Projects & Documents
Water Quality FAQ
Looking for water
is water conservation
important in Jefferson County?
The Sparling well is an extremely productive well that gets
nearly 1000 gallons per minute with little drawdown. However, the water
is expensive to treat. And there are lingering questions about how the
well impacts stream flows. Less demand on this well in the summer may
give struggling summer chum salmon additional water for spawning.
The Big Quilcene River
is the primary water source for the City of Port Townsend, the PT Paper
Mill and the PUD's LUD #3. As "rivers" go, its very small from headwaters
to its mouth. Most people in Jefferson County are dependent upon ground
water resources that are independent of snowpack or mountain streams.
Thanks to the "rainshadow"
of the Olympic Mountains which block much of the weather coming from
the southwest, Beckett Point is consitently one of the driest places
in Jefferson County at around 12 - 16 inches of rainfall annually. For
the most part, the aquifers that provide water locally rely on late fall
and winter rains to recharge the water table each year.
| Local Water Facts
- Northeastern Clallam
and Jefferson counties are drier than any coastal community in the
US north of Southern California and almost all communities east of the
- Like most of the
West, water demand goes up in the summer when water is the least available.
- Local ground water
is commonly high in iron and manganese, and expensive to treat.
- Local aquifers are small and discontinuous
and therefore have limited water in storage and susceptable to drought.
- Most of the lowland streams are
fed nearly entirely by ground water discharging to the channel during
low flow season.
- Lowland aquifers are dependent
upon late fall and winter rainfall so a dry winter can mean lower
water tables and lower base flows for spawning salmon in the late summer.
- Our small "rivers"
are called creeks in most other places. Aquifers within East Jefferson
County are small, discontinuous and susceptible to drought.
- Recent annual precipitation
trends (since 1999) have been normal to far below normal (two state
declared droughts in 2001 and 2005).
- Wet season ground
water recharge has been significantly less than normal.
- As we set more and more
water aside for the needs of fish in our streams our dependency
upon ground water and the need to understand its relationship with surface
water will continue to increase.
DO YOUR PART!
USE WATER WISELY!
Water Conservation Tips:
Some general, practical
water conservation tips include:
- Wash only full loads in your washing
machine and dishwasher.
- Don't run water continuously when washing
dishes by hand.
- Attach "low-flow" faucet aerators to
- Take short showers instead of baths.
A full bathtub requires about 36 gallons of water. A five-minute shower
using a low flow showerhead can use as little as 7.5 to 15 gallons.
- Install "low-flow" shower heads and
- Don't leave the water running when
brushing your teeth or shaving. With the tap running at full force,
shaving takes 20 gallons of water,
teeth-brushing takes 10 and hand washing takes two.
- Check for leaky faucets and toilets,
and then repair them immediately. A leaky tap, dripping once per second,
wastes six gallons of water a day.
- Don't run water continuously when washing
your car. Use a nozzle on
the hose to stop the water flow between rinsings. Clean the
car with a pail of soapy water.
- Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways
- Plan before you plant - consider plant
needs for moisture, sunlight, etc.
- Improve the soil structure - work organic
material such as peat moss or
compost into the soil to help retain water and assist in
- Aerating your yard once a year also
will help it retain water.
- Cut down on grass - grass requires
up to four times as much water as
- Cut back on the amount of grass in
your yard by planting shrubs or ground cover or putting in rock gardens.
Water Conservation Links:
- Water efficiently - use a sprinkler
with a low application rate (about
one-third inch per hour) and check for even coverage. Established
grass only needs an inch of water each week.
- Water your lawn in the evenings or
early mornings to reduce evaporation.
- When you do water, water long enough
for moisture to soak down to
the roots where it will do the most good.
- Make the most of mulches - three to
four inches of mulch on top of the
soil, especially before spring and fall rains, will reduce
moderate soil temperature and inhibit weed growth.
- Choose climate friendly plants - many
native plants can survive on
rainwater alone, and they're more disease and insect resistant.
- Care for what you plant - weed and
prune regularly to ensure water
is going where it's needed.
tips used by permission from Clark County PUD#1)