Blaine, Birch Bay to step-up water conservation

Published on Thu, Jan 17, 2008 by ack Kintner and Tara Nelson

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Blaine, Birch Bay to step-up water conservation

By Jack Kintner and Tara Nelson

Following recent regulations imposed by the Washington State Department of Health, the city of Blaine and the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District (BBWSD) will adopt a series of measures to conserve local water.

In a meeting of the BBWSD last week, general manager Roger Brown said that conservation measures will be a continuing emphasis on the part of the district, and to that end the board hired a full-time program manager, Emily Resch, as their water conservation specialist last summer. He added that he has the plan available for review at the BBWSD office.

“There’s really nothing controversial about it, but it does indicate our response to new water conservation legislation passed at the state level in 2006 and subsequently developed into specific rules by the Washington State Department of Health. This plan is the water district’s response to those rulings.”

A lot of the program has to do with disseminating information so the public is aware of the need to conserve. Heavy use periods such as the beginning of July when Canadian and American holidays coincide make a demand spike that’s expensive to accommodate, according to Brown, so it becomes a cost control measure as well as a water resource management strategy.

“By controlling our demand through public information and other strategies we control the cost of delivery,” Brown said, “which is why we think the program represents wise use of our limited water resources and can also save us money by deferring investment in expensive facilities required to meet peak period demands.”

Brown added that as a matter of policy the district must keep some water back in case of fire, so even during heavy use periods there’s enough pressure and volume for the fire department to use.

“We don’t want to have to dip into our fire protection reserves on these peak demand weekends and we also want to avoid as long as we can building big new facilities to increase capacity,” Brown said.

The district is working closely with the city of Blaine in developing this plan, Brown added, and in the future also hopes to coordinate with other county municipalities and districts, as all come under the new DOH conservation rules.