The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Town calls for voluntary water conservation


August 2, 2018

Rick Nelson

The Town of Cathlamet's water plant is producing adequate supply, but system leaks and warm weather have led to a call for voluntary water conservation.

The Town of Cathlamet is asking water system customers to reduce voluntarily consumption of water from the municipal water system.

While supply from the Elochoman river is holding steady, the dry summer and several leaks are making the conservation advisable.

The system is losing as much as 175,000 gallons per day, Public Works Superintendent Duncan Curickshank said this week. That's about half the water plant's daily production.

Department staff have been searching for possible leaks, and a consultant is scheduled to begin work today (Thursday) to assist.

"We have Evergreen Rural Water coming on the 2nd to help out," Cruickshank said. "They have staff who are trained in leak detection and hopefully they will find something for us.

"We found one leak ourselves, we guess about 30,000 gallons per day, the only clue for the customer was that the lawn was wet in one location.

"Today (Tuesday) while reading meters, I discovered three smaller leaks, one before the meter, costing the town money, and two after the meter but leaking down away from where the water would have been useful, costing the customer money and just wasting the resource.

"Customers can walk their property and see if there is a wet spot, or a spot where the grass is lush where the rest is brown. That sort of sleuthing can really pay off."

Water system customers can take a variety of steps to reduce consumption. These include not watering lawns or washing cars, making sure hoses are shut off when finished watering gardens and flowers, and knowing how to shut off the water to their homes in case of an emergency (a complete description of measures may be found in a letter to the editor printed on page 2 of this edition of The Eagle.)

"In my letter, I am asking town users to limit their consumption with common sense measures," Cruickshank said. "Those with wells would be wise to heed that advice, too. The source of groundwater can be depleted, and that causes many problems for property owners."

At this point, the call for reduction is voluntary, not mandatory.

"We are not there yet," "It is mind boggling the differences in water consumption between neighbors. Ask them about how much they use from their bill and see if you are the highest user on the street. Is your precious water leaking out on to the concrete or out the bottom of the garden hydrant that you plan on fixing 'one day?'"

The water plant has two filters to draw water out of the Elochoman River, but the water crew is running only one each day.

"We have more production capacity if needed," Cruickshank said.


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