With summer consumption, Bonney Lake water levels OK
July 27, 2009 · Updated 11:18 PM
City residents are using millions of gallons of water each day, but the crew at the Bonney Lake Public Works Department reports water levels are good.
A discussion about water usage came during open discussion at the July 21 City Council workshop
Councilman Mark Hamilton said in the past the city has placed signs throughout the community urging conservation of water during the summer months.
Public Works Director Dan Grigsby said the signs haven’t been required since the Peaking Storage Tank was activated last summer. The Peaking Storage Tank holds 15 million gallons of water.
He said the water levels have been adequate, except for July 3 when there was a high demand for water, prompted by a major house fire.
Grigsby reported the level dropped from 32 to 28 feet in the tank.
He recommended the level should not drop below 10 feet to maintain adequate water pressure and to keep reserve water for the fire department.
According to Grigsby, the average daily use in July and August is 6 million gallons per day, compared to an average of 2.6 million in January – a 130-percent increase.
Councilman Dave Bowen asked if, when water bills are sent out, there will be a rash of residents who forget the water rates were up in the summer.
Grigsby replied “yes.”
Mayor Neil Johnson said it happens every summer.
Councilman James Rackley noted he has been more “natural” brown lawns than in past summers.
Johnson reminded the council that water is a revenue-generating utility.
“Conservation is always good, but it’s a fine line,” he said. “The time we did (water) conversation was because we were running out of water. We saw the drop in revenues.”
Rackley added the Peaking Storage Tank cost the city $10 million and “someone has to pay for it.”
Grigsby noted conservation signs should only be placed in case of an emergency.
“If people see them set out all the time, they won’t pay attention to them when we have a waterline break or some other emergency that would create a real shortage,” he said.
If needed, the city can use 2 million gallons per day from Tacoma Public Utilities during peak demand periods, but it costs the city more to purchase.
“I encourage all water users to minimize consumption in July and August to avoid excessive peak demands on the water system,” Grigsby said. “Timing the use of water by our customers to avoid peak demand periods during the day helps keep the water supply requirements stable.”
Grigsby said all city customers should do laundry, wash dishes and water their landscapes in the later evening instead of during or right after meal hours.
To comment on this story view it online at www.blscourierherald. Reach Dannie Oliveaux at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-802-8209.