Continued Hot, Dry Weather Prompts City to Prepare for Stage 2 of Water Conservation Ordinance

Based on the upcoming forecast of continued hot and dry weather conditions and a drastic reduction of snowpack throughout the watershed, the City of North Bend will likely enact Stage 2 of the City’s Water Conservation Ordinance (WCO) beginning the week of August 21.  

As climate change continues to impact King County and the Pacific Northwest region, the City encourages citizens to join in on conservation efforts, and the WCO is a great way to actively help make a difference. The months of May and July this year were some of the hottest spring months on record for the Seattle area. This caused snow to melt throughout our watershed much faster than usual.

The WCO pertains to all property owners inside City limits and all City of North Bend water customers inside or outside City limits. 

WCO Stage 2 provides residents with a series of simple directives for water usage:

  1. You can irrigate landscaping three times per week rather than each day as provided in Stage 1. The volume of watering users choose for their irrigation 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.
  2. You can water between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. when less evaporation occurs. This is a continuation of the WCO Stage 1 directive.
  3. Landscape and pasture irrigation – except drip irrigation – is limited to a maximum of three days per week based on the following odd-even schedule:
  • Customers with odd street addresses can irrigate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
  • Customers with even street addresses can water on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
  • No irrigation is allowed on Mondays.

Public and private streetscape landscaping (medians and frontage) will be watered on the same odd/even schedule.

  1. While hand and manual watering follow the same odd/even house number schedule, it may be done at any time during the day.
  2. There will be no washing of streets, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, buildings or other hardscape surfaces, except as necessary for health, sanitation or fire protection purposes.
  3. Water will only be served upon request at restaurants.
  4. No water from the city water system will be used for construction purposes without prior City approval.

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 is Stage 2 required? 

The WCO is part of 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 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 2 of the WCO is triggered when Masonry Pool falls below the 1,523-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. Should the City begin Stage 2 the week of August 21, it would be the earliest date that Stage 2 has ever gone into effect.  

Resources and more information about local water conservation and weather events:

Stay up to date on the WCO and other local city news by: 

Efficient use of water remains a key component to the overall management of water. The City appreciates your efforts to help conserve this limited natural resource.

[Information provided by the City of North Bend]

Comments are closed.


  • The City of North Bend is simply following rules set forth by the Washington State Dept of Ecology to maintain adequate water levels of the Snoqualmie River required to support aquatic life (e.g. threatened steelhead populations) during low flow periods (late summer/fall). In my opinion, the City of North Bend is not committed to being a good steward of the environment or protecting the Snoqualmie River. If they were, they would not be aggressively pursuing their current growth goals. They not only have plans to grow by the number of housing units (over 600) allowed under the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA), they are pursuing additional growth goals by acquiring allotments from other municipalities that opted not to grow further. By some estimates, an additional 1,700 housing units are to be built in North Bend, drawing precious water from the river’s aquifer and releasing treated (warm) waste water back into the river in return. The recent forced contract with Sallal Water has drawn its members into this mess, as North Bend now expects Sallal to provide them with mitigation water as needed when it’s Water Conservation Plan fails. Since Sallal’s water also comes from the same aquifer supporting the river as North Bend’s, this arrangement seems to provide no net benefit to the river whatsoever. No, in my opinion, this is about allowing for more development and growth on the backs of current residents, not about the environment or protecting the river. Vote accordingly.

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