LIVING TEXTBOOK
WATER SYSTEMS

Water Conservation Tips

 

Tips for How to Save Water  

Water conservation and efficiency don’t have to be a burden. Find some easy ways to use less water and shrink your water footprint with this extensive collection of tips for cutting back on your water use. 

Water Conservation Tools, Tips and Resources  

A great collection of water conservation tools, tips and resources that can help your family or business keep water bills as low as possible. 

EPA - WaterSense 

This site is filled with really helpful resources on water conservation and consumer choices. WaterSense, is both a label for water-efficient products and a resource for helping you save water.  WaterSense-labeled products and services are certified to use at least 20 percent less water, save energy, and perform as well as or better than regular models. 

Bottled Water

 

Bottled Water - The Problem 

This handy site developed by Riverkeeper features easy to read drop-down lists of the main problems with bottled water including environmental, economic, and social issues.

What’s Wrong With Bottled Water

An excellent and readable overview of the problem with bottled water. 

 

VIDEO - The Story of Bottled Water with Annie Leonard

This is the timeless video that got thousands of people thinking differently about the wastefulness of bottled water. 

Water Footprint

 

Water Footprint 101- What is a water footprint? 

Great for obtaining a quick but thorough understanding of what contributes to your total water footprint.

Water Footprint 101- Water in the Climate & Environment

Climate change can impact water resources by causing droughts to become more extreme and rain events to become more intense. Find out how your water resources can be impacted and what you can do about it.

Water Footprint 101 - Water in your food

When you think of “water footprint,” you most likely think about how much ‘pure’ water you use, but, as you will learn here, at least one-half of your total water footprint comes from what you eat.

 

Water Footprint 101- What is the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

The water-energy-food nexus is a way of viewing all three systems in an interconnected manner. When one system is out of balance, the other systems can be impacted. 

Water Footprint 101 - Water around the house

Simple changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in your water footprint. You can learn about water around the house and how to improve your water footprint with this resource.

 

Water Footprint 101 - Water use outdoors

In the US, almost a quarter of residential water is used for lawns, gardens and pools – and in some places it’s as much as three-quarters. Learn more about outdoor water use and how to use it more efficiently.

 

Water Footprint 101 - Water to make energy

It takes a lot of water to create energy in the form of electricity and fuel, and it takes a lot of energy to move, heat and treat water. Saving energy saves water, and vice versa.

 

Water Footprint 101 - Water in things you buy

Although unseen, millions of gallons of water go into the products you buy, use and throw away. Find out how smarter purchasing can reduce your water footprint.

 

Water Footprint - Product Gallery

Very cool! Get a snapshot of the impact of your daily lifestyle. Compare how much water is used to make a variety of products so that you can choose to reduce your water footprint. The green, blue and grey water footprint shows the source of water consumed and the volume of fresh water required for assimilation of pollutants.

 

Water Footprint - National Comparisons 

Awesome resource! (And humbling) Compare the daily water footprint of all countrie.

Water Supply

 

Where Your Water Comes From - Seattle Public Utilities 

From mountain forests to the faucet, Seattle Public Utilities provides safe, great-tasting drinking water for the 1.4 million people of Seattle and nearby communities. Seattle has two large regional watersheds, the Cedar and Tolt, and these watersheds not only supply water but also serve as a home for wildlife and salmon. Follow the journey of Seattle's water below or jump directly to more details about SPU’s infrastructure, dams, reservoirs, seismic planning, and history of stewardshi

MAP - Seattle Public Utilities Service Area

A map that shows the water supply service area of Seattle Public Utilities including both retail and wholesale customers.

Where Your Water Comes From- Cascade Water Alliance

Cascade is comprised of seven municipalities (five cities and two water and sewer districts) that joined together to provide safe, clean, reliable water supply to its 380,000 residents and more than 20,000 businesses. Members include Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish Plateau Water, Skyway Water & Sewer District, and Tukwila.

History of Cascade Water Alliance

Cascade’s history is now available in book form. This is a story of how water divided a community, and how leadership and cooperation brought it together again. It’s also a story about today, how more than 30 years after the ‘water wars’ many of the same regional leaders who fought over water have come together to ensure its future.

MAP - Cascade Water Alliance Service Area

A map that shows the water supply service area of Cascade Water Alliance member jurisdictions.

 

Where Your Water Comes From - Tacoma Water

Tacoma Water operates one of the country’s oldest municipally owned water systems. Today, Tacoma Water provides direct service to more than 300,000 people throughout Pierce and King counties.

 

MAP - Tacoma Water Service Area

A map that shows the water supply service area of Tacoma Water including both retail and wholesale customers.

 

Water Supply Conditions - Seattle Public Utilities Service Area

This site is updated weekly! It features information on precipitation rates and the depth of the snowpack, and includes graphs and maps to show you exactly what our current water conditions look like. Water managers use these very current data reports, along with historical data reports to analyze trends and build future scenarios. 

SNOTEL Data - Washington Snow Survey Program

These fascinating resources are current up to today's date! The Snow Survey provides mountain snowpack data and streamflow forecasts, critical to the kinds of decisions that water managers need to make weekly and seasonally. Common applications of snow survey products include water supply management, flood control, climate modeling, recreation, and conservation planning.

VIDEO - Where Your Water Comes From - Washington State

In this video from the Washington State Department of Ecology you learn the big, state-wide story of how cities serve your water needs, and how snowpack in the Cascades causes fluctuations in the hydrologic cycle effecting rivers, wells, and reservoirs.

100 Years of Washington Water Law - STORY MAP

You can navigate this story map by scrolling up and down. Enjoy an informative tour through the state’s varied history of water use, including: communities, farms, industry, tribal rights, the Columbia River, dam safety, and the future.

100 Years of Washington Water Law - POSTERS

A great series of Infographic posters on the story of Washington Water Law since 1917. Perfect for analyzing Washington State history through the lens of water systems.

The History of Washington State Water Rights

In this short video from the Washington State Department of Ecology you take a look at the origins of early water laws and the protections they provide to our water supply today.

Managing Water Supply and Water Quality in Washington State

The Washington State Department of Ecology is the legal entity responsible for improving and protecting water quality, managing and conserving water resources, and effectively managing coastal and inland shorelines to assure our state has sufficient supplies of clean water for communities as well as the needs of the natural environment.

Water Supply Forum - Serving King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties

The Forum addresses current and future water supply issues, including supply system resiliency, planning, policy and regulation, and environmental stewardship. Working cooperatively, the Forum’s members promote the reliable delivery of safe, clean water throughout the region.

Earthquake Risk - Water Systems Resiliency Planning for King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties

The Water Supply Forum has taken the lead on helping water utilities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties proactively evaluate the region's existing water supply systems resiliency and plan for potential water supply disruptions. Additional detailed information on appropriate approaches to climate change modeling, and response to water quality risks was also developed.

Net Zero Water Buildings

 
 
 

Engineering a Net Zero Water Building | INFOGRAPHIC

The Federal Energy Management Program provides excellent, easy to read information about what “net zero water” means and offers strategies on how to design and implement net zero water buildings. This site includes a useful engineering diagram that walks you through how to design a Net Zero water building.

Recycled Water

Recycled Water - King County Wastewater Division

In nature, all water is recycled. King County’s recycled water is created by advanced wastewater treatment. Wastewater treatment plants mimic nature’s processes to filter and clean used water. King County’s recycled water can be safely used for irrigation, industry, and environmental projects. 

NEWater - Singapore’s Story of Reclaiming Wastewater

Recycled wastewater (NEWater), is injected into reservoirs to allow it to mix with rainwater before being collectively treated at the water treatment plants for potable use. Over the years, Singapore’s National Water Agency has expanded NEWater supply capacity to meet up to about 40% of Singapore’s total water demand. Future plans aim to increase NEWater capacity to meet up to 55% of total water demand by 2060. 

Watersheds

My Watershed 

Use this excellent interactive mapping site developed by Sustainability Ambassadors and Mapseed to explore many different map stories. Or develop your own! You know your street address, how well do you know your watershed address? Based on King County data so this map is best for local schools, cities and neighborhoods. 

 

EPA - What are the benefits of a Healthy Watershed? 

Why identify and protect healthy watersheds? In many ways, healthy watersheds substantially affect the quality of life for people and the environment overall – often by performing ‘free work’ that communities do not have to do, or pay for, themselves. The beneficial roles of watersheds in healthy condition can be surprisingly far-reaching and include ecosystem services, economic benefits and physical and mental health benefits.

How’s My Waterway - Find Your Watershed

EPA resource that provides maps and water quality monitoring results of watersheds based on zipcode. Water quality is monitored for physical, chemical and biological factors. The monitoring results are assessed against EPA approved water quality standards or thresholds. Water can be impaired, meaning it is not able to be used for certain purposes. The condition of a waterbody is dynamic and can change at any time, and the information in How’s My Waterway should only be used for general reference. If available, refer to local or state real-time water quality reports. 

 

What’s a WRIA?

WRIA stands for Water Resource Inventory Area, which is pretty much the same as a natural watershed. But a WRIA is a legal designation by state law for improving management decisions to support water use for many different human needs, as well as to guide ecological decisions for salmon recovery. There are 62 WRIAs in our state, each defined by a set of higher elevation ridgelines that capture precipitation and funnel rain and snowmelt through smaller subbasins into streams, tributaries, and rivers. On the WRIA pages found at the Washington State Department of Ecology, you can learn more about the key factors affecting water resources in your WRIA. These pages include a great mapping tool, and resources on the history of Water Law in our state.  

 

WRIA 9 - Green-Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed

Chinook salmon, bull trout, and steelhead are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In this watershed, citizens, scientists, businesses, conservation groups, and governments are working together to respond to the decline of salmon and the lands and waters on which the fish depend. Seventeen local governments collaborated in developing a science-based Salmon Habitat Plan. Read the Executive Summary or download individual chapters from the full Plan. This chapter in particular lays out the Science Foundations for the Salmon Recovery Plan. Carrying out the plan recommendations will protect and restore a healthy watershed ecosystem for both people and fish. 

 

WRIA 9 - POSTER: Making Our Watershed Fit for a King 

This is a great infographic in the form of a larger poster full of rich detail. It’s a high resolution image so you can zoom in to learn about the history, challenges and opportunities of the Green Duwamish Watershed, from the headwaters all the way downstream to the estuary. untitled (govlink.org)  Also, most of the diagrams and infographics combined in this one beautiful poster also serve as the illustrations for the Green Duwamish Watershed Salmon Habitat Plan

 

Green River Habitat Conservation Plan - Tacoma Water

This important legal document describes how Tacoma Wate plans to minimize and mitigate for any “take” that may result from their role in providing water using a diversion dam. An incidental take permit is required to protect threatened or endangered species, and a Habitat Conservation Plan must accompany the permit application. Tacoma Water prepared the Habitat Conservation Plan as part of its application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service for a 50-year incidental take permit for its water supply operations on the Green River.  

Green Duwamish Watershed - Ecosystem Services Enhanced by Salmon Habitat Conservation

A fascinating report on assessing the economic value of a natural watershed system. The Water Resource Inventory Area 9 (WRIA 9) Habitat Plan is a long-term, comprehensive plan to protect and restore Chinook salmon in the Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed. Restoring salmon has significant socio-economic implications. The greatest socio-economic implication of salmon recovery is in securing healthy ecosystems which provide vast public and private benefits. WRIA 9 ecosystems produce $1.7-6.3 billion dollars of value in goods and services each year, benefiting individuals, communities, businesses, and governments within WRIA 9. The value of salmon restoration and healthy ecosystems to future generations is far greater.  

Cedar River Watershed Habitat Conservation Plan - Seattle Public Utilities

A 50-year, ecosystem-based plan to address declining populations of salmon, steelhead and other fish and wildlife in the Cedar River basin. Prepared under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the plan is designed both to provide certainty for the City of Seattle's water supply and hydroelectric operations and to protect and restore habitats of fish and wildlife that may be affected by these operations.

 

History of the Cedar River Watershed

The Cedar River watershed has been in use as Seattle’s main water supply since 1901. This has resulted in many changes to the land, water, forests, and animal habitats within the 91,400-acre environment. 

Tolt River Watershed - Seattle Public Utilities

The South Fork Tolt River is the smaller and lesser known (than the Cedar River) but still essential second supply watershed in Seattle Public Utilities' freshwater supply system. Located in the foothills of the Cascades in east King County, it supplies about 30% of the drinking water for 1.4 million people in and around Seattle. The system first came on-line in 1964, and since 1989 has also supported a small Seattle City Light hydro-electric facility. In 1997, the City of Seattle successfully exchanged lands within the South Fork Tolt watershed with Weyerhaeuser Company, giving Seattle 70% ownership (approximately 8,400 acres) of the land that supplies the water. The eastern 30% lies in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Water Future

 

Singapore Water Story - Integrated Water Management Program

Singapore is internationally recognized as a model city for integrated water management that harvests rainwater, desalinates seawater, and recycles wastewater in a sophisticated and cost-efficient way. Singapore is an emerging Global Hydrohub – a leading center for business opportunities and expertise in water technologies. Singapore believes everyone has a stake in the Island nation’s water as a necessary resource, an economic asset and an environmental treasure. Learn how they do it. 

International Water Association

Cities are rapidly expanding and water resources are under increasing pressure. We need to find ways to do more with less, while ensuring that cities are resilient to floods, droughts and the challenges of growing water scarcity. Transitioning cities to address these challenges has never been more urgent. The 17 IWA Principles for Water-Wise Cities help city leaders ensure that everyone in their cities has access to safe water and sanitation. One of the aims is to ensure that water is integrated in planning and design in cities to provide increased resilience to climate change, livability, efficiencies, and a sense of place for urban communities. 

 

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals - Water 

While substantial progress has been made in increasing access to clean drinking water and sanitation, billions of people—mostly in rural areas—still lack these basic services. Worldwide, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water, and more than 673 million people still practice open defecation. A predicted 40 per cent shortfall in freshwater resources by 2030, coupled with a rising world population, has the world careening towards a global water crisis. Recognizing the growing challenge of water scarcity the UN General Assembly launched the Water Action Decade March 2018-2028, to mobilize action that will help transform how we manage water.  

 

19 Best Solutions to the Global Freshwater Crisis

Population growth, urban development, farm production and climate change are increasing competition for fresh water and producing shortages. Here’s a look at the 19 best solutions to the global freshwater crisis captured by a GlobeScan and SustainAbility poll of more than 1200 leading international experts in 80 countries. 

 

18 Surprising Projections About the Future of Water

While the future is difficult to predict, available freshwater resources will certainly decrease in the coming years due to the increasing demand of a growing world population. Many areas of the world that are already experiencing a shortage of water resources will see their water issues worsen, causing hardships for millions. Here are 18 projections that attempt to predict the future of the world’s water supply.