Early drought conditions in 2021
A drought advisory was in effect for many counties across the state. Washington faced one of the driest springs on record. Melting snowpack kept many rivers and streams above normal, but some lower elevation and rain-fed watersheds were forecast to experience unusually low runoff.
A drought advisory promotes awareness of dry conditions in areas where water supply is below normal. No drought emergencies were declared at that time.
The following counties were included in the drought advisory:
|Clallam (western half)
||Jefferson (western half)
||Lewis (western half)
Lower elevation areas faced curtailment due to low local streamflows. Eastern Washington areas had extremely dry soil conditions. The city of Spokane, which operates the second largest water system in the state, asked customers to take steps immediately to use less water during these drought conditions to limit the impacts on water resources — the Spokane River and the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer. See www.waterwisespokane.org for information on water saving efforts.
The Puget Sound area, which benefits from mountain snowpack and more precipitation, was not under drought advisory at that time. Based on current conditions and forecasts, the Seattle regional area, Everett, and Tacoma have sufficient water supply for people and fish this summer. Over the summer, the utilities will monitor water supplies and encourage customers to use water wisely.
A drought advisory is a new process to promote early awareness of possible drought. Depending on upcoming weather conditions, drought advisory areas may face drought emergency in the near future. If you rely on your own well or pump for your water supply, you may be subject to curtailment (shut off or reduced use) to protect senior water rights. Contact your Ecology regional office if you have questions about your own legal water use.
Watch here for upcoming information about this season’s forecasts and drought conditions.
We encourage voluntary conservation of water in areas of drought advisory. Using less water now means more will be available if dry conditions continue through the season.