News Flash

City of Sequim News & Alerts

Posted on: August 24, 2023

Drought Declaration Urges Water Conservation

Dungeness River

Early snowmelt, a lack of spring rain, and low stream flows prompted the Washington Department of Ecology to declare a drought emergency last month for watersheds including the Dungeness River basin, where City of Sequim’s water supplies come from.  May and June of this year ranked as the fourth warmest and 11th driest year since 1895.  Washington received only 49% of its usual rainfall in June.

Ecology’s declaration indicated that in the Dungeness watershed, concerns about fish hatcheries and salmon migration have been reported due to low stream flows.  Fishery and irrigation managers are now coordinating to maximize stream flows to assist pink salmon currently migrating up the Dungeness River to spawn.  

While the City’s water comes from wells and not surface streams, water conservation by City residents and businesses can make a difference because of underground connections between groundwater and surface water.  

Residents Encouraged to Conserve Water

Water conservation is wise water use.  It’s what you do every day: using the water you need but not a drop more.  Conserving water outdoors is especially helpful during warm weather. 

Some ways the City encourages water conservation at home include:

  • Stop watering grass. 
  •  For gardens, use a shut-off nozzle, adjust sprinklers to avoid over-watering, and irrigate only in early or late hours and not every day. 
  • Don’t leave hoses running during outdoor play and use.
  • Mulch your garden and improve the soil to reduce water loss. 
  • Wash your car at a facility that recycles its water. 
  • Avoid draining swimming pools or do it infrequently.
  • Indoors, only wash full loads in the clothes washer and dishwasher, use low-flow showerheads and toilets (1.6 gallons or less), compost rather than using the garbage disposal, and be water wise in general. More information may be found here:
  • In addition to conserving, always fix leaks on your property right away and report leaks if you find water continually surfacing in dry weather. If your water bill seems abnormal it may indicate you have a leaking toilet, faucet, or water line. 

Remember that water utility rates increase when water use is above 600 cubic feet and rise again when use exceeds 1,600 cubic feet.

Conservation practices are voluntary now since the City’s water sources are not at imminent risk of shortage, but if the area’s water supply conditions worsen the City may choose to impose restrictions on outdoor watering. 

Fortunately, City of Sequim is well situated to continue serving its customers in drought years because:

  • Several of our water supply wells are deep.
  • Conservation practices by our customers in the past have effectively reduced demand during the summer months. 
  • City parks and flower baskets are kept green because they are irrigated with our Class A Reclaimed Water rather than potable municipal supplies. 
  • Monitoring is conducted to allow staff to track conditions in the aquifer on a regular basis.
  • The City draws from several different water sources for its supply which affords redundancy in times of emergency.

City facilities are able to serve our municipal customers during a drought, but we are aware that sources of recharge to the groundwater system are declining over the long term.  To ensure that a water shortage does not occur decades into the future, we work with other stakeholders in the Dungeness watershed to manage our limited water resources and maintain a safe, adequate water supply. 

Detailed water saving tips are included in the City’s flyer “About the Drought.” Visit or contact Public Works by emailing 

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