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.

Recommendations for members

What recommendations does WSWA have for protecting against water leaks?

In the event of a known leak, members should immediately turn off the main supply valve located before your meter. If you are unsure of where your main supply valve is located or how to operate it, please contact our emergency contact to arrange for the system operator to show you how to shut off your water.

Four common causes of leaks include:

• Frozen pipes can occur during cold weather due to a number of factors including inadequate insulation, cold temperatures in an unoccupied house, and exposed plumbing (such as in a crawl space).

• Construction can accidentally cause breaks in pipes inside a house or underground.

• Plumbing failure from aging components (especially hot water heaters), improperly installed pipe fittings, wear and tear, or any number of other causes can cause both small and large leaks.

• Outdoor irrigation systems are seldom constructed to the same standards as indoor plumbing and can commonly fail or use more water than expected.

A catastrophic leak can affect the availability of water to other members—and result in an abnormally high water use bill for you. Each member is responsible for maintaining their plumbing and taking proper precautions to avoid leaks. To help protect against catastrophic leaks:

• Turn your water off before the meter any time you will be away for an extended period. Particularly during cold weather, WSWA urges members to turn water off each time you leave the island, especially if you have an above-ground backflow assembly device or exposed pipes.

• Know where your plumbing is located before beginning any construction project. Please contact the WSWA system operator who can help advise where WSWA distribution lines are before digging. The Call Before You Dig service does NOT currently include WSWA. Third-party locating services may be able to help you identify secondary water, electric, propane, communications and other utility lines located on your property beyond your water meter.

• Maintain system components, including water heaters, backflow assembly devices, pressure-reducing valves, water filters, etc. on a regular basis. Contact the Board if you need additional information.

What does WSWA recommend regarding water conservation?

Like all Washington water systems, WSWA is required to adopt and implement a water conservation plan, which is driven by the practical needs of our Water Use Plan. In the years ahead, conservation will be the key to ensuring adequate supply for members without significant new infrastructure investments.

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