Northwest NEWS

October 11, 1999

Local News

Woodinville Water District celebrates 40th anniversary

Maureen Jewitt Ken Goodwin Gwenn Maxfield
Board President Maureen Jewitt. Commissioner Ken Goodwin. Commissioner Gwenn Maxfield.
Walter Backstrom Gail Harrell
Commissioner Walter Backstrom. Commissioner Gail Harrell.

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--The Woodinville Water District invites the public to an Open House on Tuesday, Oct. 19, from 3-7 p.m., to celebrate 40 years of service to Woodinville residents. The Board of Commissioners also invites residents to attend their regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m., right after the Open House. The district office is at 17238 NE Woodinville-Duvall Road.

   The party will feature pictures and documents of Water District history. The informal gathering will give residents a chance to meet current and former commissioners and staff members, browse through the district's demonstration garden, and enjoy refreshments. Refreshments will include croissant sandwiches, fruit and vegetable plates, coffee, and punch.

   The demonstration garden shows Northwest gardeners how they can most efficiently water and maintain their gardens. The district has given tours and demonstrations of the garden every spring since 1993.

   Since the Woodinville Water District buys water from the Seattle Water District's Tolt River Pipeline, which runs east to west through Woodinville's southern edge, the history display will include how the Seattle Water District was started in 1895.

   The Great Seattle Fire that leveled downtown Seattle on June 6, 1889 was a cold wake-up splash in the face to Seattle residents, who had thought their patchwork of private water systems would adequately serve every need. An 1895 vote, 2,656-1,665, provided revenue bonds to build the Cedar River System. Opponents called proponents "crass-headed idiots."

   Seattle finally got its first water from the Cedar River in 1901. By 1906, demand on hot days exceeded the system's daily capacity of 23.5 million gallons. Cedar River Pipeline No. 2, adding 45 million gallons per day, began operating in 1909. Chlorine disinfection, started in 1914, reduced occurrence of typhoid and other water-borne diseases.

   In 1936, foreseeing a growing need, the City of Seattle acquired water rights to the Tolt River. Dam construction on the Tolt began in 1959. In August of that year, King County Water Dist. No. 104 was established in Woodinville. Its first Commissioners were Melvern E. Johnson, Grover C. Gaier, and Keith Parks.

   In August of 1960, the district engineer prepared a comprehensive plan and program for water development. The district started serving Tolt water to Woodinville residents in January of 1963, when the first part of the Tolt system was finished. They sold 14 million gallons the first year. North Seattle and its suburbs started getting Tolt water in 1964. The district became a combined water-sewer district in 1969.

   In 1972, the district built the 1.13 million gallon Kingsgate standpipe, its first major water storage facility, and contracted for construction of Woodinville sewers. By 1973, the district sold 243 million gallons a year, and had built storage facilities holding a total of 7.5 million gallons.

   District 104 changed its name to Woodinville Water District in 1985, and in 1992 the district began a comprehensive water conservation program. In 1996, the Board of Commissioners grew from three to five members. The district currently serves over 40,000 people within 40 square miles and sells 1.4 billion gallons of water annually.

   For more information, call Deborah Rannfeldt at 425-483-9104.

Water District commissioners elected to posts

   Ken Goodwin, Woodinville Water District Commissioner, has been elected to serve as Vice President of the Washington Association of Water and Sewer Districts. Maureen Jewitt, president of the Woodinville Water District Board of Commissioners, has been elected as Secretary-Treasurer of the Cascade Water Alliance (CWA). The CWA is an alliance of water providers committed to representative regional solutions to water issues.