Water conservation guides in effect

Published on Thu, Jun 19, 2008 by ara Nelson

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Water conservation guides in effect

By Tara Nelson

Blaine and Birch Bay residents are being asked to voluntarily cut back on their water usage for the rest of the summer.

Birch Bay Water and Sewer District (BBSD) has joined with the city of Blaine to introduce voluntary water guidelines between June 15 and September 15 to encourage residents to water on alternating days, before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m. and only in 30 minute intervals.

Residents with odd numbered street addresses are being asked to limit watering to Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The watering days for even numbered street addresses are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The city and district have designated Mondays as non-watering days to allow reservoir levels to recover after the weekend.

The guidelines are part of the recommended 2008 water conservation activity for the Whatcom Water Alliance, a newly formed regional water conservation group in Whatcom County.

District spokesperson Emily Resch said the watering schedule will help to reduce the impact of peak-use periods on city of Blaine and BBWSD water supplies.

“By reducing the amount of drinking water used for landscape irrigation, we can diminish the burden on our water supply and defer future facility costs.”

Resch said during the summer, Blaine and Birch Bay experience peak demands up to three times more than the average demand during winter months.

“A chief concern during these peak-use periods is maintaining adequate water pressure for basic functions such as toilet flushing and providing water for firefighting,” she said. “Outdoor water use accounts for 30 percent of the total average residential water consumption, with most of this usage going for watering lawns and gardens. Turf grass needs only one inch of water per week - including rainfall - to stay healthy and green, which means that a lot of lawns are getting more water than they actually need. Traditionally, utilities have built larger and more costly facilities to meet peak period demands. Ultimately, these costs show up in higher bills for ratepayers.”

Resch, however, said the recommended schedule is only a guideline and customers are encouraged to water even less than the suggested three-days a week. The city and BBWSD are also providing free rain gauges to water customers. Rain gauges are an inexpensive tool used to measure how much water is being applied to the landscape and to remind customers of the guideline.

For more information, call the Blaine public works office at 360/332-8820 or the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District at 360/371-7100.