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City of Sunnyside to begin promoting water conservation

With a view to making every drop count, the Sunnyside City Council last night, Monday, adopted a state-mandated water use efficiency program.

Council took the action following a public hearing held last night on the water conservation program.

The program's intent is to encourage communities to conserve water. Each municipality that provides water is required to sign on to the efficiency program during 2008.

One of the requirements is that communities have a "leakage rate" - water use that is unaccounted for - that is below the 10 percent benchmark set by the state.

At 1 percent, Sunnyside is well within the state guidelines, Public Works Director Jim Bridges told council last night. He said city residents consume about one billion gallons of water each year.

With a "leakage rate" of one percent, Councilman Bruce Epps estimated the city has about one million gallons that is unaccounted for each month.

He and Councilwoman Carol Stone asked what is being done to educate citizens about water conservation.

Bridges replied that an effort will be underway next month to provide tips to city water users about how to conserve water in areas such as landscaping and how to be on the watch for leaky pipes or toilets.

As part of the program adopted last night, city officials will also make presentations at local schools about water conservation and post announcements in the newspaper.

Bridges said part of that 1 percent wasn't actually leakage, but inaccurate water meters. The meter at Dairy Fair, which Bridges called the city's biggest water user, was not working properly. As a result, Bridges said the Dairy Fair's monthly water bill was in the range of $1,000 to $1,400 per month, which he said was well below its typical usage.

Bridges said the Dairy Fair meter situation has since been addressed.

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