Lacey council agrees to spend about $600,000 to acquire water from Olympia. Here’s why

Lacey City Council agreed this past week to spend close to $600,000 to acquire water from Olympia as part of a wholesale water agreement.

The agreement allows Lacey to purchase up to 2 million gallons per day from now until 2028, according to information shared with the council.

So why does the city need the water?

Lacey has 20 water wells that produce around 3 billion gallons of water per year for residents and other needs. But six of those wells are facing a variety of upgrades and work, which means those wells will go offline as they undergo work.

“As far as construction sequencing goes, we can try and do our best, but you never really know how things are going to turn out,” said Brandon McAllister, a public works utility engineer for the city. “Sometimes things take longer. Sometimes parts don’t show up. So we’re trying to make sure we’re covered in the event that, you know, we’re in the summer and something just isn’t ready to run.”

Summer demand for water in Lacey is estimated at 16 million gallons per day, McAllister told the council.

“So you know, if we’re in a situation where you have two wells off and it’s a hot day, we’re going to be right on the edge of being able to keep up,” he said, adding that the wholesale water agreement is “buying some insurance and making sure that we can stay ahead of anticipated demand.”

Council member Michael Steadman pointed out the city has had such agreements before.

“We’ll probably do it in the future. We might even wind up helping them one day. I’m sure we’ve done it before. So it’s a good thing. This is where partnerships help for the greater good,” he said.

Water has become a serious topic in the city of late.

Prior to the wholesale water agreement discussion, the council has been focused on water well No. 7, the city’s largest well, located east of Saint Martin’s University, that also happens to be slowing down.

The city needs to dig a new well nearby, but to do that it needs to acquire land from two property owners. The council recently voted 5-1 to give the city attorney the power to proceed with an eminent domain petition, which would take the land in exchange for a fair market price.

Lacey council OKs using eminent domain powers to acquire land near important water well

This well is so important to Lacey, the city may use eminent domain to take private property