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'It's time to save!' campaign will highlight water conservation

Summer is here and that means it's time to ... save water?

"Each summer the average homeowner uses as much as two times the amount of water they use in the winter. If you pay for your water, that adds up," said Hannah Merrill, natural resources planner for Clallam County.

So water conservation information will be included with Clallam County Public Utility District bills in June, July and August.

Water conservation ads also will appear on Clallam Transit System buses through August. The last of six low water use workshops was held June 16.

The water conservation program's logo is a blue pig with the tagline "Water is Wealth. It's time to save!"

The logo will be distributed to nurseries, gardening stores and similar outlets that can help people reduce their water usage, Merrill said.

She said the idea for the campaign's logo came from the Sequim Irrigation Festival, the 114-year-old weeklong series of events that celebrate the importance of water to the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.

"We were thinking about water and those issues are the most highlighted in Sequim.

"The Irrigation Festival's motto is 'Water Is Wealth.' The point is the area is known for its wetness, but it's very dry in the summer. This campaign is to remind people that we all have to save water."

Merrill noted that Los Angeles, which often is described as being in a desert, gets the same 15 inches of annual rainfall that Sequim does.

The public information campaign is the result of an $80,000 water conservation program grant awarded by the state Department Ecology in April 2008, Merrill said.

"We're working on finding partners. The hope is to keep the message going. If we find other money, we will do that," she said.

The campaign also will include a water conservation link on the county's Web site, Merrill said.

It will have information from the three low water use workshops and other water conservation information and program links, she said.

The four North Olympic Library System branches also will have 135 water conservation books and CDs available.

Merrill said simple things such as fixing leaking toilets or indoor faucets can make a big difference in water bills.

"Outdoor water use wastes the most water at home. You can keep costs down by being careful when watering the lawn or garden or when washing your car," she said.

The benefits of saving water go way beyond a home- owner's utility bill, Merrill said.

It is extremely expensive to build more water infrastructure and those costs are passed on to the public, she said.

Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.

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