Thursday, November 6, 2014

Random Encounters with Port Townsend's Water System

While on a forest slope above Discovery Bay I heard what I took to be a loud boat out in the water. But it turned out to be a pipe discharging a jet of water into the bay.

When I reached the shore I noted the sound and white water. The rock lined shore is rip rap associated with a former railroad to Port Townsend along the coast on this shore reach.

Water under high pressure shooting out of a steel pipe.

The pipe is a relief pipe for water that supplies Port Townsend with water from the Olympic Mountains. Water for PT is diverted out of the Big Quilcene River and to a lesser extent the Little Quilcene River. If there is too much water flowing in the system, the water overflows down the pipe from the slope above this discharge point several hundred feet in elevation above - hence the high pressure and noise.

Water diversions and route to PT

Given that in its early days Port Townsend suffered from a shortage of water, the city celebrated its new water source with a man made waterfall in Chetzemoka Park discharging excess water. An informational sign in the park has a blow up of a post card sent to Bellingham showing the waterfall as a message of plenty of water in PT.

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