PUD leaders set efficiency goals

Plan to be more conservative with water

Saving water is the name of the game.

Over the past few months, the Clallam County Public Utility District staff strategized on the best tactics the utility could institute to save water and at a Jan. 14 meeting, the PUD commissioners agreed, voting unanimously for approval.

In 2003, the Washington state Legislature mandated water utilities to adopt water use efficiency rules targeted at limiting waste in delivery and excess use of water by customers. PUD has had efficiency rules in effect for years, but the utility’s staff was pushed by the state mandate to update and improve those means.

Initially, the new efficiency goals will only be applicable to the Port Angeles Composite water system, which serves areas east of Port Angeles such as the Monroe, Gale’s Addition and Fairview areas.

“We will have to do a similar process for other water districts that serve under 1,000 customers, in 2009, like Carlsborg and the Evergreen area on Bell Hill,” PUD’s Tom Martin said. “We check leaks and usage every year, which is something we will pay close attention to in those areas in preparation for a similar goal-setting session to occur next year.”

Primarily, the efficiency upgrades take state requirements and turn them into PUD standards, such as completing meter upgrades throughout the water district by 2017. The PUD plans on reducing its leakage from 15 percent of the overall output to 10 percent by 2020, an identified state requirement. During the two years leading up to 2007, the PUD reduced leakages from 17 percent to its present rate of 15 percent in the composite district. The Carlsborg system has a leakage rate of about 10 percent on average from 2004 to 2006.

“Part of the leakage issue may be connected to meters, which tend to under report what is being used when they begin to age,” Martin said. “We may step up our efforts to replace those meters, which is part of what we do on our end, then we also provide customers with the information and means to increase efficiency on their end.”

PUD has a water loss control plan that implements the efficiency goals. Martin said for the next six years the PUD will calibrate all of its meters. Then, for better conservation within the home, PUD will continue to pursue rebate options for home- owners upgrading appliances, such as low flow toilets and showerheads. Also, the PUD’s rates are designed to encourage water conservation and the district provides print materials educating customers on water-wise living.

“We just instituted new rates that began Jan. 1 that really encourage efficient water usage and reward those customers that keep efficient water use in mind,” Martin said. “Plus we hope to better quantify those hard to measure water uses like fire control, hydrant flushes and the like.”

The city of Sequim has its leakage rate below 10 percent and according to Public Works director Jim Bay, nearly half of the leakage rate originates from flushing different systems, such as fire hydrants.

“We have been implementing efficiency standards on our end for quite some time while providing a rate structure and education sessions aimed at helping customers reduce their usage,” Bay said. “We are particularly proud of our reuse water system; there’s a gambit of things we have going on to make sure our supplies are not threatened and that we are not being wasteful.”

Bay said the average water customer in the city uses less than an average customer in the state of Washington.

PUD commissioner meetings, which are open to the public, are held every Monday at the PUD boardroom, 2431 E. Highway 101, Port Angeles.

For a copy of the Clallam County Public Utility District’s new water use efficiency goals for the Port Angeles Composite system, visit www.clallampud.net and click on “water”. For water-wise information, visit the same site and click on “conservation”.