Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Water policies can reduce use

Recently at Community School, we dedicated our day to community service, and focused on water use throughout the valley. We researched the water policies of the Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey water departments and were shocked to find that Blaine County residents use seven times the national average of water.

Despite our exorbitant water use in the valley, we commend the Hailey Water Department for requiring water meters on all residences; this allows the department to charge for overuse and to encourage sustainable use of water. We would also like to praise all the departments for requiring even and odd watering days and we commend Hailey and Ketchum for banning the use of landscape watering between the daytime hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. We recommend that the Sun Valley Water Department institute the 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ban. We also encourage Sun Valley and Ketchum to mandate water meters for all residents.

All three water departments should institute the three-tiered water-violation responses of Sun Valley: first, a warning; second, a $100 fine; and third, shutting off the violator's water. All violation responses should have a sheet of helpful tips attached to promote sustainable water use and advice on avoiding a second violation. We would like to see the websites of Hailey and Ketchum follow Sun Valley's lead and make their websites more user friendly.

Through our efforts and the cooperation of all three water departments, we can reduce our water use to a sustainable level.

Eric Runkel

Students and faculty of Community School

Sun Valley

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