Water is a Precious Resource
Fresh water supplies are often limited – whether by water rights, stream flows or a system’s capacity to supply and treat water. In the Pacific Northwest, many water utilities typically face challenges in meeting the summer demand, especially in times of drought. As the population continues to grow, demand for water stresses the already limited water supplies. It is in the best interest of water utilities and its customers to engage in and promote water conservation.
Water conservation ensures that the resources continue to be available for future generations of Ocean Shores citizens and businesses, as well as guaranteeing that there is enough water available for wildlife and the habitats that support them.
Prevent Water Leaks
Water leaks are a major contributor to excess water usage, and that equals a lot of money lost to high utility bills. Try this simple test to see if you have a water leak:
- Begin by turning off all indoor and outdoor faucets, as well as water-using appliances.
- Locate your water meter and open the cover to view the meter dial.
- Either record the position of the sweep hand, or place a piece of tape over the lens cover and mark the location of the sweep hand.
- After 30 minutes of not using any water, check the sweep hand location. If the sweep hand has moved, you may have a leak.
Also check your water bill periodically. An abnormally high water bill is generally an indicator of a leak somewhere after the meter (ie. toilets, faucets and piping).
Common Sources of Household Leaks
- Toilets are a leading source of indoor leaks, and often the leaking is silent which makes them harder to detect. Try putting a few drops of food coloring into the tank, and leave it to sit for about a half an hour. If you come back to find some of the food coloring has made its way into the bowl of the toilet, you have a leak.
- Worn out washers can cause faucets and showerheads to become leaky. These small drips can add up to 170 gallons of water each day!
- Check for moist spots around indoor and outdoor plumbing.
Your utility bill has a 13-month history of water use. You can use this feature to determine if your consumption is comparable to what you have used in the past. If it’s high, check for leaks or adjust your use accordingly.
Ocean Shores bills for water in units known as CFs, which are cubic feet – or 7.48 gallons. Water bills are formulated using a fixed connection fee (or minimum monthly fee) plus a commodity charge based on the amount of water used, which means the more water you use, the larger your water bill. Water rates are set by City ordinance (Ordinance No. 977 - 2016)
The following ideas are some easy ways to reduce your water consumption:
When doing laundry, always wash full loads.
Conventional washers built before 2011 typically use about 40 gallons per load; current washers may use as little as 15 gallons per load.
If washing dishes by hand, fill the sink with water rather than continually running the tap.
Only wash full loads of dishes in the dishwasher.
Avoid using running water to thaw frozen food. Fill a large bowl with hot water to defrost food items.
A faucet leaking 60 drops per minute will waste 192 gallons per month.
Install efficient faucets and/or faucet aerators.
Turn off the faucet when lathering hands, shaving, or brushing teeth.
If it takes a long time for the hot water to reach the shower, use it as an opportunity to collect water for other uses, such as watering house plants.
Replace showerheads that have a flow rate greater than 2.5 gallons per minute.
Try to take shorter showers, reducing a shower from 10 minutes to 5 minutes can save over 10 gallons of water.
Replace toilets installed before 1994 with high efficiency toilets.
Verify the toilet is working properly; a running toilet can waste hundreds of gallons of water per day.
As part of our Water Use Efficiency program, we have water conservation kits available for purchased at our Utility Billing Office (located at 800 Anchor Avenue). Kits include:
- One 1.5 gpm shower head
- One 1.5 gpm kitchen aerator
- Two 1.0 gpm bath aerators
- One toilet tank bank
- One leak detection kit (two tablets)