Wise investments, planning mean economic, environmental advantages
Imagine it’s the year 2060. Growth has exploded. Industry is thriving. The region is booming and development is everywhere. But will there be water to sustain this growth? What will happen when you turn on the tap in your home?
As a result of wise planning and infrastructure investments by the major water suppliers in the central Puget Sound region, the answer, based on what is known today, is yes.
Cascade Water Alliance and members of the Water Supply Forum, comprised of water suppliers in King and Pierce and Snohomish counties, announced this week that the central Puget Sound region is expected to have sufficient quantities of high quality, great tasting water for the next 50 years. The region will have plenty of water to protect the environment and fish habitat, and to provide an economic advantage over other areas in the country as growth resumes.
Water suppliers Seattle Public Utilities, Tacoma Water, the City of Everett and Cascade Water Alliance, and other smaller providers, all members of the regional Forum, came together to present the 2012 Regional Water Supply Update during National Drinking Water Week, May 7 - 11.
The member suppliers analyze potential future needs and supplies, and plan accordingly. A key part of their mandate to manage existing water systems includes making wise infrastructure investments for the future. Together, Forum members reviewed demand, used new ways of looking at supply, and as a result, produced a coordinated outlook for the future.
“Our demand has changed in this region and our supply is plentiful. This is a result of several things: system efficiency, smart infrastructure investments and stewardship of water by utilities, as well as regional collaboration,” said Chuck Clarke, Cascade Water Alliance CEO and chair of the Forum. “And our residents throughout the region have made a difference by using water wisely.”
“We will be able to provide high quality drinking water for at least the next 50 years,” added Ray Hoffman, director of Seattle Public Utilities.
“Providing sufficient water in an environmentally sensitive manner enhances the quality of life and livability across jurisdictional lines and provides economic advantage for future growth and development,” said Linda McCrea, Tacoma Water Superintendent.
Since the mid-1990s, dramatic changes in water use have resulted in decreased average water use per household. This is the result of increased water use efficiency, savings from conservation, changes in landscaping, more efficient household appliances, enhanced building and plumbing codes and improved irrigation.
“Our update also reflects the significant improvements and enhancements providers are making to their long established water systems to ensure service reliability,” added Jim Miller, Engineering Superintendent of the City of Everett’s water supply system.
Cascade Water Alliance purchased Lake Tapps in Pierce County for long term water and was granted one of the most significant new municipal water rights issued by the state in a decade. Seattle is able to refill Chester Morse Lake to higher levels providing more water for later in the year. Tacoma is breaking ground next week on the Green River Filtration Facility, which will enhance the area’s water supply reliability. And, Everett has been replacing its oldest major pipeline segments to increase the reliability of its regional water supply system, and has recently worked with the Snohomish PUD to relicense the Jackson Hydroelectric Project, which includes its water supply reservoir.
“The Forum continues to be a venue for regional discussion about municipal water supply, and it gives water suppliers a way of identifying, analyzing and discussing regional and national trends as well as external threats,” said Clark.