Water Conservation

A small lake on rocky slope with sparse patches of meadow vegetation. A small snowbank clings to one edge of the lake.
Frozen Lake, fed by snowmelt, provides all the water for the Sunrise Area. This photo from August 9, 2021, shows only a small amount of snow remaining for the summer season.

NPS Photo

Mount Rainier’s Water Supply

The loss of perennial snowfields during the past thirty years, combined with the potential for lower annual snowpack and increased air temperatures, is decreasing water supplies. Mount Rainier National Park’s water supply primarily depends on streams and lakes fed by snowmelt and perennial snowfields. For example, the water at Sunrise comes from Frozen Lake, entirely fed by snowmelt. Warming temperatures correspond with shifts from solid to liquid precipitation (more rain, less snow) resulting in earlier snowmelt. This means there is less water later in the summer. Park visitation is increasing, putting more pressure on the limited park water supplies.

While Mount Rainier National Park is taking steps to develop a range of water supply options and park management strategies to adapt to climate change, please do your part when visiting by not wasting water.


Please help conserve water!

When you visit the park:

  • Fill up reusable water bottles before you arrive and bring sufficient water for everyone. This is smart not only to help conserve park water supplies but also for personal health and safety. Most park locations do not have water for sale.

    • Reusable water bottles are available at the Longmire General Store, the Paradise Camp Deli at the Jackson Visitor Center, the Tatoosh Café at the Paradise Inn, and the Sunrise Day Lodge. Some facilities are only open during the summer; check Operating Hours when planning a visit.

    • Water fountains, available during the summer season only, are located at:

      • Longmire, near the Wonderland Trailhead.

      • Paradise, next to the plaza restrooms and inside the Jackson Visitor Center (open year-round).

      • Sunrise, near the flagpole.

      • Ohanapecosh, next to the visitor center and in the Ohanapecosh Campground.

      • White River Campground, including by the day use parking area.

      • Cougar Rock Campground.

      • Box Canyon, by the viewpoint parking area.

      • Grove of the Patriarchs, next to the trailhead.

      • Some picnic areas.

  • Use a vault toilet. Vault toilets don't require water. They are located at Carbon River Entrance, Mowich Lake Entrance/Paul’s Peak Trailhead, Mowich Lake, Kautz Creek, Grove of the Patriarchs Trailhead, Tipsoo Lake, and at Sunrise east of the day lodge.

  • Stop leaks. If you see a leaky faucet or water line in the park, please let park staff know.

  • Don’t flush trash. Every time a cigarette butt, facial tissue, or other trash gets flushed, water is wasted—between 1.5 gallons with a low-flow toilet to up to 7 gallons for older models.

If you are staying overnight:

  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. This alone saves three gallons of water per day.

  • Take shorter or fewer showers and minimize baths. Even a one- or two-minute reduction in showers can save up to 700 gallons of water per month. A full bath can use between 30 to 50 gallons.

  • Use dish washing water (remove food particles) or capture bathing water to douse campfires.

A river meanders through a wide rocky river bed in a forested valley descending from a snowy mountain.
The White River is one of several rivers that start on Mount Rainier and provide water to communities outside of the park.

NPS Photo

Be water wise at home, too!

Just as nature knows no boundaries, watersheds often extend beyond park boundaries. Water flows in, out, and around our national parks. The actions you take at home can affect your entire watershed, including the parks within it. Every living thing on this planet needs water to survive. Find out how you can help conserve water at home:

  • Wash full loads of laundry. Most top-loading washing machines use 40 gallons of water per load. Energy efficient front-loading machines use just over 20 gallons of water per load. A full load of laundry means you are getting the most out of every drop of water.

  • Drive a dirty car. If you must wash your car, take it to a car wash that recycles water.

  • Keep a bottle or pitcher of water in the refrigerator. Instead of running the tap to cool the water, keep a supply of cold water in the refrigerator. This can save 200–300 gallons a month.

  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks. This can save 150 gallons or more each time.

Last updated: May 1, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304


360 569-2211

Contact Us