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9611 SE 36th Street
Mercer Island, WA 98040
Phone: 206-275-7662
Fax: 206-275-7663
Contact: Ross Freeman
Email: ross.freeman@merce. . .
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Be Responsible - Survey Results

In late 1999, the City of Mercer Island launched the Be Responsible water conservation program to achieve two goals:
  • Reduce peak-season (June through September) water consumption.

  • Reinforce indoor conservation practices to reduce water consumption throughout the year.
In April 2000, a professional research firm conducted a telephone survey to help the City of Mercer Island measure attitudes about water conservation and establish initial program benchmarks. Two years later, the same firm conducted a similar survey to measure the effectiveness of the program.

Results from the April 2002 survey found that Island residents are, in fact, thinking differently about water conservation than they were two years ago.

While residents’ reasons for conserving water did not change, the importance of conserving water increased significantly.
  • Most important reasons for conserving water continue to be:
    -To help protect the environment, and
    -To keep more water in rivers and streams for salmon.

  • Residents are now much more likely to feel that it is very important and somewhat important for their household to conserve water.

  • There was a significant increase in the number of respondents who feel that they can greatly affect whether there is enough water to meet future demands of Mercer Island.
Other key findings:
  • 89% of the people surveyed remembered the water conservation mailings they received from the City.

  • In response, people took action:
    81% watered their lawns less often.
    76% checked for leaks.
    71% took shorter showers.
    62% prepared their lawn so it would require less summertime water.
    53% let their lawns go brown.

  • People’s attitudes toward outdoor water use also changed significantly:
    It was less important to have a green lawn.
    People are now more likely to adjust sprinkler systems when the weather changes.
    They are more inclined to use low-volume watering systems such as soaker hoses or drip irrigation.
While Island residents' conservation ethic is growing, the survey results identified several remaining opportunities to achieve year-round water savings:
  • Our effort to reduce shower times still shows potential for additional water savings.

  • There was no significant improvement in the number of households that have installed low-flow toilets.

  • Mercer Island residents still do not commonly use front-loading, water-efficient washing machines.
The Be Responsible conservation program will continue in the future. Survey respondents said they still prefer to obtain water conservation information from the City’s Water Utility. In addition to the opportunities noted above, communications will also continue to focus on helping Island residents reduce their summertime water use, particularly water used for lawn and garden irrigation.

 

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