The Jefferson County Public Utility District is asking for voluntary conservation from the Bywater Bay water system, which affects 248 connections near Hood Canal.

Water conservation urged in Bywater Bay

Seawater intrusion suspected

SHINE — The Jefferson County Public Utility District is urging Bywater Bay water customers to start conserving water over the next few months due to strains on capacity that may impact water availability to the homes and properties in that area.

The Bywater Bay system has 248 active connections. The system is located near the Hood Canal Bridge and extends west on both sides of state Highway 104 toward South Point Road and north up Paradise Bay Road to Andy Cooper Road.

No other water systems in unincorporated Jefferson County had capacity concerns as of Wednesday, said Will O’Donnell, PUD communications director.

The City of Port Townsend, which manages its own water system, also has no capacity concerns as of Wednesday, said Ian Jablonski, city water resources operations manager.

Three wells serve the Bywater system.

The PUD shut down the Reynolds well after it detected a high level of chlorides in the water, indicating seawater may have entered it, Engineering Director Samantha Harper said in a press release.

Another well, known as Shine 1, is now operating at a reduced capacity. The system is in need of repairs, which would mean the well could be shut down for three to four days.

That can’t be done during the summer because of high water usage and the shutdown of the Reynolds well, the PUD said.

Repairs to restore the well to full capacity won’t be made until October or November.

PUD officials are asking the Bywater customers to conserve water when possible until the Shine 1 well can be repaired.

O’Donnell couldn’t estimate when the Reynolds well would be repaired because the officials are still investigating the possible seawater intrusion.

Currently, the water conservation is voluntary, but if the capacity further declines, mandatory measures could be put in place, Harper said.

While Harper believes Shine 1 and the third well, Alpine Court, will be sufficient to serve all customers in that area, if customers don’t begin to conserve water when possible, the ground storage reservoirs would be at risk of being depleted and may lead to service interruptions.

“Conserving water resources is in the collective interest of all Bywater customers,” Harper said. “The more who actively participate, the more will benefit.”

The PUD is recommending three ways for residents to conserve water: significantly limit outdoor watering, use a watering schedule and refrain from washing cars and boats.

In summer, outdoor watering often doubles or triples the amount of water used in water systems, the PUD said. Focusing on limiting outdoor water to essential activities will help ensure supply, it said.

The PUD proposed a possible watering schedule for residents in the Bywater system, suggesting people water every other day, with people in even-numbered addresses watering on even-numbered calendar dates and odd-numbered addresses water on odd-numbered calendar days.

The alternating watering days “can reduce water usage greatly while keeping lawns and plantings healthy,” the release said.

For the rest of the summer, the PUD recommends avoiding washing vehicles such as boats and cars at residents’ homes. Instead, they can use car washes and other commercial washing facilities.

Harper and her team have been reaching out to the affected residents of the system and will continue to inform them regarding developments in the water supply, the PUD said.

“It is summer time, and we do like people using water wisely, because that just helps to ensure there’s always water for everyone else and doesn’t lead to any big surprises on their (water) bills,” O’Donnell said.

Other tips on how to conserve water can be found at www.jeffpud.org/water-wisely.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

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