Tag Archives: Washington drought

Do Washington Water Districts Take Drought Conditions Seriously?

seattle-870282_640Even with the recent rains, drought conditions still persist with water shortages in Western and Eastern Washington.

Saving Water Partnership is a group of local water utilities including Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett Public Utilities, that has been campaigning through television public service announcements, asking customers to “reduce shower times, only do full loads of laundry and dishwashing and fix leaky faucets”. Efforts have reduced water consumption an average of 14%.

Seattle Public Utilities offers rebates in limited areas of Seattle for rain gardens and small rainwater collection irrigation systems through the RainWise program. City of Tacoma offers rebates up to $2,000 to eligible homeowners in two water districts. Everett Public Utilities offers training workshops on rain gardens and rain barrels.

Other cities throughout the country are taking water conservation to the next level.

Saint Paul’s Lowertown Regional Ballpark (currently under construction to be home to the St. Paul Saints) will harvest rainwater for indoor use—Minnesota’s first such municipal project. (See video)

RainBank Rainwater Systems shared information about a rainwater pilot project in Albuquerque New Mexico that now is underway.

The city of San Marcos Public Works Department has been offering up to $5,000 for installations of rainwater collection systems to homeowners and commercial properties as much as $20,000

King County Health Department allows rainwater collection for potable use. Snohomish and Pierce counties do not. The Saving Water Partnership web site says nothing about rainwater collection. It’s time for these water districts to take water shortages seriously and follow examples of other progressive cities that are recognizing the value of investing in rainwater collection and begin promoting how to prevent future water shortages.

Drought and Climate Change Fuel Demand for Rainwater Collection

clouds-21041_640For Immediate Release

For more info, contact Sonia Schenker
admin@rainbank.info, www.rainbank.info

August 5, 2015

Drought and Climate Change Fuel Demand for Rainwater Collection

Climate change is undeniably altering the global landscape. Here in the US, President Obama’s Clean Power Plan addresses the climate predicament by introducing a new rule requiring power plants to cut carbon dioxide emissions to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

In one of the most severe droughts on record, Californians are forced to conserve water, and after Governor Brown’s mandate, have reduced water use by 27.3% in the first month that the new emergency conservation regulation was in effect. Many Californians have begun collecting rainwater and graywater, learning that even a small amount of rain goes a long way when watering plants and flushing toilets.

In Washington State, the record shattering hot, dry weather is affecting stream flows and endangering fish, as more than 80 percent of Washington’s rivers and streams are running at below normal or record low flows. The health department reports that water systems are switching to emergency water supplies, driven by the demand for water created by 90-degree temperatures.

Since 2013, RainBank Rainwater Systems has experienced a striking increase in projects for potable and non-potable rainwater collection system designs and installations for commercial and residential applications. While located in the Seattle area, covering King County, many requests for systems come from Skagit County, as residents are affected by limited water availability due to the Skagit Instream Flow Rule. A good portion of rainwater systems on the San Juan Islands were built by RainBank, with most of them still operating effectively, even more than ten years later. With drought conditions deepening, RainBank also receives inquiries from Oregon and northern California.

In line with its progressive attitude toward the flourishing rainwater collection industry, RainBank is pleased to announce that it has assembled a team of professionals to meet the increased demand for rain harvesting systems:

kenKen Blair, President, ARCSA AP, IS

A rainwater collection systems designer and consultant, Ken has designed and installed residential and commercial, potable and non potable systems, primarily in the northwest United States for 15 years and, also consults for and manages builds nationwide. Ken is an accredited ARCSA Professional, Inspector Specialist, Designer / Installer and Life Member, a Pacific Coastal Regional ARCSA representative and advisor to its education committee. Architects, engineers, government agencies and related professional associations rely on Ken to provide lectures or participate on expert panels to discuss Rainwater Collection Systems design and builds. Ken is a United States Navy veteran, having served on active duty during the Vietnam War era. He attained the rate of E-4 Machinist Mate.

Chad LindslyChad Lindsly:  Chad has been an energetic member of the RainBank team since September 2013, working as a consultant, designer, foreman and installer of residential and commercial rainwater systems. A mechanical engineer, Chad earned a degree from Michigan State University and has seven years’ project management with a focus on resource conservation – including water collection, reuse and treatment for residential and manufacturing processes.  He also has four years’ previous experience in commercial and residential building and residential renovation. Chad’s strong pull toward sustainability is prevalent in his solid work ethic, which makes him a good fit for RainBank’s progressive outlook toward rainwater systems.

TracyBellTracy Bell:  As a former co-owner of Clearview Mechanical Inc., Tracy brings his 30+ years’ experience in alternative energy and water systems, commercial and residential new construction & renovation, off-grid and semi-grid living, and problem solving skills to the RainBank team. A Seattle native, Tracy is a 30-year licensed Journeyman commercial plumber and pipefitter; a licensed commercial property and residential home inspector.  Tracy is an avid organic gardener, enthusiastic fisherman, treasure hunter, reclaimed and sustainable materials artist; and he is an ardent social entrepreneur.

Sonia Schenker HeadshotSonia Schenker, Administrator
(Chief Virtual Officer):
  Sonia has worked behind the scenes as an administrator for RainBank since January 2010. She has 25 plus years’ experience as an executive administrative assistant and also teaches modern office options to adults seeking to improve workplace skills. Based in the northeast US, Sonia manages and advises on all business aspects for RainBank Rainwater Systems, including blog, website and social media management and overall business strategy.

Rainwater collection is a sustainable tool for combatting climate change, drought and aging infrastructure.

As rainwater collection for potable and non-potable applications moves into the mainstream, RainBank encourages prospective users, commercial and residential, to vet a potential designer, contractor or installer and use only those that have the appropriate credentials to ensure systems meet all technical, legal and health mandates.

About RainBank Rainwater Systems: RainBank is an ARCSA accredited designer and installer of rainwater systems for both potable (drinking water) and non-potable for landscaping irrigation and toilet flushing. RainBank’s full-service approach offers design, installation and packaged systems from 2,500 gallons to 50,000 gallons. RainBank’s customers are eco-friendly homeowners and commercial establishments. RainBank provides customers with an integrated, progressive and modern approach to sustainable water systems.


To download this media release, click here.

Washington State Drought Update

drought responseThe Yakima Valley is experiencing drought conditions not seen since the 1870s.

Water rights that were among the earliest in the Territory of Washington, to be used for irrigation, have been shut off in tributaries of the Yakima River due to extreme drought conditions.

Flows in Cowiche Creek and the Teanaway River are so dire that 129 irrigators with rights conferred as far back as 1873 must stop watering their orchards, hay and alfalfa crops on some 2,153 acres. Read more about the Washington Drought here: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/drought/

Federal Drought Declaration

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 18 counties in Washington State as natural disaster areas because of the statewide drought.  Farmers in these counties will now be eligible for low interest emergency loans to help defray crop and business losses incurred because of the drought.  Eligible counties are:  Adams, Benton, Columbia, Douglas, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, King, Klickitat, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pierce, Skamania, Walla Walla, Whitman and Yakima.

2015 Drought Disaster Updates

This map shows designations due to drought across the country under USDA’s amended rule. Any county declared a primary (red) or contiguous (orange) disaster county makes producers in that county eligible for certain emergency aid. For a text list of counties designated disaster areas, click here.

On May 15th, Governor Inslee declared a statewide drought in Washington, with the legislature allocating $16 million in funds. Some of those funds are to go towards education.

Washington State Department of Ecology recognizes and promotes Rainwater Collection as part of the solution. To read more about how to conserve water, read he article “Water Smart, not Water short” 5 ways to Secure water for Washington’s  Future.

Teanaway River photo courtesy of Department of Ecology