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.