Photo depicting a Black-presenting hand reaching out to cup a slow stream of water against a nature background.

NEWS GLEAMS | Seattle Public Utilities Requests Water Conservation; Free At-Home COVID Tests Available

A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

by Vee Hua 華婷婷

Seattle Public Utilities Requests Water Conservation From Seattle Residents and Businesses

An unusually dry summer has left the Seattle area with below-average water levels. With a fall forecast with continued dry conditions, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is requesting residents and businesses to reduce their water use on a volunteer basis.

Tips vary for homes and businesses but include:

  • Taking shorter and fewer showers.
  • Washing full laundry and dishwasher loads.
  • Turning off tap when brushing or shaving.
  • Checking for and fixing leaks, especially running toilets.
  • Delaying car washes or using recycled water to wash cars.
  • Stopping lawn watering routines except for vegetable gardens or newly planted and young lawns, plants, or trees.

Additional tips are available online at and through a one-sheet PDF available in Amharic, Chinese, English, Korean, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

According to a blog post from SPU, Seattle residents and businesses are consuming an average of 149 million gallons per day (mgd) of water use; they hope to “drop the average water consumption for the region to 100 mgd and keep it at or below that level until we get enough rain to refill the mountain reservoirs sufficiently.”

The last time SPU asked residents to voluntarily lower their water consumption was in 2015.

Collage of two headshots with left one depicting Tanya Woo and the right one depicting Tammy Morales.
Tanya Woo (left) and Tammy Morales (right) are two candidates vying for Seattle City Council’s District 2 seat. (Photos courtesy of Tanya Woo’s and Tammy Morales’ campaigns, respectively.

Submit Questions for City Council District 2 Candidates Tammy Morales or Tanya Woo

On October 5, 2023, at 7:00 p.m., the South Seattle Emerald will host a debate between Seattle City Council District 2 incumbent Tammy Morales and challenger Tanya Woo, moderated by Mike Davis, the Emerald’s Voices editor.

The Seattle City Council has a great deal of impact on our communities. They are supposed to allocate funds and monitor the impact and effectiveness of all City services except education. As a community-based organization, serving District 2, we want to be sure these candidates hear YOUR questions and understand YOUR priorities.

Please fill out this short, 6-question form so we can be sure the questions we ask reflect your priorities and concerns.

Illustration depicting a woman wearing a red T-shirt and blue surgical face mask standing next to a large white COVID-19 rapid test; the test results depict a COVID-19 positive result; blue coronavirus illustrations pepper the background
Illustration by Blueastro/

Free At-Home COVID Tests Are Available

With newly updated COVID-19 vaccinations rolling out for the fall and concerns around rising case numbers, no-cost tests will once again be delivered for free through Residents can order up to four tests per household, following a renewed investment of $600 million from the Biden administration, which amplifies domestic manufacturing of COVID-19 tests across 12 U.S.-based manufacturers in seven states. Tests will be delivered by the United States Postal Service starting October 2.

The tests, also referred to as self-tests or over-the-counter (OTC) tests, are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR tests. They offer results within 30 minutes at home or any non-laboratory locations and are to be used by the end of the year.

The Washington State Department of Health’s Vaccine Locator offers a tool for residents to find vaccination locations near them. Ongoing COVID-19 metrics for King County are still updated every Wednesday on a Public Health — Seattle & King County dashboard. Current levels are described as low, with 43 reported cases per 100,000 people, though they have been increasing on a weekly basis over the past four months.

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the editor-in-chief of REDEFINE, a co-chair of the Seattle Arts Commission, and a film educator at the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they previously served as executive director and played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences. After a recent stint as the interim managing editor at South Seattle Emerald, they are moving into production on their feature film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multilingual POC buddy comedy. Learn more about them at

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