Nearly half of Washington is now in a drought, here’s how you can help conserve water

SEATTLE  --  A big expansion to the state's drought emergency as nearly half of the state is now impacted.  Before Monday, the emergency declaration only included the Methow, Okanogan and upper Yakima basins.

“It seems like every 10 to 15 years we have a dry summer,” says Q13 Chief Meteorologist Walter Kelley.

Poor water supply conditions, coupled with warmer and drier weather expected throughout the summer; it’s the reason why half the state is now facing a drought.

“We’re going to be a lot drier than normal this summer through September, which is even an extra month of summer,” says Kelley.

The snowpack is less than 50 percent of the average for this time of year, according to the Department of Ecology.  And they tell us the main concerns right now are for agricultural and rural communities.

And while there are currently no restrictions, the Department of Ecology’s website reminds us:  when we save water – we save energy and money!

Over half the water use inside a home takes place in the bathroom.  If you keep your showers under 5 minutes, you’ll save up to 1,000 gallons a month.

In the kitchen, wash only full loads of dishes and select the appropriate water level and load size on the dishwasher.  Same goes for your laundry machines.

And when it comes to outside your house, something as simple as using a broom or electric blower, to clean driveways and sidewalks, can really save on your water consumption.

“This is just going to be one of those years where we need to conserve, we need to practice fire safety and water safety; everything,” says Kelley.

Bottom line, this drought emergency declaration provides money for different entities, like the Dept. of Ecology and the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, etc.  Giving different agencies more options if they need them.

Lawmakers budgeted about $2 million for drought response this year.  The state's last drought emergency was in 2015.

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