BIMC Water Committee Proposal

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Water Committee Mission - Per Martha Mills email

                1.) To ensure adequate domestic water supply for the foreseeable future
                2.) To extend the useful life of domestic water supply and treatment facilities
                3.) To ensure availability of water needed for fighting fires in plat

The committee was charged with the duty to ensure the availability and supply of domestic water for the foreseeable future. The firefighting component of our charter was spun off into a separate fire committee.

The Problem: We are running out of domestic water hookups

Conclusion: We must increase the number of BIMC licensed hookups

Conclusion: We must decrease our consumption to obtain enough additional water hookups.

The Committee proposal combines an increase in reservoir capacity (+100,000 gal / $85,000) with a reduction in average daily household consumption to 250 GPD. These two measures will allow an increase in the number of licensed hookups to 176. That is the maximum number that can be obtained before the next large limiting factor is encountered.

Conclusion: Factoring out irrigation, our consumption is still 50% higher than the national average and nearly double the number needed to obtain the desired number of additional hookups. The cause for this excessive consumption must be determined and eliminated. 

To obtain additional hookups we must document, with Engineer's oversight, our (reduced) consumption for a period of one year.   

Conclusion: The committee acknowledges that individual meters offer the most effective and efficient tool to combat leaks, to determine the sources of excessive consumption, and to provide the documentation required to increase the number of water hookups.

However, in light of the community's opposition to individual meters, the committee and the Engineer have worked out a compromise method to develop the required data. This method requires, among other things, the community's strict observance and participation in a continual census of the on-island population during the measurement period.

The committee notes that this alternative lends no solution or assistance to the question of locating and repairing the sources of excessive consumption.


Resulting Problem: The proposed Water Committee solution restricts the average daily household use of domestic water to 250 GPD. This level of consumption is inadequate for those members who wish to regularly irrigate or engage in activities that require a larger quantity of water.

Conclusion: The availability of domestic water is the first and highest priority of the BIMC. All other uses are secondary. The committee notes that occasional managed irrigation can be conducted within the confines of the target consumption, but that as a rule, regular lawn watering cannot. 

Beyond that and as to what to do about it, the committee was split between two opposing and irreconcilable views. The community will be asked to decide this question in its entirety at the annual meeting..

View #1 - It is an individual responsibility

The community is under no obligation to provide water service above those levels required for domestic use. It is NOT the current policy or practice of the BIMC to provide raw water service as a benefit of membership. To date, no BIMC funds have been expended on infrastructure to provide this service. This is as it should be and remain.

Irrigation is an individual lifestyle choice that has substantial associated capital and recurring costs. It is unfair for those who choose to engage in this activity to expect the community to fund and subsidize an activity that is their personal choice. No member has the right to impose their personal standard of beauty and/or enjoyment on another and further demand that they pay for it.

A consortium of responsible individuals saw this writing on the wall several years ago. They wished access to more water for non-domestic uses, and so pooled their funds and built a membership-based raw water system. This system is available to all BIMC members on the same basis. You want it, you pay for it.

The cause of our problems is the unlimited use of water. Moving that unlimited use to another (raw) water system and expanding its use does not solve the problem. It merely simply sets the stage for our next set of problems. The system will be inadequate to serve the resulting increased use, requiring additional funding for infrastructure and eventually exceeding the limits of our state water right. None of this is a desired result.  

We do not believe our community should expend any funds on the raw water system, including the currently-proposed extension to Driftwood beach.

View #2 - It is a BIMC responsibility

The community is better off and more beautiful with general irrigation access. The green lawns enhance the community and each member's experience as a whole. In the past irrigation uses have been allowed. People have invested in various plants and landscaping that require a certain minimum irrigation, without which they will die.

We have an obligation as a community to provide an alternative supply to those members being told they must discontinue non-domestic uses of the domestic supply.

The additional water made available by this enhances our firefighting abilities. As illustrated in the fires last spring, fire hazard is one of the greatest threats we face as a community.

The nexus of the existing raw water system was a $50,000 contribution by Pete Taggares. As the largest non-domestic user of our domestic supply, the community must find a way to convert this use off the domestic system. In light of the long and historical use they have had to our system, and the community contributions they have made, we have an obligation to provide the Taggares property with a connection alternative. This we propose to do by extending our raw water system to the Taggares property and performing the necessary connection changes to accomplish the needed changes and separation.

By routing this extension along Marine Drive, we will make available to the greatest number of BIMC members the possibility of connecting to the raw water system. The resulting connection fees will eventually reimburse in total the BIMC investment in this extension.