On average, the daily water use in Wenatchee is about 135 gallons per person, compared to a state average of 101-125 gallons.
City Council on Thursday adopted two goals to help close the gap. One is to reduce daily water use to 125 gallons per person, and the other is to have no more than 10 percent water lost for such reasons as leaks and inaccurate water meters.
The city wants to reach those goals by the end of 2029. Initially, officials wanted to meet them by the end of 2024.
“Under some new regulation changes with the Department of Health, we can now set 10-year goals rather than six-year goals,” Environmental Manager Jessica Shaw told the council.
The state Legislature in 2003 passed the Municipal Water Law requiring municipalities to use water efficiently. They must publicly establish goals, develop a program to support those goals, and annually evaluate and report progress toward the goals.
Last year, Wenatchee’s leakage was 13.5 percent.
“We have been working on some leak-detection efforts to kind of slow some of those leaks down,” Shaw said. “We have some fire lines that now we require backflow prevention and metering on so that we can detect those leaks sooner. We also have some leak-detection companies out.”
Wenatchee held a public meeting regarding water-use efficiency in August and also conducted an online survey. Shaw said the outreach efforts yielded a total of 15 responses.
“That doesn’t sound like a lot, but you know what, that’s huge,” Shaw said. “A lot of times we have zero or one.”
The city had suggested a few different goals, and reducing daily water use to 125 gallons per person received the most public support.