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1.5 Million People Asked to Use Less Water to Stretch Region’s Water Supply

The top ways to save water right now are to stop watering your lawn, take shorter or fewer showers, and fix leaks right away, especially running toilets. Find more ways to reduce your water use at or download our water-saving tips flyer (PDF).

中文資訊 | Información en Español | መረጃ በአማርኛ | Thông tin bằng tiếng Việt | Macluumaad Af-Soomaali ah | 한국어 정보 | Impormasyon sa Tagalog

While Seattle may be known for its rainy weather, the last few months have been anything but wet in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, the region has experienced an unprecedented stretch of dry weather.

The unusually dry summer, coupled with a forecast of continued dry conditions including a potential delay in sustained fall rains, have the water supply managers at Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) concerned about having sufficient water for people and fish.

“Our hydrologic model suggests a deep drawdown of our mountain reservoirs. Water levels are already lower than average, and we are adjusting to sustain adequate water supply for our customers and the rivers this fall,” said Elizabeth Garcia, water resources planner at SPU. “We are also asking our customers to help, too, by voluntarily reducing their water use.”

Seattle regional map showing City water customers and surrounding areas that use the water system.

Every day SPU calculates how many millions of gallons of water the region, as a whole, used that day. Then, every Monday, the Utility provides an average daily water consumption number based on the last seven days. (See SPU’s water supply conditions page for more information.) As of Monday, September 18, the region is averaging about 149 million gallons per day (mgd) of water use. This includes water consumed by City of Seattle residents and businesses, plus consumption amounts for customers who receive Seattle Water through other cities and water districts in King County. Together, these two groups make up the 1.5 million customers in the region who are being asked to use less water. (See map of affected customers and communities.)

SPU says the goal is to drop the average water consumption for the region to 100 mgd and keep it at or below that level until we get enough rain to refill the mountain reservoirs sufficiently.

“If we work together to reduce water use in our homes, businesses, and outside, we can meet this goal,” said Anna Dyer, SPU water conservation manager. “Everyone can help by doing things such as taking shorter or fewer showers, stopping lawn watering, washing only full loads of laundry and dishes, and fixing water leaks, especially running toilets.”

For a full list of ways to save water, visit You can also download and print our water-saving tips flyer (PDF).

Graph showing the growth in population and water use in the Seattle region from 1935 to present. Water consumption has decreased in the past forty years despite population growth.

The good news is that Seattle Water customers have a history of being great water stewards. Over the last 40 years, the regional water system has grown from serving 1 to 1.5 million customers but, despite this population growth we use – as a region – the same amount of water we did in the 1950s. “Our customers do a great job using water wisely every day. We’re just asking them to do a little more right now until our water supply improves,” said Dyer.

Fortunately, Seattle hasn’t had to ask its customers to reduce their water use very often. The last time SPU activated its Water Shortage Contingency Plan and asked customers to voluntarily use less water was in 2015. This is a testament to how well the water system is managed even as we experience more frequent and increasingly dry years.

SPU has some of the most experienced and dedicated water resource experts in the nation. Every day they carefully oversee the region’s most precious natural resource, make key operational adjustments in the water system, and balance the needs of people and fish. “Despite the warm spring and dry summer, I’m glad we were able to manage the system in a way that allowed our customers to enjoy using water this summer,” said Garcia. “But with the continued dry weather forecasted this fall, we must take action now to stretch the region’s water supply, and I’m thankful that our customers will do their part.”

Seattle Water logo in the shape of a water droplet with mountains and waves with text Seattle Water, Pure from the Start.

Keep up with the latest water supply information, including how the region is doing to meet our 100 million gallons per day goal, by visiting this blog weekly.  

Water is an important resource for Seattle Parks and Recreation. Learn how the department is using less water in public spaces like parks.

中文 (Chinese)



中文資訊 (PDF)

Español (Spanish)

Se Pide a los Clientes que Reduzcan Voluntariamente el Uso de Agua

Hemos tenido un verano inusualmente seco y estamos enfrentando una posible escasez de agua este otoño. Estamos pidiendo a los clientes que reduzcan voluntariamente el consumo de agua. Esto ayudará a extender el suministro de agua de la región para la población y los peces hasta que llueva lo suficiente en otoño para mejorar nuestro aprovisionamiento.

Información en Español (PDF)

አማርኛ (Amharic) 

ደንበኞች የውሃ አጠቃቀምን በፈቃደኝነት እንዲቀንሱ ተጠይቀዋል

በጋ ከወትሮው በተለየ ደረቅ ነበር እናም በዚህ የበልግ ወቅት ሊከሰት የሚችል የውሃ እጥረት አጋጥሞናል። ደንበኞቻችን የውሃ አጠቃቀምን በፈቃደኝነት እንዲቀንሱ እንጠይቃለን። ይህም በቂ የበልግ ዝናብ እስክናገኝ ድረስ የክልሉን የውሃ አቅርቦት ለሰዎችና ለአሳዎች ለማዳረስ ይረዳል።

መረጃ በአማርኛ (PDF)

Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)

Yêu cầu Khách hàng Tự nguyện Giảm Việc Sử dụng Nước

Chúng ta đã có một mùa hè khô hạn bất thường và đang đối diện với nguy cơ thiếu nước vào mùa thu này. Chúng tôi đang yêu cầu khách hàng tự nguyện giảm lượng nước sử dụng. Điều này sẽ giúp kéo dài nguồn cung cấp nước cho người dân và cá trong khu vực cho đến khi chúng ta có đủ lượng mưa vào mùa thu để cải thiện nguồn cung cấp.

Thông tin bằng tiếng Việt (PDF)

af Soomaali (Somali)

Macaamiisha Ayaa La Weydiistay Inay Si Iskood Ah U Yareeyaan Isticmaalka Biyaha

Waxaan soo marnay xagaa aan caadi ahayn oo qalalan waxaanasuurtagal ah in aan waajahno biyo yari dayrtan. Waxaan ka codsaneynaa macaamiisha inay si iskood ah u yareeyaan isticmaalkooda biyaha. Tani waxay gacan ka geysan doontaa fidinta biyaha gobolka lana gaarsiiyo dadka iyo kalluunka ilaa aan ka helno roob da’aya oo ku filan si aan u wanaajino sahaydeena.

Macluumaad Af-Soomaali ah (PDF) 

한국어 (Korean)

자발적으로 물을 절약해 주실 것을 고객분들께 요청드립니다

올 여름은 비정상적으로 건조했고 올 가을, 우리는 잠재적인 물 부족에 직면해 있습니다. SPU는 고객분들께 자발적으로 물 사용을 줄이시기를 요청드립니다. 이러한 노력은 물 공급을 개선하기에 충분한 가을 비가 올 때까지 사람과 어류를 위한 지역의 물 비축량을 늘리는 데 도움이 될 수 있습니다.

한국어 정보 (PDF)


Hilingin sa mga Customer na Bawasan ang Paggamit ng Tubig

Nagkaroon tayo ng hindi pangkaraniwang tuyong tag-araw at hinaharap ang potensyal na kakulangan ng tubig ngayong taglagas. Hinihiling namin sa mga kostumer na boluntaryong bawasan ang kanilang paggamit ng tubig. Makakatulong ito sa pag-abot ng suplay ng tubig sa rehiyon para sa mga tao at isda hanggang sa magkaroon tayo ng sapat na ulan sa taglagas upang mapabuti ang ating suplay.

Impormasyon sa Tagalog (PDF)