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Do King County residents still need to conserve water? KIRO 7 investigates

On Thursday, 1.5 million Seattle Public Utility customers were asked to “voluntarily use less water to stretch the region’s water supply”. According to its website, Seattle Public Utility said, “The unusually dry summer, coupled with a forecast of continued dry conditions including a potential delay in sustained fall rains.”

With almost all of King County residents affected, we looked into any reductions or restrictions down south and learned that for customers of Tacoma Public Utilities, there is nothing in sight.

“It would have to be historically dry for the rest of the year for Tacoma to have a situation where we’d have to ask customers to curtail,” Glen George with Tacoma Water Resources told us. “We are not feeling bad about this year. It looks like we’re going to be okay.”

In the next 48 hours, KIRO 7 Chief Meteorologist Morgan Palmers forecasted another inch to inch and a half to hit the Puget Lowlands, with over .80″ having already fallen since Monday afternoon.

But this rain isn’t enough to offset the deficit with Seattle Public Utilities. In a statement, SPU told us in part, “This week’s rains will help, but the water-use reduction request to our customers remains in effect as we need sustained rains to replenish our reservoirs.”

With Tacoma Public Utilities water supply looking good this year, we asked the Water Resources Department if, like power companies when they’re in a deficit and need to purchase power elsewhere, water companies like SPU could do the same and pull from their supply.

Tacoma Public Utilities replied by saying, “Water is a little different than power in that it takes really large infrastructure to move that water around…because of the distance involved there’s very little interconnection between our systems. There are some thoughts on connecting our systems for just this reason.”

But this year while the water supply looks good for TPU and its customers, we were also told by Glen George, “I don’t know if we’re doing good enough to send water to Seattle.”

On the contrary, while the current weather system isn’t replenishing the water supply, it is combating efforts to extinguish existing wildfires. Over the last 72 hours, more than six inches of rain were reported around the southern portions of the Olympics with over two inches in the Cascades.

As Chief Meteorologist Morgan Palmer has mentioned, an additional three to five inches are expected in the Olympics with another two to four inches in the Cascades by Wednesday night.

While we are only three days into the Fall season, Fire Meteorologist, Matthew Dehr with Washington’s Department of Natural Resources told us that the fall weather is mitigating fire behavior overall.

“As we head into October the sun angle is going down, we’re not getting as much direct heating, it’s just a lot harder to dry things out so that’s what the hope is here in western Washington is it’s really going to be enough rain to smother the fires and enough rain to keep the fire fuels from drying up again this season,” said Dehr.