Here’s some good news for Washington state drought watchers – the Department of Ecology has lifted the drought emergency and the governor’s Executive Water Emergency Committee recommends the drought declaration not be continued for this year.
More Good News
Heavy rains and snow have pulled Western Washington completely out of the woods, with the eastern portion of the state quickly following suit. The U.S. Drought Monitor still shows eastern Washington in the dry to moderate zone, but compared with the report from just three months ago, the turnaround is sizable.
Since much of Washington’s water supply comes from snowpack accumulations, and which are more than 100 percent of normal for this time of year, current conditions just don’t meet the criteria required for the declaration of a drought emergency.
Weather forecasts for through March are for warmer, drier conditions as a result of El Niño, so Washington’s Water Supply Advisory Committee will continue to monitor water supply.
According to some predictions, this winter the Seattle area will continue with warmer than typical temperatures. Essentially we could have a repeat of last winter with not much snowpack towards the end of winter. The good news is – we are getting above average of rainfall this December and the trend is expected to follow throughout the winter.
“There’s a 90 percent chance El Niño will continue through this winter and a 80 percent chance it will extend to early spring 2016″, the National Weather Service’s Climate Center reported.
Rich Marriott, King 5 meteorologist, said “The likelihood of warmer than normal temperatures for the Pacific Northwest. It also means less precipitation but not necessarily less rainfall.”
We stand a good chance of seeing a lot of the snow pack disappear before early spring, which puts us in a possible drought condition again next summer.
Collection systems for RainBank customers in Seattle and outlying areas are almost full with some overflowing, thanks to the recent record rainfall. There is enough rainfall that they will be able to continue using their rainwater for domestic use and, more than likely, will go into spring with enough water to last through the summer.
Last summer, some water districts experienced shortages and were forced to buy water from larger districts. Those who have a sustainable rainwater collection system designed and installed by RainBank Rainwater Systems will be more prepared for these shortages with stored water. Most of our designed/installed systems in the Seattle area are supplemental to city water, allowing storage of the collected rain for those times when most needed.
Are you ready for another long dry summer? There is still time. Contact RainBank Rainwater Systems for a free consultation.
Annual rainfall for one year to date is only 1″ below average in Seattle. But, an expected warmer winter will mean a low snowpack for water reserves next summer. With already low levels in our reservoirs and less snowpack, the answer to the shortfall question could be yes.
The reservoirs are much lower than usual going into the wet season this autumn. If we do not see a significant snowpack to replenish reserves during the spring, an already low water level will be stressed even more than this year.
RainBank customers are recognizing that having a rainwater collection system designed and installed by a professional will help ensure that their households will have enough available water for next summer.
An average 2,000 square foot home in Seattle will yield over 44,000 gallons of water annually from the roof. Storing enough of this yield to get through the dryer summer months does not have to be large scale. A household using 120 gallons per month would require approximately 10,000 gallons to see them through the dry season AND that’s for whole house usage. Toilet and laundry facility uses approximately 48% of household demand requiring one half of that amount of storage.
A well-designed water catchment system can ensure enough water to get through next summer’s expected drought.