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Residents advised to manage water use as city activates water shortage response plan

Because of historic low river levels and this summer’s heat wave, Seattle, Tacoma and Everett have activated water shortage response plans, with the first phase asking residents to be mindful of their water use.

Seattle’s water supply outlook is fair and, like Everett, supply is projected to be adequate until fall rains typically return. With today’s activation of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan, the city is taking the needed steps to further maximize its water supply for people and fish in the event this unusual weather continues.

Seattle operates a regional water supply system that serves Seattle as well as 25 other cities and water districts in King County.

If conditions worsen, each city may move to the “voluntary” phase of water shortage response and ask customers to reduce the amount of water they normally use each day.

Examples of good water management include:

• Watering early or late: Water before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m., which reduces evaporation.
• Watering deeply, but infrequently: It’s better to have one or two deep waterings, rather than several shallow waterings.
• Fixing leaks: Fix obvious indoor and outdoor leaks such as at faucets, hose bibs and sprinkler spray heads. Check for less obvious leaks such as silent toilet leaks. Put several drops of food coloring in your toilet tank; after 10 minutes if you have color in the toilet bowl, you have a flapper leak.
• Washing vehicles wisely: Wash your vehicle(s) at locations that recycle their water.
• Using a broom, not a hose: Use a broom, rather than a hose, to clean sidewalks, driveways and patios.
• Washing full loads: Wait until your clothes washer and dishwasher are full before starting.