As we welcome 2021, it is important to remember the simple things to be thankful for in life.

Even one of the essential components of both our physical health and economic livelihood can sometimes be overlooked. The City is responsible for the planning, financing, construction, and maintenance of the water system that provides some of the best municipal drinking water anywhere. Everything from homes, schools, businesses, and firefighting require clean, reliable, and adequate water pressure and volume constantly at the tap. We are very fortunate for the quality and quantity of our water natural resource. At the same time, it has taken, and will continue to take, strategic investment and stewardship by the City year after year to sustain this service and resource.

The City Council at the beginning of every calendar year establishes goals and key projects for the upcoming fiscal year (July 1-June 30). The Council continues to prioritize and invest in essential infrastructure, which among other projects currently includes designing, drilling, and constructing the City’s fourth municipal water well (Well 4).

The City has three wells pulling water from aquifers deep below us and serving the system from multiple locations. The City’s Public Works Director, Paul Bertagna, has led the way on keeping the water system as one of our top priorities to keep up with demand. In the City’s 2017 Water Master Plan, Well 4 was originally anticipated for construction later this decade in fiscal year 2027/28. Due to growth and increasing demand, the City moved Well 4 to this fiscal year to ensure excellent redundancy in the system with an additional 33 percent pumping capacity totaling 4,050 Gallons Per Minute (GPM).

At the January 13 City Council meeting, the Council will review and consider approval of a $713,317 contract for the construction of Well 4 Phase B. You may have seen a well drilling rig on City property near the Creekside Campground. That work was for Well 4 Phase A that consisted of constructing, developing, and testing a municipal water supply well in the volcaniclastic and basalt formations typical in the Deschutes Basin. The well depth ended at 293-feet with 200-feet of 16-inch casing and 100 feet of 12-inch liner assembly.

This work included drilling, casing, screening, grout seal, developing, and testing as required for a complete 1,500 GPM well. Phase A is successfully complete. The Phase A and Phase B estimate for Well 4 was $1,200,000 budgeted through the City’s Water System Development Charge (SDC) Fund. SDCs are paid when new construction connects to the system so that growth pays for growth. The total cost for Well 4 is contracted to be $1,200,037 with Phase B construction anticipated to start in February and substantial completion within 150 calendar days.

A heartfelt thank you to Cris Converse, daughter of Dorro Converse Sokol, an icon of the Sisters community, who donated a substantial water right to the City on behalf of her mother. Also, a special thanks to the City’s Public Works Department who keep everything flowing 24/7/365: Paul Bertagna, Troy Rayburn, Gus Johnson, Doug McIntosh, Josh Stotts, Tod Milburn, Travis Quimby, Jackson Dumanch, and Robin Bentz (recently retired).

If you would like to learn more about this project you can visit the City’s website www.ci.sisters.or.us and view the staff report in the Council meeting packet.