Hugh Merkle Team - COMPASS RE

Stone Harbor Managed To Curtail Water Usage

Posted November 16th 2020

In late spring and early summer, it appeared that the Borough of Stone Harbor’s water conservation efforts for 2020 might be adversely impacted by the coronavirus. Due to the pandemic, there was an influx of early visitors to the island that led to a significant increase in water usage compared to the same months in 2019. Usage was up 38% in May and 43% in June. The increase triggered concern among Borough officials, as the spike was expected to track throughout the summer and surpass the annual allowance for the Borough.

Due to strict adherence to water conservation ordinances, and an increase in conservation education to residents and visitors, the spike did not increase as expected through the end of the summer. The result was a decrease of 1% in water consumption for the third quarter and a projected 13% increase for the year.

Reese Moore, the chairman of the Borough Council’s Utilities Committee, worked alongside fellow council members, the Department of Public Works and the Utility Department to increase conservation efforts, leading to the plateau percentages. Strict monitoring practices were used throughout the summer to ensure compliance with watering restrictions, including a mandatory irrigation schedule for property owners. Noncompliance to the schedule resulted in a warning for first-time offenders and fines for repeat offenders.

Additional conservation efforts included the encouragement of sustainability landscaping – using indigenous plants for decorative gardens and lawns that don’t require as much water usage. The Stone Harbor Property Owners Association published and distributed an educational brochure on sustainable landscaping with helpful tips and tricks on garden design. Information can be found at

Ongoing pilot programs also continue to further conservation efforts such as the test installation of synthetic turf, permeable asphalt and permeable concrete. And finally, Borough Council is in the process of revising a grading and stormwater runoff ordinance which will lead to improved conservation.

“As a governing body, Stone Harbor recognizes the importance of water conservation and continues to do everything we can to ensure that the Borough has clean water,” Moore said. “It is important that we conserve the usage of water so that we can continue to provide clean water in the future.”

Exceeding the state’s allocation level could result in hefty fines for the Borough of Stone Harbor. It is important for property owners to continue to educate themselves on conservation efforts. Educational information can be found at,,, and

Photo caption: Water consumption shows the steep increase in early summer with a decrease due to conservation through the end of the summer.

The Hugh Merkle Team - COMPASS Office: 609-368-9100
374 96th Street, Stone Harbor
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