Birch Bay water useage lower than previous year

Published on Wed, Sep 8, 2010 by By Jeremy Schwartz

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A July with no rain did not stop the Birch Bay community from keeping water usage levels below the desired amount for the summer season.

Emily Resch, the water and sewer district’s conservation specialist, presented a water conservation report at the district board of commissioners meeting on August 26. The report outlined the water usage trends for the last few months.

The peak day, the day when the most water was used, occurred on July 24 with 1.74 million gallons used that day, Resch said. The district’s long-standing goal is to keep water usage below 1.9 million gallons per day, which was reached in 2007. The 2007 amount holds the record for the highest per day usage since the district began taking readings, Resch said.

The purpose of reducing peak day usage is to decrease the need for upgrades to water district facilities, Resch explained. This year’s peak day reductions saved the district about $111,000, she pointed out. The conservation program’s budget for this year is about $68,000, she said.

“[Conserving water] not only saves money in your pocket but also increases the reliability of your local water supply,” Resch said.

The biggest key to success in reducing peak day usage has been the district’s volunteer watering schedule, which has been a collaborative effort among Birch Bay, Blaine and many other Whatcom County water providers. Resch said. The schedule helped Birch Bay reduce its water usage despite a record number of people living and vacationing in the community this summer, she explained.

Water usage in Birch Bay regularly doubles between Memorial Day and Labor Day because of the influx of tourists and the increasing temperatures, Resch pointed out. 2010 has been a low usage year compared to 2009, she said. Resch said the district hired her in 2007 to start a water conservation program, which works closely with Blaine’s water conservation efforts.

In 2007, the Washington State Department of Health required that municipal water suppliers adopt more effective water conservation programs. The volunteer watering schedule was one of the conservation measures that came out of Birch Bay’s program.Part of the Birch Bay program’s collaboration with Blaine includes Resch visiting Blaine’s fourth grade classrooms and teaching the children about water conservation.