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The City of North Bend’s Water Conservation Ordinance (WCO) became effective this summer. Phase 1 of the WCO began on August 15th and runs through October 15th, typically the driest months of the year for our region.
The city is not monitoring water meters nor is it actively looking for WCO violations. The goal of the WCO is conservation through education to protect a limited natural resource and the health of the Snoqualmie River. While the WCO does provide for minor monetary penalties, those would only be imposed if multiple violation notifications were ignored.
In phase 1 of the WCO, outdoor watering is still allowed each day. Residents are simply asked to water from 6PM - 10AM when less evaporation is likely to occur. This is better for your landscaping and better for your wallet.
There are easy ways North Bend residents can conserve water. With a combined group effort, our community can have a huge, positive impact on the Snoqualmie River and the overall natural beauty of the Snoqualmie Valley region.
Did you know? A 2016 Water Research Foundation study analyzed indoor home water consumption and the top 5 consumption sources were:
The toilet (24%)
The shower (20%)
Clothes washer (16%)
Knowledge is power. Understanding where the most water is used is the key to beginning any conservation effort.
Conserving Water Indoors
Fix Leaks. No one benefits from leaks. Not the river. Not your pocketbook. Leaks often waste more water than you think. Fixing them is a DIY project for many homeowners. Renters can report leaks to their landlords. Did you know?
Fix running toilets: A running (leaking) toilet can use 200 gallons a day or more. That’s as much as taking an extra 10 showers a day.
Don’t ignore that drip: Dripping faucets and tubs can also add up. Just one drop every 2 seconds wastes more than 1,000 gallons per year.
Upgrade that showerhead. While showering uses less water than bathing, it is the second highest water use in a home. Taking shorter showers is also a easy conservation method. Did you know?
Check the gallon per minute (gpm) rating on your showerhead: Changing out a standard showerhead for one for one that is WaterSense certified (2.0 gpm or less) can save 150 gallons a month if you take a daily 10-minute shower. Showerheads are easy to change out and many landlords are okay with tenants installing their own.
Be the Running Water Police in your home. This is probably the simplest and most effective water conservation tool. Adhere to the motto: If you’re not using it, don’t leave the water running. Did you know?
Turn the water off while brushing your teeth. Standard faucets use 2.2 gallons per minute. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth for a minimum of 2 minutes, so you can save over 4 gallons of water each time you brush.
Check that an aerator is installed. Aerators are mesh screens that screw on at the end of your faucet to mix air into the water and limit the flow of water while maintaining pressure. When installed, your faucet uses significantly less water. If the water coming out of your faucet looks white or sprays like a shower, you likely already have an aerator installed. If the water coming out of your faucet is a smooth, clear stream, you may not. Learn how to install an aerator.
Run Full Loads. This is another simple tool in the water conservation playbook. Get the most out of your dishwasher and washing machine by only running them when they’re full. You’ll save on both water and energy - and in your pocketbook.
Ditch Pre-Washing Dishes. Simply scrape food residue off dishes instead of rinsing with water. Most dishwashers clean just as well without pre-washing dishes.
If you have a dishwasher, use it. Did you know? Dishwashers use less water than washing by hand. BUT, if you handwash dishes, fill the sink with soapy water after you have several dirty dishes, and only run water to rinse.
Pay close attention to your water bill. Again, knowledge is power. Understanding the patterns of your normal water use will help identify leaks ASAP and understand household water use. If you notice high water consumption without an explanation, consider using your meter to check for leaks.
Replace older ‘water-guzzling’ appliances and fixtures. Between technology advances and updated plumbing codes, new equipment can be significantly more efficient. If you have older fixtures or appliances, when it’s time to for replacements, consider the most efficient models available.
Toilets: Toilets are the biggest water user in homes. However, they have improved a lot in the last 20 years. Switching an old toilet out for the most efficient available can save lots of water. Did you know? For a family of 4, switching from a toilet that uses 3.5 gallons per flush to one that uses 1.1 gallons can save nearly 50 gallons per day.
Washing Machines: Look for Energy Star certified washers and a low Integrated Water Factor, which will be listed as “IWF” on the specification sheet (specification sheets can usually be found under product information if purchasing online or ask a salesperson if in a store). These washers use 33% less water than conventional washers. Learn more about Energy Star clothes washers.
Dishwashers: Look for Energy Star certified models and a low gallons per cycle, which will be listed as “gpc” on the specification sheet. Newer, Energy Star certified models have advanced technology like soil sensing, water filtration, and efficient jets that reduce energy and water consumption and improve performance. Learn more about Energy Star dishwashers.
For more water saving advice and YouTube tutorials visit the Saving Water Partnership website.