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Voluntary Water Curtailment

 
The lack of snow pack has Ashland facing drought conditions again this year and as a result the City is asking Ashland residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce water use in order to reduce water demand (or the amount of water consumed) down to 4.5 to 5 million gallons per day (mgd).  However, if our community’s voluntary efforts are not enough to stay between our water use goals then mandatory restrictions could be necessary.
 
The good news is that even with recent warm weather, water use has stayed at the 4.5 to 5mgd goal, so the City is asking you to continue that good work especially with the upcoming consecutive days of over 100 degree temperatures and throughout the rest of the summer.
 
Reducing the demand is important because when the amount of water consumed by Ashland water users exceeds the amount of water flowing into the City’s Reeder Reservoir from the East and West Forks of Ashland Creek, other water supply options must be used.  If unchecked, decreasing reservoir levels, even if supplemented with Talent Irrigation District water, could lead to severe late-summer water shortages.
 
Mike Faught, public works director, says “The City will keep the reservoir full for as long as possible by first adding up to 2 mgd Talent Irrigation District (TID) water; and if the combination of Ashland Creek flows and TID flows fail to keep the reservoir full, then Talent Ashland Phoenix (TAP) water will be used.”
Julie Smitherman, water conservation specialist, says “even small changes can make a huge impact; we all need to be conscious of our water use and reduce wherever we can.”  Here are some great water conservation tips:
 
Tips for Conserving Water in the Landscape: 
  • Prioritize your watering needs by watering trees first then shrubs and flowers and then lawn. 
  • It is best not to water every day.  Less frequent, deep sprinkling will encourage deeper root growth and plants won’t become stressed as quickly when the weather is hot. 
  • Let the soil dry between watering.  Roots will grow deeper looking for water below the surface as soil dries.
  • Check soil moisture before watering by using a soil moisture meter.
  • If you have a dry spot in your landscape, water it manually with a hose or watering can instead of running your irrigation system longer.
  • Add mulch to your garden beds to lock in moisture and minimize evaporation.
  • Adjust sprinkler timers throughout the summer to account for current weather conditions. Doing this can significantly reduce the amount of water consumed. 
  • Check your sprinkler system for leaks and adjust sprinklers to only water plants, not pavement.
  • Water between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. to avoid losing water to wind and evaporation. 
  • Replace nonfunctional lawn areas with drought tolerant plants.
 
Tips for Conserving Water Indoors: 
  • Fix leaks promptly.  Even a small faucet drip can waste several gallons of water each day.
  • Avoid letting the water run when rinsing vegetables, cleaning dishes or defrosting food.
  • Wait until you have a full load of dishes before running your dishwasher.
  • When washing clothes, adjust the water level to fit the size of the load.
  • Take shorter showers and/or replace your old showerhead with a newer more efficient model. 
  • Avoid using the toilet as a wastebasket.
  • Replace older toilets with new WaterSense labeled models and save 20-75% each time you flush.
 
The City’s water conservation division offers a variety of water conservation programs, incentives and tips, as well as free irrigation system evaluations, free low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators soil moisture meters and other tools for residents and businesses.  You can pick these free items up at the Community Development building located at 51 Winburn Way.  Learn more about water conservation programs at www.ashland.or.us/conserve  and water-wise landscaping at www.ashlandsaveswater.org.
 
For more current drought information visit the City’s website at www.ashland.or.us/drought2015

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