West Sound

West Sound Water Association (WSWA) is a membership-owned water utility serving a community of 38 members in the southwest portion of Orcas Island in San Juan County, Washington. Established in 1988, our association serves a number of full- and part-time residents as well as the Kingfish InnWest Sound MarinaSeaDoc Society, and Orcas Island Yacht Club. Use this site to learn more about our association—members, real estate professionals and the community are encouraged to contact us with any questions or concerns.


What is the current rate schedule?

Download the summary of fees which details the current rates which have been in place since October 2022. Each member is charged a base monthly fee plus a per-gallon rate for actual water usage each month. The per-gallon rate is higher in June through September than the off-peak months to promote conservation at the time of year it matters most for WSWA.

What is the billing policy in the event of a water leak on my property?

Members are billed for all water that passes through their meter, whether for actual use or as the result of a leak. Additionally, members are billed for any significant system operator time and expenses incurred in locating a leak for which the member is responsible. Please see the “Recommendations for members” section for our guidance on avoiding leaks due to freezing, construction and other common causes.

Members who experience a catastrophic leak that was not preventable with ordinary care may contact the Board to request that their invoice be adjusted to use the lowest water rate tier, rather than the normal tiered rate schedule, for usage above the member’s normal monthly usage. Ordinary care generally includes turning off water at the meter when leaving the island and protecting against water leaks.

What is the late fee policy?

“Any balance owing at the time monthly statements are generated will result in an additional $10 late fee,” per our summary of fees. The “balance” may include unpaid service charges, water use charges and previous late fees. The purpose of this practice, which is similar to that of OPALCO and the Eastsound Water Users Association, is to encourage timely payments and help ensure the financial stability of the Association.

Additional information: Our late fee policy dates back to Resolution 89121401, passed in December 1989. The text of this resolution reads:

“An account will be considered delinquent when the water bill remains unpaid on the first day of the next month…during the period that the account is delinquent it shall be subject to a service charge of ten dollars ($10) per month.”

How do I dispute a charge and what is the dispute resolution process?

Please submit your dispute to the WSWA Board of Directors by email or in writing as soon as practical. Your letter should include 1) the amount in dispute; 2) the reason for the dispute; and 3) your recommendations on how the dispute should be resolved. The board will acknowledge receipt of your dispute by either postal mail or email.

The Board will work with you in good faith to discuss and understand the reason for the dispute and work to resolve the issue in a timely manner. From the date your dispute is acknowledged, the amount in dispute is not payable and any unpaid portion of the disputed amount will not be subject to late fees until the Board decides how to address your dispute. Note that late fees will continue to accrue on any other unpaid balance on your account.

How are income and expense levels set and reported?

The responsibility for budgeting and setting the rate schedule lies with the Board of Directors.  Each year at the Annual Meeting of Members, the Board reports the past year’s financial results, and reviews the budget for the coming year. In recent years, the Board has circulated this information in advance of the Annual Meeting, and invited input from members prior to and at the Annual Meeting before the Board adopts the annual budget.

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