Spokane county ranks in 98th percentile for water usage; City Council eager to change trend

SPOKANE, Wash. — According to data from the U.S. Geological Survey, Spokane County uses three times more water than the national average.

One person usually uses around 79 gallons of water a day, but the average use for a single person in Spokane County is around 235 gallons. The Spokane City Council has been following this trend and has solutions to spark a change in consumption.

“In Spokane, we don’t like to waste things. If we knew how much water we were wasting, we would be really upset with ourselves,” said Breann Beggs, City Council President.

After in-depth research, they’ve unleashed a comprehensive master plan to address Spokane’s water usage, committed to working towards a goal of reducing total water usage in the county by 25% in the next 10 years. They’re getting the community involved now, offering water workshops for residents to voice concerns and bring up any questions they  have.

You can find more information and sign up for the next meeting here.

During the winter, water usage isn’t too bad. However, the spikes in the county skyrocket during the summer months because of extremely high outdoor watering trends. Beggs says it’s because people are planting flowers and shrubs that really aren’t suited for Spokane.

“Adapting our landscaping somewhat to what our climate is here in Spokane, you can have real beautiful landscaping that was meant to be here and is much cheaper for you. It looks better and is much cheaper for the entire environment,” Beggs said.

In addition, the council says people are watering more than they need to. However, cutting back doesn’t have to be hard. Some simple tips to use less include:

  • Using water sensor monitoring sprinklers
  • Not watering when it rains
  • Using water recycling appliances

“As we currently sit at the top of water consumers in the country, we think we can do better. We think we can conserve and eliminate the waste and really protect those assets,” Kara Odegard, Manager of Sustainability Initiatives, said.

The City Council is optimistic that education, conversation and simple changes can protect Spokane’s valuable aquifer, river and water sources for years to come.