Emerald City Water

Circle of Blue reporter Brett Walton’s thoughts on water supply in the United States, specifically Seattle, where he lives.

Brow-creasing water supply projections are popping up all over the U.S. nowadays.

  • The latest edition of the Texas water plan, sent to the legislature this winter, anticipates a shortfall of nearly 50 percent in that state by 2060.
  • Two years ago, a report by the consulting firm Tetra Tech for the Natural Resources Defense Council predicted that climate change alone would raise the risk of water shortages for one-third of the counties in the lower 48 states by mid-century.

At least one region is bucking that trend.

The Cedar River is one of two Cascade Mountain watersheds that Seattle uses for its water supply. Chester Morse Lake, shown here, is the main reservoir on the Cedar.
Photo © Brett Walton/Circle of Blue

Last week, Seattle Public Utilities, which serves 1.3 million customers in the Seattle metropolitan area, released its draft water system plan for public comment. Even under a worst-case climate change scenario, the utility’s water supply still exceeds demands through 2074. Those projections include flow requirements for rivers in the two watersheds that the utility uses. That’s good for salmon and, for now, is one less worry line on the forehead of water managers.

Thoughts on water supply? Contact Brett Walton

–Brett Walton
Circle of Blue reporter

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply