While most Ashlanders are trying to save water during the dry times of the year, the Ashland Shopping Center has more of it than it can control.

In fact, it's bubbling up through the parking lot of the shopping center located between Ashland Street and Siskiyou Boulevard.

"It can be 100 degrees out and you can hear water under the parking lot," said Mike Rydbom, owner of the shopping center. The water has begun to percolate up through a spot in the pavement that has already been patched up from previous water damage.

"It's been a continuing maintenance problem," he said. Rydorn has added a series of catch basins and drain systems to keep the water below grade. The underground drain system tries to funnel the excess water behind the shopping plaza, out to Ashland Street where it flows underground to Bear Creek and "out to the ocean," Rydbom said.

Public Works Superintendant Mike Morrison said a plumbing service has tried to "corral" the water in underground drain systems about five times over the last few years.

"It works for a while then it moves on them," he said. "For a while we thought it was a sewer line."

Rydbom said the water is from the same source as the water that creates the pond on his neighbor's property, the Hidden Springs Wellness Center. Located just south of the Ashland Shopping Plaza, the Hidden Springs Wellness Center, has a park-like setting in its rear with a small pond fed by a spring. This spring and pond are indicative of what this part of town looked like before it was built over, Rydbom said.

"It's a natural spring," he said. "It comes from somewhere up on the mountain. It's very clean water. Crows dodge traffic to drink that water."

Rydbom said he has offered to sell the water to Ashland in past years, but the city wasn't interested.

"During droughts, I have offered it to them for free," he said.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 x. 226 or .