Water Conservation Ordinance

The City of North Bend actively pursues water conservation in a variety of ways: through ongoing distribution system leak reduction efforts, customer conservation education, installation of replacement watermains, and what began in 2020, the Water Conservation Ordinance (WCO).

The intent of the WCO is conservation education and awareness, and it serves as a practice that benefits not only the North Bend community, but the Snoqualmie Valley as a whole. The WCO is part of the North Bend City Council’s ongoing commitment to be good stewards of the environment, conserve a limited natural resource and protect the Snoqualmie River. 

The WCO is now four years old. For some, this ordinance is an anticipated seasonal practice in our community, and for others, the WCO is new and as a participant, we understand you want to ensure you have all the information you need to join in water conservation efforts. 

Water Conservation Ordinance, Stage 3

how to participate in stage 3

The WCO pertains to all property owners inside City limits and all City of North Bend water customers inside or outside City limits. Stage 3 provides property owners with a series of simple directives for water usage: 

  • You can irrigate landscaping one time per week rather than three times as provided in Stage 2. The volume of watering you choose is not affected by the WCO, though the City urges users to be cognizant of their water use at any time, as conservation results in better health of the Snoqualmie River.
  • You can water between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. when less evaporation occurs.
  • Landscape and pasture irrigation – except drip irrigation – is limited to a maximum of one day per week based on the following odd-even schedule: 
    • Customers with odd street addresses can irrigate on Tuesdays. 
      • Customers with even street addresses can irrigate on Wednesdays. Public and private streetscape landscaping (medians and frontage) will be irrigated on the same schedule as customers with street addresses that end with an even number.
  • No water from the City’s water system will be used to drain and refill swimming pools, artificial lakes, ponds, or streams and no new permits for these will be issued until the WCO has been moved to Stage 1 or has ended.
  • Water use for ornamental ponds and fountains is prohibited unless required to maintain existing vegetation, sustain existing fish/animal life, or is necessary for public health reasons. 
  • New or expanded landscaping on properties is limited to drought-tolerant trees, shrubs, and ground cover and no new turf or grass shall be planted, hydroseeded or laid. 
  • Washing of vehicles or equipment may be done at a commercial establishment that uses recycled or reclaimed water. 
  • Customers must contact a repair company to repair all water leaks within 24 hours of notification.
  • Flushing of sewers or fire hydrants is prohibited, except in case of an emergency and for essential operations.
  • Flushing of fire protection systems is prohibited, except during required maintenance or servicing of the system
  • No water from the City’s water system shall be used for construction purposes such as dust control, compaction, or trench jetting, unless the use is necessary for fire protection system testing, maintenance, or acceptance by the Fire Chief.

 As a reminder, if you install or already have a drip irrigation system and that is your sole source of watering, you are exempt from the WCO.

why stage 3 is enacted

The City’s WCO stages are set by levels of the Chester Morse Lake Masonry Pool located near Rattlesnake Lake, which is owned by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU). SPU provides/sells water to approximately 25 water jurisdictions in the region, including mitigation water to North Bend. During dry periods, all those water jurisdictions’ usage draw down Masonry Pool levels. Masonry Pool also feeds Hobo Springs through an underground moraine, which supplies the City with mitigation water which helps protect the health of the Snoqualmie River.

Stage 3 of the WCO is triggered when Masonry Pool falls below the 1,517-foot elevation. A record dry and warm spring caused a much faster snowmelt in the mountains. Snowpack supplies much of the water that flows through Washington State’s rivers. The combination of springtime heat, a very dry May and July, and a 10-day forecast of mostly dry weather has prompted the enactment of Stage 3.