Water runs short in the dry spell

City opens Tacoma Water intertie for the first time since 2004

By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

The recent days of warm and sometimes hot weather caused the city to tap into its Tacoma Water intertie at Connell's Prairie Road.

The city opened the intertie at 6 p.m. July 21. It was the first time Tacoma Water has been used to boost the city's water supplies since 2004. It was closed Aug. 1.

Public Works Director Dan Grigsby said the Ponderosa water tanks on the south end of Bonney Lake began getting low after several days of 90 degree and higher temperatures that occurred about two weeks ago.

“The hot weather causes people to water more,” Grigsby said. “That's the main difference. The need for water is for a couple of months, usually June, July, August or September, when everyone is irrigating.”

Water consumption for the city in January was about 78 million gallons and in July about 192 million, a 144 percent increase.

Officials set out signs around the city asking residents to conserve water during the dry weather.

The City Council approved a contract with Tacoma Water in January 2005 allowing the Bonney Lake to draw up to 2 million gallons of water per day.

The contract covers emergency and summertime use and allows the city to serve the east side of its service area that includes Tapps Island, Snag Island, Inlet Island and the Lakeland Hills area.

While the intertie was open the city used about 10 million gallons of Tacoma Water with an average of about 870,000 gallons per day.

Dennis Box can be reached at



€ Inside your house, bathroom facilities claim nearly 75 percent of the water used.

€ Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant, garden or cleaning around the home.

€ Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. A faucet dripping at a rate of one drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons per year. This adds to the cost of water and sewer utilities.

€ Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water and use this to water plants. The same technique can be used when washing dishes or vegetables in the sink.

€ In the shower, turn water on to get wet; turn off to lather up; then turn back on to rinse off.

€ Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when fully loaded. Set the water level for the proper size of load.

€ Don't let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin.

€ Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.

€ Report all significant water losses (broken pipes, open hydrants, errant sprinklers, abandoned free-flowing wells, etc.) to the property owner or local authorities.

€ Lawns needs only one inch of water per week. Watering less often produces a deeper, healthier root system. Over-watered lawns are the No. 1 waste of water resources. Runoff from over-watered lawns washes away topsoil, fertilizers and pesticides that pollute waterways.

€ Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.

€ Try to do one thing each day that will result in saving water. Don't worry if the savings are minimal. Every drop counts.

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