SPU customers are being asked to reduce their water use for first time in years

SEATTLE — Seattle Public Utilities is asking its 1.5 million customers to voluntarily use less water until fall rains return.

“Whether you’re in a residence or a business, single family or multi-family home… uf everybody pulls back a little bit collectively that will make a difference and that will help use reduce our demands sufficiently,” says Kelly O’Rourke, with SPU’s Water Conservation team.

The announcement comes after an unusually dry summer and a forecasted dry fall.

The utility activated its water shortage contingency plan and is in the voluntary reduction stage to make the water supply last until it’s replenished by rain, according to a Thursday morning news release.

“The way that we run our reservoirs is that in the spring they get filled up with the snow and the rain,” O’Rourke described. “And then we are drawing the reservoirs down all summer long, as we’re providing water for people and water for fish.“

“So at this time of year they are typically at their lowest point, but they’re lower than normal,” she added.

Customers are asked to reduce their water use until further notice as SPU works to manage its supplies for people and fish.

This is only the seventh time that customers have been asked to reduce their water usage since the start of the city’s water supply. In 1986 and 1992, the conservation efforts were mandatory. O’Rourke doesn’t think it will get to that point if the community helps out voluntarily.

Ways people can lower their water use include:

  • Stop watering lawns.
  • Take shorter or fewer showers.
  • Check for leaks and fix any found now, particularly running toilets.

It’s OK to water newly planted lawns, young plants and trees, and vegetable gardens, as long as it’s done efficiently.

City of Seattle departments are also making changes to lessen water use.

The utility manages two large regional watersheds that supply its customers, which include people in King County who receive Seattle water through SPU’s wholesale customers.

You can find more water-saving tips at https://www.savingwater.org/

For more information and weekly updates on water reduction, visit SPU’s At Your Service Blog.

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