water and Sewer Department will give presentations at Fort Colville and Hofstetter Elementary next school year. The City of Colville has a total of 2,034 water connections, 1,500 of which are single-family units. The others are multi-family units or commercial. *To read the full story, see the 7-2-14 edition of the S-E.