Water use restricted in most of Clallam County

East Jefferson County is monitoring supply closely

Water restrictions are in effect for much of Clallam County, while areas fed by wells and East Jefferson County so far are not suffering from drought.

The Clallam County Public Utility District on Tuesday declared a Stage 3 Drought Response water alert for the Gales Addition, Mount Angeles and Monroe water systems, moving those areas from the voluntary restrictions of the Stage 2 alert declared Aug. 21 to mandatory outdoor watering restrictions.

The PUD’s announcement followed that of the City of Port Angeles, which declared a Stage 3 water alert Monday. Port Angeles and the PUD are coordinating their drought response as both draw their water from the Elwha River.

In July, the 34 customers in the Island View Water System 6 miles west of Sekiu were put under a Stage 4 alert. That stage of drought response requires customers to immediately eliminate outdoor water use and minimize indoor water use. The only higher stage is Stage 5, which institutes water rationing.

Later in July, a Stage 3 alert was issued for the Clallam Bay/Sekiu Water System and a Stage 2 alert for the Upper Fairview Water System.

The only Clallam PUD water systems not under restrictions as of Tuesday were those fed by wells — Carlsborg; Evergreen, which includes the Bell Hill/Loma Vista area; and Panoramic Heights, a 17-customer subdivision south of Port Angeles.

“We are dry,” said Nicole Hartman, PUD spokesperson.

Early declarations of water alerts means “they are progressing further than they might have in previous years,” she said.

Irrigation halted

The Highland Irrigation District (HID) in Sequim has announced all irrigation should be stopped.

“As of Sunday, Sept. 10, Highland Irrigation District is restricted to less than 25 percent of normal water volume withdrawal from the river,” the district said in a release. “HID is requesting that all irrigation be stopped. The minimal water still available will be for livestock watering only.”

The district’s watering season typically runs from April 15 to Sept. 15, but due to the low water situation, the season effectively ended Sept. 10.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience and hardship this causes our farmers and landowners, but it cannot be helped,” the district said. “Planning is underway for solutions in the future if we face a similar situation.”

In July, the state Department of Ecology declared drought conditions for most of Clallam County and parts of West Jefferson County. East Jefferson County and Clallam County around Discovery Bay are not in drought conditions, according to DOE.

Droughts are declared in Washington when there is less than 75 percent of normal water supply and there is a risk of undue hardship.

East Jefferson

The City of Port Townsend and the Jefferson County PUD had not issued any water restrictions as of Tuesday.

Port Townsend Public Works Director Steve King said in an email the city is monitoring the water supply — which comes from Lords Lake — carefully.

“So far, we are doing OK,” he said. “However, if we don’t get rain soon, we may start issuing conservation notices.”

King said the city also works closely with the Port Townsend Paper Mill, which by contract must reduce its water consumption in the event of a shortage.

Stage 3 details

Stage 3 means that certain non-essential watering activities are limited or prohibited within the affected water systems.

• Washing sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots, patios and other exterior paved areas by direct hosing, except as may be necessary to prevent or eliminate materials dangerous to public health and safety.

• Non-commercial washing of privately owned motor vehicles, trailers and boats, except from a bucket or hose using a shutoff nozzle for quick rinses.

• Lawn sprinkling and irrigation which allows water to run off or overspray the lawn area. Every customer is deemed to have knowledge of and control over his or her lawn sprinkling and irrigation at all times.

• Sprinkling and irrigation of lawns, ground cover or other plants, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Sprinkling or irrigation of lawns is relegated to an “odd-even” rotation schedule, meaning property addresses ending in odd numbers are permitted to sprinkle on odd-numbered days, and property addresses ending in even numbers are permitted to sprinkle on even-numbered days.

• Escape of water through breaks or leaks within the customer’s plumbing or private distribution system for any period of time beyond which such break or leak should reasonably have been discovered and corrected is also prohibited.

Port Angeles and Clallam PUD presume that a period of 48 hours after the customer discovers a leak or break, or receives official notice of it, whichever occurs first, is a reasonable time in which to correct the leak.

Information on ways to conserve water can be found at the DOE’s website, ecology.wa.gov or at wateruseitwisely.com.


Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at peter.segall@peninsuladailynews.com.

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