Water Facts


Quick Index:

Birth of a Committee 
The Committee Members
Blakely Island Water System Specifications
BIMC Irrigation System Management Policy
Blakely Island Water Resource Report - November 1989
BIMC Water System Capacity Analysis - January 2004
Water Committee Proposal Quick Reference
Water Committee Proposal
Washington State DOH comments on the proposal
Epilog - The proposal is enacted, and then some
Links / Bibliography


Pete Galli moved that BIMC form a committee to study, plan, and report within one year on a comprehensive plan for all the water system needs on the island, including irrigation and fire. Beth Droppert seconded the motion. Jim Davis pointed out that we all pay for the irrigation system regardless of whether we use it. Ben Dole requested that the committee develop proposed solutions and present the information to members for their opinions so that the membership can make a final decision at the next annual meeting.

(Source: Minutes July 5, 2003 annual meeting)

The Committee:

Harold Bartram Russ Keyes - Chairperson
Don Burkhart Karl Leaverton
Ben Dole Ed O'Neill
Lance Douglas Chris Owings
John Howeison Janet Taggares

Having fulfilled its charter, the committee was disbanded at the end of the 2004 annual meeting.

Factoid: "Equivalent residential unit (ERU)" means a system-specific unit of measure used to express the amount of water consumed by a typical full-time single family residence. - [Source: Chapter 246-290 WAC]


BIMC Water System Issues

 The BIMC water system accounts, either directly or indirectly, for the largest portion of the cost of maintaining our community.  We are facing critical decisions which will affect service and cost to the membership.  Recognizing the scope of the issues involved, the Annual Meeting in July established a Water Committee to advise the Board and prepare a proposal for action at the next Annual Meeting.

 The Water Committee wants to start a process of communicating with each of you, listening to all inputs, and developing an approach that can have broad support from the community.

 Here are the underlying issues we are dealing with:

·         Our current treatment plant is straining to meet summertime demand for treated water, due to extensive irrigation usage, which was not contemplated when the system was designed.  National average daily domestic household usage is about 300 gal/day, which when multiplied by the current number of hookups on Blakely is 35,000 gal/day, or only 44% of our plant daily capacity.  There is no shortage of processing capacity if restricted to domestic usage.  But, if demand is not reduced, the community is facing major expenses to maintain service.

·         Our Dept. of Health approved number of allowed hookups is almost used up, which will stop future construction on vacant lots.  A change in how hookups are defined for heavy users will already put BIMC over the maximum allowed number of hookups.  All members have a right to access our water system.  Because of administrative lead times, this is already a critical issue. 

·         In 2003, the State Legislature passed a new law regarding water rights and requirements.    The new law, House bill –1338, applies to water rights (Department of Ecology) and water conservation (Department of Health).  The implementing regulations are in the process of being developed by the Departments of Ecology and Health.

·         If we are able to reduce our daily flows, we MAY be able to get our number of approved hookups expanded fairly quickly.  The DOH may require additional storage or other infrastructure before approving additional hookups.  However, without a conservation plan, we are sure to be turned down without major upgrades to the treatment plant, storage capacity and distribution pipe sizing.

 The Water Committee’s approach is to take steps necessary to get the non-domestic usage off of the treated water supply and to fix any leaks in the distribution system on private property.  By doing this we should easily get usage down to a summertime peak of 35,000 gal/day of treated water.  This will:  

·         Avoid summertime peak usage outages, reduce plant wear and tear, and extend the useful life of the plant.

·         Best position BIMC to attempt to obtain Dept of Health approval for additional hookups to our system within the current plant and distribution system. 

 Currently there is a raw water irrigation system developed privately with 5 hookups in place, which has been turned over to BIMC for maintenance. No BIMC funds have been used to build this raw water system.  The current system management policy calls for additional members wanting to access the raw water system to pay a connection charge plus any costs to extend the system to their lot.  The connection charge is $5,000, but that connection charge is reduced dollar for dollar by any costs incurred in extending the distribution system.

 The committee is exploring various measures to address the situation.  Several proposals are in the process of being developed which contain one or more of these features:  

·         Extend the current moratorium on any new non-domestic uses of domestic water permanently.

·         Extend the moratorium retroactively, and require existing non-domestic users to disconnect after a grace period.

·         Selective installation of meters at properties with obvious non-domestic uses, such as heavy landscaping, green lawns, etc.

·         Installation of water meters at all properties.

·         One-time BIMC-funded extension of the raw water system to selected high-water-use properties.

·         Expansion of the BIMC infrastructure and services to provide raw water throughout the community.

For those solutions featuring meters, an escalating rate structure would be adopted that features no charge for normal daily household use, but encourages excess use to be changed over to an alternative source (the raw water system).

These issues are far too complex to be able to deal with at our Annual Meeting without advance communication and feedback from our membership.  The Water Committee plans to provide two or more proposals to the membership for review.  Each proposal will contain pros and cons to help in your evaluation.  As proposals are refined, we may need to hold straw polls to narrow in on an acceptable alternative.

All inputs are welcome, and will be considered by the Committee.  Please don’t hesitate to discuss the issues with any member of the Water Committee.

Factoid: "Average day demand (ADD)" means the total quantity of water use from all sources of supply as measured or estimated over a calendar year divided by three hundred sixty-five. ADD is typically expressed as gallons per day per ERU (gpd/ERU). [Source: Chapter 246-290 WAC]

Blakely Island Water Systems Specifications:

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

Raw Water System

Domestic System

Taggares System (Estimate)

Current System Usage

Factoid: "Maximum day demand (MDD)" means the highest actual or estimated quantity of water that is, or is expected to be, used over a twenty-four hour period, excluding unusual events or emergencies. MDD is typically expressed as gallons per day per ERU (gpd/ERU). [Source: Chapter 246-290 WAC]


  JANUARY 22, 2000

Policy Statement

 The objective of this policy is to maximize the benefit of the system to all BIMC members. This document shall govern the ownership, management, use, maintenance, expansions and new hook-ups for the BIMC Irrigation Water System.

Description of System

 The system consists of the following assets:

            Water intake and pumps (at lake)
            Reservoir supply line (from lake to reservoir)
            Pressure sustaining valve and inflow meter
            Covered concrete reservoir with liner
            Pump control and monitoring system
            Drain system and valves
            Fire hydrants (6)
            Individual service valves and meters


All parts of the system, including spares, shall be the property of the BIMC. All system assets are located on real property owned by the BIMC except intake structures and pump located at Horseshoe Lake and transmission lines from the lake. They are located on property owned by others. The BIMC holds an easement in perpetuity on these properties specifically for this purpose.

Management of the System

 Exclusively the Blakely Island Maintenance Commission Board of Directors, as an asset of the corporation, shall manage the Irrigation Water system. The system will be available to all members as outlined below. The Board will evaluate the operation, maintenance and flow data at least annually.


 The system shall be maintained by the BIMC. It shall be continually monitored for leaks. Fire hydrants shall be flushed and checked for proper operation on a regular basis. Grid valves will be exercised and checked for proper operation. The pump and pump control system shall be maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications. The water intake screen and check valve will be cleaned and checked for integrity once per month during the operating season. Reservoir level is to be monitored to assure continuous system pressure and irrigation and fire reserve availability. The system inflow and connection meters are to be monitored, with reports generated for the Board and users to evaluate at least yearly.


The Board shall budget for the operation and maintenance of the Irrigation Water System within the yearly BIMC budget. The expenses for this system will show as line items within the existing “Water System” category.

Water Use Restrictions

While each system user will be metered, there will, for now, be no specific charges for water used from this system. This is subject to change based on the Board’s evaluation of water usage and available supply. If source water supply becomes an issue at any time, the Board may place use restrictions or remove the system from operation to preserve water levels at Horseshoe Lake . If restrictions or charges become necessary, they will apply equally to all users.

New Hook-ups

Any member may hook up to this system for the purpose of irrigation on their lot. Each new connection will require a BIMC approved shut-off valve and meter with an appropriate enclosure. The cost of each hook-up shall be based on time and the materials noted above, plus a one-time “connection charge” of $5000. In the event that no pipeline has yet been installed to the lot in question, the lot owner will also be obligated for expense of labor and materials to extend the distribution system to their property line. These charges will be payable to the BIMC at the time the connection is made. Any fees collected by the BIMC shall be paid into the BIMC general operating fund.


This policy is subject to review and modification in accordance with BIC and BIMC bylaws as necessary to manage the resource, except as noted in Attachment One, incorporated herein by reference.


The following individuals with lots as noted are initial investors in the Irrigation Water System. In consideration of their efforts, the connection charge for those individuals, so long as they remain on the noted lot, is waived for up to 25 years.

Brustkern  (2)  160. 69A
Crowley  80
O’Brien 158
Rogich  (2)  1, 95
Shanaman 13
Struck 76
Swanson  4

Factoid: "Mandatory curtailment" means curtailment required by a public water system of specified water uses and consumer classes for a specified period of time. [Source: Chapter 246-290 WAC]

Blakely Island Water Resource Report

This report was commissioned by Tom Crowley. It is a valuable resource, documenting and analyzing the big picture of our island's water resources.

Click here to view the report. (2.5MB Adobe PDF format - requires Adobe reader).

Don't have Adobe reader? No problem. It's free! Click on the button to the left to download and install it on your computer.

Factoid: Distribution of normal household water use:

BIMC Water System Capacity Analysis

The BIMC domestic water system is authorized for 123 connections. We currently have 119 connections in use, leaving a paltry 4 remaining. With this bad news comes more. The state is changing the way it counts connections, and as you might guess, in a more restrictive manner.

It is the water committee's highest priority to develop the information necessary to advise the community on how we get the State to expand our maximum number of connections, before we run out! In Fall 2003 at the urging of the committee, the BIMC retained an engineering firm to conduct a study our domestic water system, crunch the numbers, and tell us what we need to do to accomplish this goal.

Here is the BIMC Water System Capacity Analysis report.

Water Committee Proposal Quick Reference Guide

BIMC Water Committee Proposal

Quick Reference Guide

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.

Water Committee Proposal

Click here for the full text of the proposal

Washington State DOH comments on the proposal


The Water Committee proposal was adopted in its entirety by resolution of the membership at the 2004 annual meeting. The proposal was amended to add metering to all individual water services.

The vote near unanimous, there being only three dissenting votes. A future Blakely trivia questionnaire will ask you to name this most unlikely trio.

Links / Bibliography  

DOH Regulations for the operation of Group A Water systems
DOH Watertap newsletter September 2003 - An overview of HB 1338
Everything you ever wanted to know about HB 1338 but were afraid to ask.