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Previous 2014 Drought Update


September 16, 2014

Reeder Reservoir is 99% full and the average water demand is 4 mgd. Although this is great news, TID water will no longer be available after September 22, and total water supply will be reduced.  East and west fork stream flows are at 2.1 mgd. It is important to remember there may still be a month or more of dry weather to go, and as such, the City continues to encourage the community to use water wisely. Please see tips on fall watering in the September issue of the “City Source”.

In addition to water flows from the east and west forks of Ashland Creek, Water Division staff are diverting, an average of 2.2 mgd of Talent Irrigation District (TID) water to the treatment plant. When this water source is turned off on September 22, the City will rely on water that has been stored in Reeder Reservoir and flows from the east and west forks of Ashland Creek for drinking water.

We are pleased to report that construction and testing of the Talent, Ashland and Phoenix waterline project (TAP) was completed on September 12. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on September 11 and this water source is now available for future emergency use.​​

Mayor John Stromberg and Councilor Dennis Slattery cut the ribbon for the new TAP pump station and waterline.  Also joining the ceremony were members of the Ashland Water Advisory Committee, the Medford Water Commission and the Ashland Chamber of Commerce.​


From left to right: Mark Machala, John Williams, Rob Werfel, Greg Lemhouse, Patricia Acklin, Craig Blazinski, Dennis Slattery, Mike Faught, Rich Rosenthal, John Stromberg, Pam Marsh, Darrell Boldt, Donna Rhea, Kate Jackson, Sandra Slattery, Larry Rains, Bunny Lewis, and Dana Preston.​ (Photo curtesy of Graham Lewis)




August 4, 2014

Reeder Reservoir is now 100% full and the average water demand is 4.5 mgd. While this is great news, it is important to remember there are still a couple of dry months to go, and as such, the City continues to encourage the community’s conservation efforts.
 
In addition to water flows from the east and west forks of Ashland Creek, Water Division staff are diverting 2 mgd of TID water to the treatment plant. In order to send that much TID water to the treatment plant, TID water has been turned off and is no longer flowing past the pump station at Park Estates. Those customers downstream of the pump station are no longer receiving TID water.
 
If additional TID water is needed, the remaining sections of the TID water canal (between Walker and Park Estates) will also be diverted to the plant. If that occurs, those TID customers will not be allowed to use TID water either. It is also important to remember that TID is planning on shutting off their system mid September and this supplementary water supply will no longer be available; however, staff has had encouraging conversations with the TID board and they may extend Ashland’s TID use to October 1.


July 1, 2014 Update

The current warm weather pattern will begin to strain our limited water supply, so please continue to use water wisely.

The June 26, 2014, rain storm refilled Reeder Reservoir, but did not recharge the aquifer. As a result, creek flows into the reservoir are now falling below the amount of water our customers are using each day. Therefore, on June 27, 2014, the City began supplementing the water supply by pumping 1 million gallons per day (mgd) of Talent Irrigation District (TID) water to the Water Treatment Plant.​

Weekly Status 
On June 30, 2014, 3.42 mgd of water flowed into our reservoir and 1mgd of TID water was pumped into the Water Treatment Plant for a total of 4.42 mgd. This demonstrates how limited our water supply is.​​


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June 16, 2014 Update


Supply vs. Demand
As of June 16, 2014, 4.10 million gallons per day (mgd) of water is flowing into our reservoir and 3.77 mgd is being consumed. Which means, currently our supply is slightly outweighing demand.

The Reservoir Graph (below) provides a daily look at Ashland's water supply. The red line represents the reservoir use rate (theoretically) necessary to adequately meet Ashland's water supply needs. The blue line represents the current reservoir level.
If at any point the blue line drops below the red line, our use is outpacing our supply. When this happens, the City will implement the following curtailment options, as needed:

1. Ask the community to voluntarily curtail water use
2. Implement Water Waste Restrictions
3. Implement the Water Curtailment Ordinance



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June 5, 2014 Update


Supply vs. Demand
As of June 5, 2014, 4.37 million gallons per day (mgd) of water is flowing into our reservoir and 4.30 mgd is being consumed. Which means, currently our supply is slightly outweighing demand.

The Reservoir Graph (below) provides a daily look at Ashland's water supply. The red line represents the reservoir use rate (theoretically) necessary to adequately meet Ashland's water supply needs. The blue line represents the current reservoir level.
If at any point the blue line drops below the red line, our use is outpacing our supply. When this happens, the City will implement the following curtailment options, as needed:

1. Ask the community to voluntarily curtail water use
2. Implement Water Waste Restrictions
3. Implement the Water Curtailment Ordinance



Town Hall
On June 4, 2014, Mayor John Stromberg hosted his monthly Town Hall show, discussing drought conditions, and how citizens can help conservation efforts. If you'd like to view the video from this show, please click here: June 5, 2014 Town Hall.


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May 15, 2014 Update
Posted May 15, 2014

In preparation for a record setting low water year, the City of Ashland continues to ask Ashland residents to help conserve and use the community’s limited water supply wisely.

While citizens may be able to see snow on Mt. Ashland, there is no snow at the three sites on the mountain used to measure snow depth.

Since our water supply is dependent on snow pack, the City will likely be implementing water curtailment strategies early this summer.  The following 2014 drought actions will be implemented as needed:

1.Add TID water to the water supply
2.Ask our community to voluntarily curtail water use
3.Implement Water Curtailment Ordinance

What to expect during water curtailment
There are four stages to water curtailment.  Each stage restricts the maximum amount of water allowed through the water meter assigned to each water customer.  During water curtailment Stages 1, 2, and 3 customers that use more than the allowed maximum amount of water per billing period will pay a surcharge of four times the rate for water delivered above the maximum allowed.  During Stage 4 curtailment, water customers that exceed the allowed amount will pay a surcharge of ten times the rate for water delivered above the maximum allowed.

For example: in Stage 1 water curtailment, a household with  ¾ or 1 inch meters (the most common meter sizes) is allowed 3,600 cubic feet (26,928 gallons) of water per billing cycle.  If a customer uses over 3,600 cubic feet of water, they will be charged $0.22 per cubic foot compared to the non curtailment rate of $.05 per cubic foot.
  • 3,600 cubic feet of water multiplied by 7.48 = 26,928 gallons of water. (There are 7.48 gallons in a cubic foot).
Category Meter Size Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4
    Cu.ft./ Gallons Cu.ft./Gallons Cu.ft./Gallons Cu.ft./Gallons
Residential 0.75/1"  3.600/26,928 2,500/18,700 1,800/13,464 900/6,732
 
In addition, the following restrictions apply during curtailment:
  • Don’t use water to irrigate between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Don’t allow water to run off onto streets, sidewalks, driveways or adjacent property for more than five minutes.
  • Don’t use water to wash sidewalk, walkways or other hard surfaces expect where necessary for public health or safety.
  • Don’t allow water to escape from breaks within a plumbing system.
  • Don’t use water to wash cars, boats, trailers, aircraft or other vehicles by hose without using a shutoff nozzle.
  • Don’t serve drinking water in restaurants, hotels, cafes, or other public places unless requested by the customer.
  • Don’t use water to clean, fill or maintain decorative fountains, ponds etc. unless the water is re-circulated.
  • Don’t use water for dust control, or washing building.
  • Except for purposes of building construction, don’t use water for compaction, dust control, cleaning or wetting or washing a building (except in preparation for painting).
  • Don’t use water to fill swimming pools or for filling toy, play or other pools with a capacity in excess of 100 gallons.
In Ashland, summer water use is approximately five times higher than in the winter, mainly due to landscape irrigation and other outdoor uses.  Adjusting irrigation system control timers throughout the summer to water based on daily and weekly weather conditions can significantly reduce the amount of water consumed.  The City’s Conservation Division offers irrigation system tips as well as other water conservation resources, including free irrigation system evaluations.  To schedule an appointment with the City’s Water Conservation Specialist, go to www.ashland.or.us/conserve.

If you have further questions, please call our drought hotline number at 541-552-2431​.



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April 2014 Update

Ashland Prepares for Drought

In anticipation of drought conditions and the likelihood of water curtailment, the City of Ashland is taking action now that will reduce water use over the next several months. “The City, including the Parks Department, will not plant trees, shrubs or annuals beginning now through the summer season,” said City Administrator Dave Kanner.
 
“Other than a few shrubs and trees that have been “heeled in” and must be planted, we are committed to postponing all planting until we are past the anticipated drought,” said Don Robertson, director of parks and recreation.  “Due to shallow roots, annuals and even vegetable gardens use as much water as grass.”
 
In addition, the City and Parks Department will delay the start of irrigation on city-owned property as long as possible.  This helps to train lawns, shrubs and trees to need less water.  Once the irrigation system is turned on, watering will be much less frequent than in non-drought years.
 
Ashland’s municipal code gives the City the ability to require water use curtailment of residents and businesses if water supplies get too low.  Ashland last experienced water curtailment in 2009.  In May of that year, the snowpack measured 41 inches and the city supplemented the water supply with Talent Irrigation District (TID) water in August.  This year the snowpack measured 20 inches in March and the City expects to begin using TID water in May.
 
The Ashland community uses approximately 1.5 million gallons of water each day for basic indoor domestic use.  Once the community begins irrigating landscaping and continues to irrigate through the hot summer months, the community uses as much as 7 million gallons of water a day. 
 
The City of Ashland encourages its citizens to start thinking now about how they can conserve water this summer.  For more information on water conservation visit www.ashland.or.us/conserve and for more information on water-wise planting visit www.ashlandsaveswater.org/



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February 2014 Update

Potential Drought in Ashland
 
1) Is Ashland prepared for a potential drought in the summer of 2014? 

Yes.  The City of Ashland is well aware of the potential for drought in the upcoming months and has an action plan in place.  That plan, which requires everyone’s cooperation to conserve water, has been tried and tested in the past.  But we will only implement it if and when it’s necessary.  We’re still a couple of months away from knowing whether it’s necessary.

2) Where does our water come from and where is it stored? 

Ashland’s primary source of water is Ashland Creek in the watershed high above Ashland.  Water flows down the east and west forks of the creek to Reeder Reservoir, which lies between Mt. Ashland and the City.
 
Ashland’s secondary source of water comes from the Klamath Basin.Water is stored in Howard Prairie Lake and Hyatt Lake and is available during the growing season only via the Talent Irrigation District (TID) canal.  Ashland uses TID water to supplement the water supply when water levels are low in Reeder and to meet high summer water demand.
 
3) Why doesn’t the City start curtailing water use now and store more water in Reeder Reservoir to save for later?

The City could store and save the water from the east and west forks of Ashland Creek now in Reeder Reservoir.  However, there is currently twice as much water coming into the reservoir as is going out and that will use up all of our storage capacity even without curtailment measures. With this amount of water entering, we will get to the end of April with a completely full reservoir.  If we experience heavy rain in April and the reservoir is full with the water we’ve been storing for later use, there is a risk of flooding.  Too much water in the reservoir and heavy rain means water flowing over the dam into Ashland Creek.  Additional water in Ashland Creek coupled with heavy rain could cause flooding downstream.  Curtailment may be necessary if this dry weather continues, but it’s not necessary right now.

4) What if we don’t have a sufficient snow pack this spring?  Will Ashland have enough water in Reeder Reservoir?  Will there be enough TID water to supplement the shortfall? 

Even without additional snow, we will have a full reservoir by the end of April.  But without additional snow pack, a full reservoir won’t get us through the summer.  If it is determined that there could be a shortfall of available water, the City will implement the action plan for drought, as outlined in our municipal code (AMC 14.06 Water Curtailment). This begins with voluntary water curtailment, which includes outdoor irrigation, washing motor vehicles, and more.  Then, if necessary, the City will implement mandatory water curtailment.  During mandatory water curtailment, water consumption beyond a prescribed allocation is charged at a significantly higher rate.

5) When was the last time water curtailment was implemented? 

The City of Ashland implemented voluntary water curtailment in August of 2009 and shortly thereafter implemented mandatory water curtailment.  The Ashland community very quickly reduced water use as requested, extending Ashland’s limited water supply through late October 2009 when the winter rain began.

6) What else could the City do to get more water? 

Extending the TAP (Talent Ashland Phoenix) water line from Talent is scheduled for the summer of 2015.  TAP would bring water to Ashland from Lost Creek Reservoir via Medford, Phoenix and Talent.  Piping the TID canal between Starlight and Terrace Streets is scheduled for 2018.
 
Both actions, included in the Water Master Plan approved by the City Council in 2012, will provide additional water during drought conditions.

7) What can individual households and businesses do to conserve water during peak summer demand? 

The City of Ashland has a number of Water Conservation Programs ranging from indoor water analysis, irrigation evaluations, rebates on appliances, guides for water wise landscaping, low flow shower heads and more.  Many of these programs can be implemented now and will save on water use. These programs can reduce both short term and long term water use.  More information on programs, rebates and general water saving tips can be found at www.ashland.or.us/conserve

8) How will the City KNOW when a drought is likely? 
When the May 1st snow pack is less than 60% of normal, when Reeder Reservoir is no longer overtopping and the community’s water use continues to increase, the City will implement the drought action plan which includes:
 
  • The use of TID water
  • Prohibiting water waste
  • Voluntary water curtailment
  • Mandatory water curtailment
For more information about water call 541-488-5587

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