Water Resiliency

The retrofitted Crossroads Reservoir

Recognizing that a major earthquake could strike the area, Utilities has conducted resiliency evaluations of all our water reservoirs and is beginning to evaluate our water distribution system resiliency. The following are some of the ways we are preparing:

Seismic Vulnerability Assessment

We have and continue to evaluate our systems for performance during and after a seismic event. We have an ongoing seismic retrofit program for our water reservoirs and approximately half have been retrofitted or replaced and we have a schedule for the remaining.

Master Plan for Well Rights

There are a number of wells located around Bellevue that were used as the regular source of water supply in the past. The city, which gets its water from Seattle through the Tolt and Cedar River watersheds, has water rights for these wells, currently exercises two emergency wells, and is evaluating further development of all wells for emergency water supply. This work is scheduled for completion in the 2017-18 timeframe.

Water Shortage Contingency Plan

Bellevue has the ability to connect with neighboring municipalities’ water systems in the event that some areas of the region suffer less damage in the event of an earthquake.

Mobile Water Resources

Bellevue has a blivet system (portable, collapsible water tanks) to bring water to areas affected by water loss.


Bellevue’s water system has redundancies built into it. This allows us to bypass breaks. Additionally, we have trailer-mounted generators to enable our pumping stations to deliver water to areas in need.

Staff Training

Utilities staff regularly participate in emergency response practice activities to prepare for catastrophic events such as earthquakes. During emergencies, Bellevue also has the ability to execute contracts on a rapid turn-around basis to enable construction to fix broken systems quickly.

Finally, Bellevue works together with regional partners to ensure a unified response should an earthquake strike. We are part of the regional Water Supply Forum, which includes the cities of Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, as well as the Cascade Water Alliance (of which Bellevue is a member). The group is focused on mitigating risks due to earthquakes and water quality events.