Tag Archives: Seattle Public Utilities

Rainwater Has Many Uses For Seattle Residents


Seattle residents enjoy the advantage of being able to collect rainwater for both non potable and potable use.

A single family residence can supplement city water for whole house use with rainwater. Rainwater collection has many benefits to the home owner – whether intended for irrigation or household use. Toilet flushing, laundry facility, and wash down are non potable uses that can save water consumption and money on monthly bills.

Systems can be easily installed for new construction or retro-fitted for existing homes. According to the American Water Works Association (AWWA) non potable usage accounts for approximately 52% of residential usage. We know that collected rainwater helps supply nutrients to soil and provides naturally soft water for bathing and washing. With proper filtration and disinfection, the collected rainwater can be used for potable demands (sinks, showers, and drinking water), which account for the other 48% demand.

An average 2,000 square foot roof in Seattle will see over 44,000 gallons of roof runoff annually.

This runoff either enters the city’s stormwater system or enters its combined sewer system. The latter can result in intentional release into the Puget Sound when system are overwhelmed. The City of Seattle is mandated by the Federal Government to meet these challenges by requiring onsite infiltration of all new construction.

Seattle Public Utilities, along with King county, have the daunting task of mapping, upgrading and replacing an outdated public stormwater system. This federally required mandate will be lengthy and expensive.

Decentralized systems are the future.

RainBank Rainwater Systems designs and constructs systems for our clients’ specific needs. We calculate amounts available, usage, storage and automate systems to switch from city water to rainwater, depending on the seasons’ rainfall amounts and the desired usage. This technique optimizes roof runoff to demand, reducing stormwater while lowering city water usage. The water quality is superior, it is good for our Puget Sound and waterways, and it will reduce monthly water bills. We live in an area that is ideal for rainwater collection are you taking advantage of that.

Water Supply Predictions from Seattle Public Utilities

Seattle Downtown After RainThe water supply prediction scenarios from Seattle Public Utilities are in – and the outlook isn’t good for Seattle and Washingtonians.

According to an article on Grist.org titled, This Drought is so Bad That Even Seattle is Running Out of Water, “Almost all the future scenarios modeled by SPU showed big drops in what’s known in water-utility lingo as “firm yield”: the amount of water that can be reliably delivered. Even assuming a drastic cutback in the amount of greenhouse gasses being emitted today, Seattle is looking at reduced firm yield of an average of about 30 percent through 2050, according to three of these future climate simulations. …”

One option for increasing water supply includes drawing water from Lake Youngs, but that might pull mud into the water supply, requiring expensive water treatment. Water from Puget Sound is an option but that would involve costly desalination.

So, what’s one of the country’s the fastest-growing cities to do? Although Seattleites have been proactive about conserving water usage over the last 50 years with efforts like low-flow toilets, there’s only so much cutting back you can do when supply is tight.

An article on InvestigateWest titled, Climate Change is Darkening Seattle’s Water Forecast, shares that water supply predictions are dire, even though models may be incomplete and involve guesswork and assumptions based on “what-if” scenarios.

“Quietly unveiled to regional water managers over the summer, the admittedly incomplete — and yet extremely sobering — calculations show the amount of water Seattleites can count on could be reduced by as much as half over the next 35 years and nearly three-quarters by the end of the century.”

The article goes on to share: “The climate models are not perfect,” acknowledges SPU climate researcher Paul Fleming. But these simulations are clearly showing that “climate change will increase the magnitude and the likelihood of those events occurring,” Fleming said.”

Seattle, it’s time to go beyond conservation efforts like taking shorter showers and running your dishwasher less often. Do you know that with rainwater collection, you can have your own supply of water for washing laundry and flushing toilets? In some areas, you can even collect your own drinking water.

RainBank customers are already benefiting by collecting rain. Read more about RainBank systems in Bellevue, Vashon Island and the Puget Sound area and how folks are proactively dealing with More Cuts To Seattle Water Usage.