Monthly Archives: July 2016

Hot temperatures prompt calls to conserve water to help struggling Spokane River

kids news conference JO photo 8-5-2015Spokane River nears 1,000cfs; H2KNOW project launches public education effort

July 28, 2016


  • Tom Soeldner (Upper Columbia River Group, Sierra Club) 509.270-6995
  • John Roskelley (Center for Environmental Law & Policy) (509) 954-5653
  • Paul Delaney (Northwest Whitewater Association, (509) 220-8018
  • Jerry White (Spokane Riverkeeper) (509) 475-1228

Spokane – Today the H2KNOW campaign reminded the households and businesses in the Inland Northwest to conserve water to help the Spokane River. As daily temperatures rise, people and businesses are using more water, and Spokane River flows are dropping.

“Every time people turn on a faucet to water yards, or the City waters its golf courses, we harm the Spokane River,” said Tom Soeldner with the H2KNOW campaign and a retired Lutheran pastor. “Our message is: use water wisely, and know that you can help the Spokane River by conserving water.”

People can take five actions that will conserve water and help the Spokane River:

  1. Reduce outdoor watering (especially stop over-watering grass)
  2. Replace lawn with low-water plants
  3. Fix broken or clogged pipes and sprinkler heads
  4. Fix leaks in all plumbing fixtures
  5. Install water-efficient devices (such as low flow toilets and shower heads)

The Inland Northwest is notable for its hot, dry summers. Water used by 600,000 people in the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene region comes from the Spokane-Rathdrum Aquifer, which also supplies the Spokane River. Water that would otherwise flow from the aquifer to the Spokane River is intercepted for human use contributing to low river flows. Low flows harm fish, wildlife, recreation opportunities, and businesses that benefit from the river. Large municipal wells that are close to the River, such as the City of Spokane’s Well Electric facility, can have an immediate depleting impact on river flows.

Spokane River flows are monitored at the USGS Monroe Street Gage, a measuring device located just downstream of the Monroe Street bridge. Interested parties can watch flow trends on the web or in the local newspaper.

H2KNOW organizers note that, while the region is not yet suffering a repeat of last summer’s sustained high temperatures and lack of rainfall that caused high water consumption, high temperatures are in the forecast and will prompt increased water use, resulting in a decrease to Spokane River flows.

The H2KNOW campaign is a community-based water conservation project hosted by the Center for Environmental Law & Policy and Sierra Club.

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