City of Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, Washington, Whidbey Island's Premier Waterfront Community

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865 SE Barrington Drive
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Phone: 360-279-4500
Fax: 360-279-4507

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Water Conservation



Are you using more water than you thought? Take a look at your bill. You would be surprised at how much water you are using and money you can save by following these water saving tips….
  •  Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or for cleaning around your home.
  • Verify that your home is leak free. Many homes have hidden water leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is possible leak.
  • Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. If your faucet is dripping at a rate of one drop per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 gallons per year.
  • Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors to slow the flow of water.
  • Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the toilet bowl within 30 minutes. Check the toilet for a worn out flapper. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed. (Flush as soon as test is done, since food coloring may stain tank.)
  •  If the toilet handle frequently sticks in the flush position letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.
  •   Install a toilet dam or displacement device such as a bag or bottle to cut down on the amount of water needed for each flush. Be sure installation does not interfere with the operating parts. When purchasing new or replacement toilets, consider low-volume units that use less than half the water of older models.
  • Take shorter showers by two minutes and save an hour of running water per month. Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version.
  • Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water and use this to water plants. The same technique can be used when washing dishes or vegetables in the sink.
  • Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are fully loaded. Set the water level for the size of load you are using.
  • When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet.
  • Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Don’t let the tap run while you are waiting for cool water to flow.
  •  Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
  • Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly. Start a vegetable compost pile as an alternate method of disposing of food waste, instead of using a garbage disposal.
  • Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don’t have to let the water run while it heats up.
  • Don’t let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin.
  • Do not allow a hose to run as you wash your car. Use a self-closing hose nozzle.
  •  Irrigate early in the morning or late at night to avoid evaporation.
  • Make sure that your sprinkler system is in good repair, that there are no leaks, and that the heads are properly adjusted to eliminate any overspray on paved areas or buildings.
  • If you have an automated sprinkler system, make sure the controller is properly set to achieve minimum watering levels.
  • Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.


Try to do one thing each day that will result in saving water. Don’t worry if the savings are minimal.
Every drop counts. You can make a difference.
For more information call Utilities at 279-4530 or e-mail

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