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Local water district named best in state

Members of the Silverdale Water District (SWD), plus a few fire officials, gathered in front of the ecologically correct garden surrounding their joint SWD/CK Fire and Rescue headquarters. The water district recently received an award for top district in the state. (From left, back row) Assistant chief, Dean Shank, CKFR; assistant chief, Roy Lusk, CKFR; attorney Richard Gross, CKFR and SWD; executive assistant, SWD, Mary Pickard; Randy Billick, division chief, CKFR; operations supervisor, Skip Beahm, SWD. (Front row, from left) Eric Pickard, service technician, SWD; Gary Eddings, division chief, CKFR; Henry Aus, engineer, SWD; Marcus Hoffman, chair, SWD; Dave Cook, commissioner, SWD; Mitch Brown, service tech, SWD. (Kneeling in front) Morgan Johnson, manager, SWD.  - Photo by Kelly Everett
Members of the Silverdale Water District (SWD), plus a few fire officials, gathered in front of the ecologically correct garden surrounding their joint SWD/CK Fire and Rescue headquarters. The water district recently received an award for top district in the state. (From left, back row) Assistant chief, Dean Shank, CKFR; assistant chief, Roy Lusk, CKFR; attorney Richard Gross, CKFR and SWD; executive assistant, SWD, Mary Pickard; Randy Billick, division chief, CKFR; operations supervisor, Skip Beahm, SWD. (Front row, from left) Eric Pickard, service technician, SWD; Gary Eddings, division chief, CKFR; Henry Aus, engineer, SWD; Marcus Hoffman, chair, SWD; Dave Cook, commissioner, SWD; Mitch Brown, service tech, SWD. (Kneeling in front) Morgan Johnson, manager, SWD.
— image credit: Photo by Kelly Everett

Water, water everywhere.

Water is the most important managed resource of the Northwest. And must be controlled carefully, or droughts such as last summer’s (2002) can leave us tinder dry.

Silverdale Water District No. 16 was recently named “District of the Year” by the Washington State Association of Sewer and Water Districts, at the state’s semi-annual conference in Portland, Friday, Sept. 12, said local water spokeswoman Mary Pickard. On Oct. 12, reps from the association came to the water district to make a re-presentation at district offices on Newberry Hill Road.

The award was for general industry achievement and meritorious service. Specifically:

l The district’s ecologically designed garden.

“Payment for the ($100,000) artificial waterfall and garden was donated,” said Silverdale Water District President Marcus Hoffman. “Most people think it’s decorative — but it’s more, much more.”

The garden surrounding the joint water district/fire district headquarters on Newberry Road is not just an attractive amenity. The garden has seven “layers” of water saturation — and the plants that grow best at these layers. It’s scientifically designed to illustrate the best native plants for the various soil conditions and micro-climates in Kitsap County. Customers can get valuable information about what to plant in their yards, what the plants look like when mature, how much water the plants will need, when to fertilize, and more.

“This is a functional pond,” said water district engineer, Henry Aus, about the tiny body of water beneath the waterfall. “We can measure evaporation and correlate that with rainfall” as well.

l The district was cited for its work with “Waterpak,” which stands for Water Purveyors Association of Kitsap, said General Manager Morgan Johnson.

“We’re one of the founding members of Waterpak, which nominated us for the award this year,” he said.

“Being a member of something like Waterpak helps us help each other. If one district is working on a project that another district already completed, it’s easy to exchange information and get the job done sooner, and cheaper.”

Right now, Waterpak and its members are working together to develop a “huge aquifer” in the Seabeck area. The district has also been working closely with the PUD on this.

l The water district also takes care of Island Lake.

“It’s not a reservoir for us, so it’s unusual for us to be managing the lake,” he said. “Back in the late 1980s, we had a drought and the lake level lowered considerably. By using one of our wells, we brought the water back up. We also have a valve at the bottom of the lake, in case we get too much rainfall.... Our job has come to mean mitigating changes in the lake based on the weather, to keep it at a stable level.”

He said the water district, Crista Shores Camp, the state Department of Ecology and the county also keep an eye on the popular lake.

Building a joint, single-structure facility for both water and fire was also cited as why SWD got the award. The combined headquarters saved taxpayer money by not building two headquarters — one for CK Fire and Rescue and another for SWD — and the related functions of the two public districts can be more easily coordinated. It also often serves as a meeting spot for other entities — such as the CK Community Council.

The Silverdale Water District was also cited for having one of the lowest water rates in the state.

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