City present six options to combat furture water shortage

By Dennis Box, The Courier-Herald

The Bonney Lake City Council was presented six options by the Public Works Department in response to the water shortage faced during last summer's drought.

The shortage forced the city to use water from Ball Park Well, which pumps out water high in iron and manganese. The problem is the water is brown, stains clothes and is unappetizing, but is safe to drink according to city officials.

The six options are:

€ Demand management - an aggressive conservation program

€ Purchase water from the Tacoma Water Department

€ Complete the Ball Park Well filtration facility

€ Complete peaking storage tank

€ Obtain additional water rights

€ Purchase water from city of Auburn

"We don't think it's likely we'll have a second year of drought," Mayor Bob Young said. "But it's possible. So in the workshop we decided not to use Ball Park Well or Tacoma Water unless we have to. But there really is no change in policy."

The city has faced criticism from citizens concerning the water from Ball Park Well. A group of citizens at the Jan. 13 City Council meeting from the Inlet Island area spoke to the council describing the brown, smelly water and requesting a halt to developments and annexation.

"The problem is not water," Young said. "It's politics. We can turn on Tacoma Water any time. We have options, but the council has not chosen to go there yet."

The City Council has decided against Tacoma water because it is fluoridated. The city filed a suit against the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Board in November 2002 attempting to stop a countywide fluoridation mandate. The suit is currently awaiting a decision from the Washington State Supreme Court.

The Ball Park Well filtration facility and the storage tank will not be constructed until 2005.

"Water will not be a problem," Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman said. "We just need to be careful until 2005."

Dennis Box can be reached at

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