Island News and Features

Be Water Wise

Be Water Wise

 

The Guemes Island Planning Advisory Committee (GIPAC) has for years been the champion of water issues on Guemes Island. A new brochure is now available that contains valuable information about water conservation and the Guemes aquifer. Brochures will be available in the Guemes Ferry terminal on the Anacortes side or you can view the brochure here. To obtain the water conservation cards referred to in the brochure, please contact Patty Rose at pattyrose.pr@gmail.com.

 

In 1997, the Environmental Protection Agency designated Guemes Island as being served by a sole source aquifer. This means that Guemes aquifers are the main source of potable water; they are recharged only by rainwater. Recharging an aquifer is a gradual process that takes many years. During the wet season, with its overabundance of rain, plants and trees soak up water for nourishment. Some of the excess water sinks into the aquifer and some runs into the sea.

 

Groundwater studies have shown that the water in the island aquifers “floats” on seawater. Excessive pumping from island wells causes the boundary between fresh and saltwater to rise. This can cause seawater intrusion into wells and renders the water unsafe to drink. Failed wells have already impacted more than 64 households on Guemes Island, causing residents to find sometimes very expensive alternatives for potable drinking water.

 

During the dry season, we are tempted to increase water usage by watering lawns, washing cars and boats, and entertaining visitors who are not familiar with the need to conserve water. Conserving water year-round will help protect our groundwater.

 

GIPAC reminds islanders of the many ways to conserve and use water wisely. Whether you are watering your garden, remodeling or building a house, or hosting guests or renters, there are simple tips for saving water.

 

Be a good neighbor. “Be an islander … conserve water.”