Bolinas will add two emergency wells to its water system, providing backup water sources that will give the town more leeway to get through the drought. Last week, the Bolinas Community Public Utility District approved plans laid out by a contractor to incorporate the two existing sources in Bolinas into the municipal water system. One well, at the Wharf Road parcel owned by the Bolinas Community Land Trust, will serve the affordable housing development the trust plans to build, and will be connected by a new pump to the BCPUD distribution main to serve the rest of the town. Another existing well, at the Resource Recovery Project site owned by the utility, was dug for irrigation and will need to be upgraded with new water treatment equipment. “The staff believes that diversifying our water supply sources and giving ourselves more resilience in times of water shortage and drought simply puts the district in a better place than we are now,” Jennifer Blackman, the district’s general manager, said at a special board meeting last week. Although the wells are authorized on an emergency basis, Ms. Blackman said the district is hoping to incorporate them as long-term sources. She cited predictions for another dry year and the long-term impacts of climate change, saying the district needs to plan for longer and more pronounced drought periods and ease its current dependence on surface sources like the Arroyo Hondo Creek. In March, Bolinas was the first community in West Marin to enact a mandatory rationing ordinance as BCPUD prepared for drought. Stinson Beach and Inverness followed suit later in the summer. Early this summer, the Bolinas utility lowered its ration trigger to an average of 66,000 gallons per day but has managed to say below the threshold. The town relies heavily on creek flows in the Arroyo Hondo Creek, but can also tap into its supplies at Woodrat Reservoirs #1 and #2. As long-term droughts dry up creeks and climate change increases the risk of algae blooms and cyanobacteria in reservoirs, the district has embraced the emergency well projects in an effort to make the town’s strained system more resilient. Allan Richards, a civil engineer hired by BCPUD, described his plans for the two well projects and gave rough cost estimates to the board last week. The Resource Recovery well, an irrigation well not meant for drinking water, is connected to a tank at Mesa Park by an existing raw water line. Tests showed the presence of E. coli bacteria in the well water, and the line runs near wastewater ponds. Mr. Richards, who works for Stetson Engineers, said to make the water safe, his firm would have to do more than $131,000 worth of work, including building two new 4,600-gallon tanks and a treatment plant with both chlorine and U.V. purification systems at Mesa Park. Some BCPUD directors balked at what they saw as a high cost estimate and redundancy in treatment systems. Lyndon Comstock pointed out that according to the engineer’s estimates, the U.V. treatment system accounted for almost half of the cost of the Resource Recovery well project. He asked if it could be forgone until the district could undertake more water quality tests to determine whether it was necessary. Board member Don Smith agreed. “It’s doubling the cost for something we will only occasionally use,” he said. But Mr. Richards convinced the board that it was better to err on the side of caution and ensure the system has redundancy. “I think it’s necessary, I think it’s responsible, and I think the added cost is worth the additional benefits and precautions we would receive from it,” he said. The other well project, located on the land trust property, would be a little over half the cost of the Resource Recovery well, at around $69,000, Mr. Richards estimated. Arianne Dar, the executive director of the land trust, told the board that her group will contribute to the cost of the project, which will involve building a new 4,600-gallon tank and chlorination system at the site and installing a line to pump water to the distribution main that runs underneath Wharf Road. The trust is in the permitting phase for an eight-unit affordable development on the property, which is the only multi-family parcel in Bolinas.