Though this year’s snowpack is significantly below average, Seattle’s current water supply outlook remains good. Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has been storing additional rainfall in our reservoirs and making operational adjustments to compensate for the lower-than-normal snowpack.
What is SPU doing to manage and ensure water supply?
• Holding more water: Water levels in our mountain storage reservoirs are being held above normal to make up for the low snowpack.
• System monitoring and operational changes: Snowpack, rainfall and other water resource factors are monitored daily. SPU has adjusted how we capture and release water, as well as how we move it through the water supply system, based on snowpack and predicted rainfall. Adjustments are continuously made to balance water supply, flood management, hydropower and fish habitat.
• Advanced analytic tools: We are continually analyzing how we manage our water supply, fine-tuning our operations that give us confidence in the adequacy of the water supply – even in years with low snowpack.
Planning for Climate Change
This year’s low snowpack represents how climate change may look in the future. We know we may be getting less snowpack and have developed management methods and tools to become less reliant on it. As the snowpack decreases, we will rely more on rainfall for supply.
What can the public do?
Although our water supply outlook is good, SPU always encourages the public to use water wisely. Discover how to conserve water in and around your home at www.savingwater.org.