The future of the island’s water supply

The city will present the preliminary results from a four-year groundwater modeling project tonight at City Hall.

The aim of the project is to predict how various factors, including population growth and climate change, will affect the island’s aquifers.

The presentation is at 5:30 p.m.

Below is the city’s press release.

Members of the public will have the opportunity next week to learn how the island’s groundwater might be affected by different land use, population growth and climate change scenarios. Staff of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which has been working with the City to develop a hydrogeologic model of the island’s groundwater, will present the results at a public meeting at Council Chambers from 5:30-7 pm on Tuesday, July 27.

“Since groundwater is the sole source of drinking water for island residents, it’s imperative that we have a thorough understanding of our aquifer system in order to make sound, knowledgeable management and planning decisions,” said Cami Apfelbeck, Water Resources Specialist and Groundwater Monitoring Program Manager for the City. “This model will give us a better understanding of the way in which changing conditions may impact our ground water resource.”

The modeling effort was initiated in 2006, when the City signed a Joint Funding Agreement with the USGS. The joint scientific study between the two agencies began with an assessment of historical studies and data, followed by two years of research on current well levels, springs and seep flows, stream flow and weather patterns. Based on this data, USGS staff developed a conceptual hydrogeologic model. Last fall, through a collaborative effort involving citizens, city staff, the City Council and the USGS, six scenarios were chosen to be run through the model.

The initial scenarios were chosen to help develop baseline parameters for future analysis and modeling. “The scenarios were intentionally designed to be broad enough to encompass the most extreme ranges of potential population, land use, and climate change in order to provide a basis of comparison for subsequent model runs,” Apfelbeck said.

The USGS is the chief nonregulatory earth science agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Read more about the cooperative Bainbridge Island Groundwater Study on the USGS website or on the City’s Groundwater Management Program page. Contact Cami Apfelbeck with the City (780-3779) or Lonna Frans, USGS (253)552-1694