Too little water flows UNDER the BRIDGE

People may be enjoying this stretch of warm, dry weather, but some east county residents could be asked - or required - to conserve water soon if it continues.

"Rainfall is off from the norms and thus so are the stream flows," said Clallam Public Utility District spokesman Jeff Beaman.

"Within a couple of weeks we could be calling for voluntary water conservation. Assuming we don't get any rainstorms, that's the assessment."

Clallam County PUD operates nine water systems that serve about 4,200 customers throughout the county: Panoramic, Evergreen and Carlsborg in the Sequim area plus Fairview, Gales, Mount Angeles, Monroe, Clallam and Island View.

Beaman said the district already is in Stage 1 of its drought response plan.

That alerts staff and commissioners of a forecasted drought and enacts internal water conservation steps the public doesn't see.

Taking it in stages

Stage 2 is when the district calls for voluntary indoor water conservation to reduce water consumption by 5 percent.

Stage 3 is voluntary outdoor water conservation, such as no lawn watering or car washing.

Stage 4 is mandatory outdoor and indoor water conservation.

Beaman said well water supplies the district's three Sequim area systems: Evergreen in the Bell Hill and Loma Vista areas, Panoramic southwest of Sequim, and Carlsborg west of the city.

"So we'll be monitoring well conditions in those areas and taking any action necessary," he said.

Inside the city, the situation is not as serious.

Sequim's acting utilities manager Pete Tjemsland said the city draws from deep wells at Port Williams and "fairly deep wells" at Silberhorn.

"It's not a problem for city water customers," he said.

"We're not worried about it at this point."

Too-sunny Sequim

According to the National Weather Service, eastern Clallam County has received about 25 percent of its normal rainfall in the 30 days since June 23. The county's western half has received less than half of normal rainfall during that time.

As for the Sequim area, it had received 0.19 inches of rainfall as of July 23 versus a July average of 0.67 inches, according to the Web site

21 days since last rain

Sequim's last measurable rainfall was 0.16 inch on July 8 and 0.02 inch on July 12.

The only rainfall prior to that was 0.01 inch on June 24 and 0.02 inch on June 25. The past weekend's rainstorm increased the area's cumulative rainfall to 0.28 inches.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, on July 23 the Dungeness River at the Schoolhouse Road stream gauge, near the river mouth, was running at 197 cubic feet per second at a height of 2.86 feet.

On June 30, it was running at 316 cubic feet per second and a height of 3.24 feet.

The Dungeness River's low point was zero on Nov. 23, 1993. Its highest was 8.37 on Jan. 7, 2002.

Reach Brian Gawley at

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