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Regional water supply conditions improve

Cities move from voluntary to advisory stage


Puget Sound Region (Nov. 10, 2015) Recent rains have improved our region’s water supply. Now cautiously optimistic about water supply conditions, Everett, Seattle and Tacoma are moving to the lowest stage of their Water Shortage Response Plans, the advisory stage.


Conditions no longer warrant being in the “voluntary” stage, in which customers were asked to reduce water use by 10 percent. The advisory stage means that a potential water supply problem may exist. This is still the case due to an ongoing strong El Nino that is expected to bring warm weather through the spring. While in the advisory stage, the cities ask customers to use water wisely by not wasting it. 


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.


“As we move from the voluntary to advisory stage of our drought response plan, I want to acknowledge and thank the customers of Everett’s water system for meeting and exceeding the 10 percent reduction goal,” said Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson.


 “We live in a region where our customers truly understand and value drinking water as a precious resource,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “When we asked them to partner with us by reducing their water use, they stepped up and responded. I want to personally thank the residents and businesses of Seattle for doing their part.”


“Our improved condition today is due to the efforts of our customers to cut back, our staff’s response to the drought, the cooperation of our partners and the coordination with natural resource agencies,” said Bryan Flint, chair of Tacoma’s Public Utility Board. “Thank you for your dedication to the resource we have in the Green River.”


Everett:  The Sultan River watershed received more than 13 inches of rain in the last two weeks.  This brings precipitation in the Sultan watershed to almost 80 percent of normal for this time of year.  The storage level in Spada reservoir increased by 25 feet recently and is now above normal. This has enabled Everett to exceed normal fish flow requirements in the Sultan River. 


Seattle:  With rain from the Halloween storm, supply reservoirs on the Cedar and South Fork Tolt rivers rose 12 and 14 feet, respectively, and are now at 92 percent of normal for this time of year. The utility continues to provide beneficial flows for spawning salmon in both the Cedar and South Fork Tolt rivers.


Tacoma: Since Oct. 1, 21 inches of rain have fallen in the Green River Watershed, with six of that coming on Halloween weekend. 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. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to release the remaining water behind the Howard Hanson Dam into the Green River to prepare for flood season. Those factors, combined with the forecast for rain in the next few weeks, have led Tacoma Water to move to the advisory stage.


Here are some steps that people can take to use water wisely. More water-saving tips can be found at


Indoor water-saving tips for residents: 

  • Add 2-3 inches of mulch to the surface of bare soils

  • 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:

  • 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


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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