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At a critical time for fish, region maintains 14 percent water reduction


SockeyeSalmon_1000X686Puget Sound Region (Sept. 23, 2015) While we wait for the fall rains to come in earnest, it remains important for people to reduce their water use. Everett, Seattle and Tacoma continue to ask their customers to reduce water use by 10 percent so that we have enough for people and fish now and later in the year.

Water reduction goal met, continued reductions are needed

Over the last six weeks, the region has collectively cut back water use by 14 percent. We appreciate what people have done to cut back and thank them for their efforts. Continued water use reductions are needed until fall rains return in earnest and fill our reservoirs back to normal levels.

As the weather continues to cool, customers should think about what they can do to save water inside:

Indoor water-saving tips for residents:

  • Reduce showering time
  • Check for and fix leaks
  • Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes
  • Turn off the tap while brushing teeth or shaving
  • Don’t pre-rinse dishes
  • If purchasing fixtures/equipment, choose water-efficient models

Indoor water-saving tips for businesses: 

  • Encourage reduced showering times at your facilities
  • Serve water only on request
  • Check for and fix leaks
  • Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes
  • Provide new towels only on request
  • Check cooling towers for overflow and excessive blowdown
  • If purchasing fixtures/equipment, choose water-efficient models

The next round of regional water use reduction results will be released the week of  Oct. 7.

About the Salmon: 

This time of year is critical in the salmon life cycle, as they migrate back from the ocean and travel up their native rivers to spawn. Both the amount and temperature of water in rivers affect their ability to conserve energy, avoid predators and successfully spawn.

Everett: It is the start of spawning season for chinook salmon and fall steelhead in the Sultan River system, which is the water source for Everett’s regional water system. On Sept. 12, the City of Everett released 1,000 cubic feet per second from storage in Spada Reservoir (Culback Dam) into the Sultan River as a “fish attraction” flow to assist fish in their upstream journey. In the past three weeks, the Sultan River watershed received 10 inches of rain, which raised the water level in the reservoir by seven feet, but the fish attraction flow release  brought the water level back down about a foot. The amount of water storage in the reservoir is still only at 70 percent of normal for this time of year and continues to drop.

Seattle: Seattle Public Utilities continues to provide beneficial flows for salmon, steelhead and trout to supplement lower-than-normal natural conditions in the Cedar and South Fork Tolt rivers, the water sources for Seattle’s regional water system. Chinook and sockeye salmon are spawning in the Cedar, and adult chinook salmon are spawning in the Tolt River. Juvenile steelhead and coho continue to rear in both rivers.

Tacoma: On the Green River, Tacoma’s primary water source, chinook salmon are moving up the river to spawn right now. The utility needs to ensure they have enough cool water during this peak time over the next few weeks so they can successfully complete their life cycle. To help with that, Tacoma Water and its partner agencies will release extra water for a short time – called a “freshet” – from its storage behind the Howard Hanson Dam. Lower than normal flows into the Green River mean the utility must use stored water now to protect the chinook, a threathened species.


Water Supply Update
Current water supply graphs (pdf)