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Region continues to meet 10 percent water reduction goal

SockeyeSalmon_1000X686Puget Sound Region (Oct. 7, 2015) Fall has arrived, but consistent fall rains have not.  Everett, Seattle and Tacoma remain in the second stage of their drought response plans.  The water systems rely on fall rains to fill the reservoirs so there is enough water for people and fish.    Customers in the region have reduced their use over the past eight weeks by a total of 14 percent. The cities are asking their customers to continue to reduce their water use.

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.


Water reduction goal met
Over the last eight weeks, the region has collectively cut back water use by 14 percent. The water system managers 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  to normal levels.

Here are steps that customers can take to reduce water use as the weather continues to cool:

Outdoor water-saving tips:

  • If you haven’t already, stop watering: As temperatures cool and days get shorter, lawns and plants enter the initial phase of dormancy when no water is needed.
  • Weed and mulch:  Add 2-3 inches of mulch to the soil surface.
  • For more fall landscape water conservation tips, take a look at the latest blog post from Mark Guthrie, SPU Landscape Water Conservation Program manager

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

Find more water saving tips at

City-Specific Reports

Seattle: The total water level in SPU’s reservoirs is at 74 percent of what would be typical for this time of year.  In addition to assuring drinking water for people 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: Over the last two weeks, Tacoma and its partner agencies have been sending extra water down the Green River for chinook salmon – a threatened species – to ensure they can spawn successfully.  To date, Tacoma Water has received above average numbers of adult chinook salmon to its Trap and Sort Facility with the peak of spawning occurring now. It appears the timing of the extra water was successful in getting chinook salmon upstream to higher quality spawning areas they may not have otherwise reached. The peak of chinook spawning will last for another two weeks and taper off toward the end of October.

The total storage available behind Howard Hanson Dam is near normal levels, thanks to the conservation efforts of Tacoma Water customers and the utility’s ability to use groundwater to supplant river water over the last few months.  

Everett:  Everett continues to provide fish flows for chinook salmon and fall steelhead on the Sultan River, which is the water source for Everett’s regional water system.  The Sultan River watershed received about a quarter of an inch of rain during the last two weeks.  Storage at Spada Reservoir is 72 percent of normal for this time of year.

The next round of regional water use reduction results will be released the week of  Oct. 19.

More Information

Water Supply Update
Current water supply graphs (pdf)