Seattle implementing the advisory stage of its water shortage response plan has the Eastside cities it supplies joining in a call for greater conservation efforts as the region continues to weather through a record-setting summer heat.
The Cascade Water Alliance — its city members including Bellevue, Kirkland, Issaquah, Redmond and Tukwila — reported in early May the city of Seattle began taking rain into its reservoir in February to compensate for low snowpack. At that time, the message was to continue using water normally.
But Seattle reports high heat and dry weather significantly increased the demand for water, putting its supply outlook at fair. The city is also making operational changes and drawing from supplementary water supplies.
“We’re definitely taking it seriously,” said Bellevue Utilities spokesman Michael May. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a historically hot June and July, and then pair that with people using an above average amount of water.”
May said the city is encouraging residents to be mindful of their water consumption, recommending actions like taking vehicles to commercial car washes that recycle used water or watering their lawns in the early morning or at night.
“It’s hard to say what people are using their water for,” he said, “but definitely they’re using more of it.”
The advisory stage is the first of four — followed by voluntary, mandatory and emergency curtailment — laid out by Seattle’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan, and Bellevue will be taking its water supplier’s lead should conditions change.
“The next step would be voluntary curtailment,” May said, “just telling people now these are more things you can do.”