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DailyTidings.com
  • ROGUE VALLEY DROUGHT

    Ashland saves water

    Residents' conservation habits are paying off
  • While Ashland has faced soaring temperatures and dry conditions, residents have been making good use of the water available to them.
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  • While Ashland has faced soaring temperatures and dry conditions, residents have been making good use of the water available to them.
    "We're averaging 4.5 million gallons per day, which is phenomenal," said Mike Faught, Public Works director. "We can usually expect upwards of 7 million, which is mostly irrigation. Ashland has really done a great job curbing its use."
    The reduction of usage by about 35 percent means the city needs to pump less water from the Talent Irrigation District to meet demand.
    Water from Ashland Creek was flowing into Reeder Reservoir at a rate of 2.6 million gallons per day (mgd), and the city was pumping about 2.14 mgd of water from the TID into the water treatment facility to make up the difference.
    Recent rains increased the flow into the reservoir to about 3.13 mgd.
    "The worry is that flow from the creek could drop quickly," Faught said. "We want to keep the reservoir full to last us through the rest of summer."
    Ashland started supplementing drinking water with TID water in June and will continue to do so until TID shuts off its supply in September. The combination of water supplies has kept the reservoir nearly full through the summer. As of Friday, the reservoir had reached maximum capacity.
    "As long as the (water use) numbers stay low, water from the creek and TID will continue to meet our demand," Faught said.
    Residents who want to cut down on their water use can find tips and schedule a water use evaluation at the city's website, ashland.or.us.
    The city also will host a drought summit at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 12 in the Stevenson Union Rogue River Room on the Southern Oregon University campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
    "We're entering the hottest months with August and September," Faught said. "We want to be able to talk to the community about how well they've done, where we are and what we need to do moving forward."
    The summit also will feature an update on the Talent-Ashland-Phoenix water project.
    "We've finished phase one, which is laying the pipe line," Faught said. "The next phase is building the pump station and modifying the Talent reservoir."
    Faught says that the project is on schedule to begin pumping in early September and will provide the city with 2.13 mgd.
    "Our domestic (winter) use is 2 million gallons," Faught says. "This will always meet our domestic need."
    For more information about the drought, see the city's website or call the drought hotline at 541-552-2431.
    Reach reporter Ian Hand at 541-776-4464. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/IanHand_DT.
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