Regional water supply conditions back to normal

Puget Sound Region (Nov. 23, 2015) Today, Everett, Seattle and Tacoma are deactivating their Water Shortage Response Plans.

Heavy rains in late October and early November led the three cities to declare that water supply conditions were getting back to normal. Since that time, there’s been an overall shift in the weather pattern and the typical wet, cold November weather has returned.

The state remains in a declared drought, but the recent rains on the west side of the Cascades have saturated the ground, filled reservoirs and generally reset the water supplies to normal conditions.

The three cities thank their customers for helping the region stretch its water supplies to meet the needs of people and fish in this unprecedented year.

Each of the three cities continues to be aware of the strong El Nino weather pattern, which could bring warmer weather than normal as well as a below-normal snowpack in 2016. We are closely monitoring the weather, performing regular forecasts of water supply conditions and making operational adjustments to manage the water systems throughout the winter and into the spring.

“Our customers deserve a lot of credit for reducing their water use during the drought,” said Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson. “With their help, the careful management of our public works team and the return to normal rainfall, we are now back at normal water supply conditions.”

“Seattle residents really did their part to conserve this summer,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Our November rains have replenished our water supply, so this year’s challenge has passed. But as the Northwest winter unfolds, we will keep a close eye on the snowpack that feeds our rivers and reservoirs.”

“Thanks to our customers, who played a huge role in helping us manage through the drought,” said Bryan Flint, chair of Tacoma’s Public Utility Board. “The response showed a real commitment to the environment, salmon and the natural resources we all depend on.”

Everett: Since Oct. 1, 39 inches of rain have fallen in the Sultan River watershed. The storage level in Spada reservoir is at 130 percent of normal for this time of year.  Operations at Culmback Dam have transitioned from drought management to flood control.  

Seattle:  The recent weather has provided enough rain to return Seattle’s water system back to within typical ranges. The Cedar River reservoir, which provides two-thirds of Seattle’s drinking water, is full and in flood-management mode. Water levels in the reservoir at the South Fork Tolt River are rising and expected to reach flood-management target elevations soon.

Tacoma: Since Oct. 1, 33 inches of rain have fallen in the Green River Watershed. The water stored behind Howard Hanson Dam has been released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prepare for flood control operations, which is typical in November. Tacoma Water has stopped relying on wells for its water supply and is back to taking water solely from the Green River, which is running well above normal flows.


Map of service areas of Everett, Seattle and Tacoma

About Everett:
Everett operates a regional water supply system that serves 80 percent of the homes and businesses in Snohomish County. This includes Everett and 95 other cities and water districts and serves a population of about 570,000. Get Everett water supply information.

About Seattle:

Seattle operates a regional water supply system serving 1.3 million people, including residents of Seattle as well as 25 other cities and water districts in King County. Get Seattle water supply information.

About Tacoma:

Tacoma Water supplies water directly to about 316,000 people in Tacoma, University Place, Ruston and areas of unincorporated Pierce and south King counties. The utility also serves relatively small areas within the cities of Puyallup, Fircrest, Lakewood and Bonney Lake. Through wholesale connections, Tacoma Water serves Auburn, Bonney Lake, Fife, Puyallup and parts of Pierce and King counties. Get Tacoma water supply information.

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