The Wrangell borough has reduced its water consumption considerably, according to a public works report. This comes after city and community efforts to conserve, due to the town’s recent water shortages. 

The borough used about 500,000 less gallons per week this month than it did the beginning of the year, according to a public works report.

1,062,333 gallons were used the first week of 2018. Consumption peaked the last week of January at 1,132,571 gallons. But since then, consumption has steadily decreased to about 530,000 to 590,000 gallons a week.

Public Works Director Amber Al-Hadad says the borough cannot pinpoint the cause, because it doesn’t have water metering. But she says the city has decreased its water loss in three key ways.

One, the city found and fixed leaks in the system in March. Two, the team at the water treatment plant is continuously looking for ways to reduce water lost through its routine maintenance and filtration processes. And three, the community may just be conserving more on their own.

“I continue to hear people talk about conserving water, and I think that the push we’ve made with the public has been of value and we’ve seen some of the results here,” Al-Haddad says.

Many in the community run their taps all winter long to keep their pipes from freezing. 

At this week’s borough assembly meeting, assembly member Steve Prysunka asked if the reduced consumption would factor into how the new water treatment plant will be built. Prysunka has advocated for metering and reducing water consumption as a way to remedy Wrangell’s water shortages.

Al-hadad says that the borough can still use the new plant and use more water.

“We want to make sure we can meet the demand for peak seasons, and we also want to make sure that we can meet the demand that we want to see for some future growth in this community,” she says.

The borough approved a new 9 million treatment plant, that should be up and running in 3 years. It would be paid for about half in loans and half in grants. The borough is still waiting on approval for an economic development administration grant to build the new plant.