Water System Plan Update

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What's happening?

The mission of Olympia’s water utility is to provide and protect healthy drinking water for the community. To make sure the utility continues to meet its mission, we are updating Olympia's Water System Plan (WSP).

Washington Administrative Code 246-290-100 requires water utilities with 1,000 or more connections, or those that are expanding, to develop water system plans every 6 to 10 years. Water system plans are reviewed and approved by the Washington State Department of Health and are formatted to demonstrate the utility’s capacity to remain in compliance with relevant local, state and federal regulations.

Water systems plans must include the following key information:

  • A water demand forecast & water source assessment.
  • The identification of system deficiencies and a plan to address them, including a capital facilities plan.
  • A source water protection program.
  • A water conservation goal established in a public forum.
  • Service and service area policies.
  • A financial plan, including the identification of revenues adequate to address projected expenses.
  • An Operations and Maintenance program.
  • Documentation that a customer informational meeting has been held, State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) requirements have been met and the WSP has been approved by the legislative authority.

Olympia's 2021-2026 Water System Plan will demonstrate to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), our regulator, that the utility has the operational, technical, managerial and financial capacity to achieve and maintain compliance with all relevant local, state and federal regulations now and into the future.

Draft goals and objectives

As a first step in the water system plan update process, staff reviewed the 2015-2020 Water System Plan goals and objectives. This review resulted in a recommendation to include one new goal, and associated objectives, to address climate change. As additional work is completed, additional revisions may be made.

What will the planning process focus on?

In addition to meeting water system planning requirements, the water utility will focus on the following during this update cycle:

Our primary focus during the development of our 2015-2020 WSP was on changing our source of supply from McAllister Springs (surface supply) to the McAllister Wellfield. During this update, we intend to evaluate the current health of our production wells and consider possible alternative sequencing of our water rights. We will focus foremost on our Shana Park Well itself and in conjunction with the use of our other Southeast Olympia wells and water rights.

In recent years we have been conducting seismic and condition evaluations of our reservoirs/tanks. Currently, we are making seismic upgrades to our Fir St and Elliot reservoirs. During this update, we intend to prepare a plan for addressing how and when to address upgrades to, or replacement of, our other reservoirs/tanks.

Our 2015-2020 WSP included an Asset Management Strategy. Since that time, we have made progress in several areas, including with our asset inventory. During this update, we will focus on determining replacement costs and effective life of our assets in order to better inform, educate and engage the community and our elected officials of our infrastructure investment needs.

Risk and Resiliency Assessment requirements

America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 requires us to conduct a Risk and Resilience Assessment, including an examination of risks from malevolent acts and natural hazards, by December 31, 2020 and an Emergency Response Plan that addresses the identified risks by June 30, 2021.

The results of the Risk and Resiliency Assessment will inform the water system planning process, especially the development of the capital and operations and maintenance programs.

Project assumptions

The water system plan update process will be guided by the following assumptions:

The 2015-2020 Water System Plan serves as an excellent starting point for the 2021-2026 WSP. A minor update will occur consistent with Washington Administrative Code planning requirements.

A city cross-sectional writing team will serve as the primary plan authors. Consulting assistance will be used for:

  • Water demand forecasting & source analysis
  • System deficiency analysis
  • Capital improvement development & project cost estimating
  • Financial and rate analysis

Outreach activities will include, at a minimum, a customer informational meeting, a conservation goal setting forum, a neighboring system and public review period and a public hearing. The Utility Advisory Committee will serve as the primary review committee.


Contact Susan Clark, Engineering and Planning Supervisor at 360.753.8321 or sclark@ci.olympia.wa.us.

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