City is watching its water; supply is OK today

By Kevin Hanson

The Courier-Herald

One day after Washington's governor declared a drought emergency for the Evergreen State, Enumclaw officials gathered to consider the overall health of the city's water supply.

Early indications are that city folks aren't quite so concerned. But that doesn't mean they aren't keeping a wary eye on the municipal system's supply and demand.

"We haven't noticed any problems with our own water system," said city Public Works Director Chris Searcy. The purpose of last week's meeting, he said, was to assure that existing contingency plans can be carried out if necessary.

The bulk of Enumclaw's water is pulled from two shallow springs. The city collects the water, Searcy said, shortly before it reaches ground level. The city also maintains two fairly deep wells northeast of town that are generally put into service only during the summer months. And, finally, the city has the ability to tap into the city of Tacoma's pipeline that runs through town.

One of the springs was recently examined, Searcy said. "It's not too far off normal," he reported. "It's still at a healthy level." That water source was depleted during low-rainfall months in 2001, he said, but "a rainy June bumped it right back up to normal levels."

The city hasn't had to siphon water from the Tacoma line for about five years, Searcy said.

If city officials get nervous about available water, they can takes steps that include everything from keeping an eye on tall weeds (making owners cut them, thus reducing the chance of fire) to asking the public to cooperate in an even/odd system for lawn watering. That latter step hasn't been taken since 1995, Searcy said, adding that many leaks in the system have been repaired since then.

The city is keeping tabs on the water situation, Searcy said, because "we want to be prepared in case it does play out to the worst-case scenario."

Kevin Hanson can be reached at

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