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What does Washington’s drought emergency mean for Seattle?

Because of a lower than average snowpack, the state is expecting to see less than 75% of its average water levels across Washington.

A few peaks of the North Cascades sit with a little bit of snow on its peaks.

The snow pack from mountains like the Cascades becomes drinking water once it melts and runs down to lower elevations.

Photo by brewbrooks via Wikimedia Commons

The State of Washington is preparing for a long, dry summer with the enactment of a statewide drought emergency.

The state uses a majority of runoff from mountain snow pack as water for drinking, powering hydroelectric dams, and keeping fish and farms healthy. But warmer than average temps caused by a combination of an El Niño weather pattern and global warming have led to snow pack levels as low as 46% in the Lower Yakima Basin and 63% on average across the state.

Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett have been excluded from the declaration because water reserves are high enough to be able to weather the drought. However, state officials expect to see less than 75% of the state’s normal water supply statewide.

As an effect, expect to potentially see electricity + produce prices rise as resources become more costly over the next year.