Seattle water officials begin preparing for conservation : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Seattle water officials begin preparing for conservation The Associated Press 2/27/01 8:03 AM

SEATTLE (AP) -- Approaching the end of one of the driest winters on record, city officials have begun a campaign for water conservation throughout the metropolitan area.

Managers of other Puget Sound-area water systems also say they're concerned about how much will be available this summer.

Hoping to avoid restrictions, officials on Monday implemented the first stage of a four-part drought plan, asking the 1.3 million King County residents who rely on city water to start using less now.

"There may be a problem. Conserve," said Diana Gale, head of Seattle Public Utilities. "We may need it later."

Rainfall since November at Chester Morse Lake on the Cedar River is 57 percent of average, the lowest in 71 years. The snowpack that feeds the Cedar and Tolt rivers, the city's water sources, is 65 percent of normal.

Still, officials said the city is better prepared for drought now than in 1992, the last major dry spell.

A new filtration plant began operating at the reservoir on the South Fork of the Tolt last month, increasing the output of the reservoir by 11 million gallons a day, enough to serve every tap in Bellevue.

In addition, customers got used to conservation in 1992 and have helped keep total water consumption to 148 million gallons a day, the same as in 1978, despite a 29 percent population increase, Gale said.

If rainfall is close to normal in the next two months, there should be no need to impose yard-watering restrictions or other conservation requirements, but "it's not there yet," said George Schneider, the city's water resource manager.

There's a "90 percent chance" of averting a crisis, but "we still have a 10 percent chance" of having one, Schneider said.

Similar sentiments were voiced in other jurisdictions.

"Usually we can make up for (a dry winter) in the spring rain, but who knows what we're going to have this year?" Bremerton water chief Kathleen Cahall said. "Our reservoir is only at about 40 percent of its desired level."

Everett could find itself in a dilemma if the Snohomish County Public Utility District draws down a reservoir shared with the city on the Sultan River to produce electricity this summer, reducing the need to buy more expensive power on the spot market.

There would still be enough water below the turbines to meet drinking water demand in the summer, "but if you go into fall without much (water stored) and you have a dry fall, there could be a problem," Everett public works director Clair Olivers said.

Water systems that rely on wells, as in Tacoma are less readily affected by weather.

"We've got one thing that Seattle doesn't, and that is that we've got a lot of ground water, and the water level in our wells is pretty close to normal," said David Sherman, Tacoma's water supply manager.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 27, 2001


Unlike the political 'science' mish-mosh called "global warming", there is almost NO doubt that clean supplies of fresh water are in serious trouble. Again, unlike GW, there is clear and undeniable evidence of troubles immediately ahead - as far as fresh water goes.

While at UCSD I recall Prof. Isaacs [1970s-80s] suggest that we tow icebergs into So. Calif. [& other 'dry' spots] for fresh water. Seemed laughable at the time - and it might set off howls of protests now - but it probably 'could' work! Just the thought of LA towing in icebergs is still good joke material tho'.

-- FormerCalifornia (Fruit&, February 27, 2001.

Well seeing big junks of our north and south poles on the coast of many countries may just be like that geneticaly modified pig with wings in the making.

-- NdewT (, February 27, 2001.

Thats "chunks" not "junks".

-- NdewT (, February 28, 2001.


Yup, you're right! If and when it occurs.

However, all too many proponents of GW are attempting to promote their "working theory" as if it were a fact-certain...which it is anything but. GW is a highly suspect, Leftist-politically driven theory based solely on anecdotal evidence and the output of admittedly flawed climatology computer models. The proponents of GW immediately launch into proposed solutions of the GW 'problem' which would loot the assets of the developed countries and transfer them to the third world. This is a perfect example of politics and science rarely mixing well.

Even tho' it's currently difficult for climatologists to get funding unless they sign on to the GW belief system - a sizable percentage [of climatologists] remain very dubious of the extent or duration of any currently observed 'indications' of GW. In plain English - the lack of hard, indisputable evidence tends to throw "cold water" on the GW theory.

While most climatologists who find problems with GW theory would gladly sign on [to GW] if unbiased, indisputable scientific evidence were produced - the GW folk appear to have closed minds on the issue...and typically refuse to honestly debate the matter. They ignore issues brought up that serve to refute GW and instead drop another 'crumb' of anecdotal evidentce. That's intellectually dishonest and is NOT how science works.

BTW, anyone studying the UN/IPCC report [sections of which are being released over several months] will find that many contributing scientists do indeed disagree with the GW theory - or significant aspects of it. Of course that fact will quickly be ignored by the UN and the media.

-- UncleWeatherbeeFormer (, February 28, 2001.

Wow, had to reread the article. Could not find any mention about global warming. By the way there is a new category for global warming articles.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 28, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ