Port Angeles to call for voluntary water use cut

City to enter Stage 2 of response plan

PORT ANGELES — City officials will call for voluntary water conservation Tuesday under a Stage 2 water shortage declaration, Public Works and Utilities Director Thomas Hunter said.

Stage 2 of the city’s water shortage response plan means that voluntary reductions in water consumption are encouraged.

“Flows on the Elwha River, our primary source of drinking water, continue to decrease,” Hunter said in a memo to the City Council.

The Elwha River was running at 908 cubic feet per second (CFS) at noon Friday, according to U.S. Geological Survey data.

River flows had been below 500 CFS for much of last week.

The long-term average flow for Friday is 933 cubic feet per second.

Port Angeles municipal water comes from the Ranney Well, a groundwater collector near the Elwha River.

The city also has a surface water right at the river that provides industrial water and a backup supply of potable water.

City Manager Nathan West is expected to implement Stage 2 of the water shortage response plan Tuesday, Hunter said in his memo.

“Drought conditions and low stream flows can potentially impact the ability to meet customer water demands, which increase in the summer,” Hunter said.

“We do not expect a substantial increase in flow until seasonal rains return this fall.”

The city had previously been in a Stage 1 declaration, meaning a water shortage was anticipated and internal preparations were being made.

Clallam County Public Utility District, which provides water to areas outside of Port Angeles, began Stage 2 voluntary water conservation for the Clallam Bay/Sekiu, Upper Fairview and Island View systems May 23.

Those voluntary conservation measures remained in effect Friday, PUD spokeswoman Nicole Clark said.

Gov. Jay Inslee declared a “drought emergency” for a large swath of the state, including the North Olympic Peninsula, on May 20.

The declaration made state funds available to municipalities to address drought-related hardships and to expedite emergency water right permits, Hunter said.

Further water shortage declarations in the city of Port Angeles would require City Council approval.

Here are the other stages under the city’s water shortage response ordinance.

• Stage 3 — Critical. Would result in limited outdoor restrictions.

• Stage 4 — Emergency. Would result in mandatory outdoor water restrictions.

• Stage 5 — Regional disaster or infrastructure failure. Would result in water rationing.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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