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A Snoqualmie Valley fall brings beautiful, bright foliage and crisp breezes, but it is also the beginning of the rainy season. With the recent rainfall, it can be easy to forget that Stage 3 of the City of North Bend’s Water Conservation Ordinance (WCO) is still in effect.
A very hot and dry May melted snow in the Cascade Mountains faster and earlier this year, resulting in higher than typical flows in the Snoqualmie River in May through July, but lower than typical flows in August through October. Lower summer river flows is one reason why the City initiated the WCO sooner than usual. North Bend remains the only water mitigation purveyor in the Snoqualmie Watershed. As such, our water must be compensated drop-for-drop by other sources into the river when Centennial Well is active and the Snoqualmie River is below the ‘Base In-stream Flow’ as defined by the City’s Centennial Water Right.
Conservation of natural resources is the right thing to do, and as climate change further impacts our region, it has become increasingly important. By adding cold, filtered water when the river is low, we are actively improving the health of the Snoqualmie River and salmon downstream of Snoqualmie Falls.
Recent rain in September and early October prevented reservoir levels from dropping further, but they remain lower than usual – with a low point reached approximately 30 days sooner than typical years. Conditions such as these have required the City to stay in Stage 3, while closely monitoring the watershed. The City will continue to monitor the state of our watershed and provide community updates.
Water Supply Agreement: a solution 15 years in the making
In June, the member-owned water co-op, Sallal Water Association, and the City approved an agreement for the wholesale supply of domestic water to Sallal Water Association and mitigation water to the City. By working together, the City and Sallal will be able to meet the water needs of all residents and property owners even during hotter and drier summers, while also meeting the City’s mitigation requirements for the Snoqualmie River.
Next steps include Sallal building a domestic water intertie and the City building a mitigation water intertie. These will serve as the means to share water, allowing the City to sell domestic water to Sallal, and allowing Sallal to sell mitigation water to the City. The City’s intertie will be constructed and operational in 2024, and it is anticipated that Sallal’s intertie will be constructed and operational in 2025.
Your efforts to help conserve water and protect the Snoqualmie River are appreciated. Learn more about water conservation in North Bend by visiting the City’s Water Conservation webpage.
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