Today the Water Division of the Public Works Department began supplementing our drinking water from Reeder Reservoir with Talent Irrigation District (TID) water. This is expected to continue until September and is being done to maximize the amount of water Ashland has available while also maintaining the highest level of water quality possible.
The snow pack in the Ashland watershed was lower than normal this past winter causing concerns about water supply levels later in the summer. Utilizing our available water as efficiently as possible will ensure Ashland water users have sufficient water supplies to meet their demands until wetter and cooler weather returns in the fall. Ashlandís primary water source is Reeder Reservoir, located in the mountains above Lithia Park. Reeder Reservoir receives its water from the Ashland watershed which begin at the peaks of Mt. Ashland and Wagner Butte and flow into the East and West Forks of Ashland creek before entering the reservoir. When water use in Ashland is greater than the flow from the two forks of Ashland creek, water levels in the reservoir begin to drop. This past week the flow out of the reservoir exceeded the flow into the reservoir so the volume of the reservoir is now less than 100% and decreasing daily. This is normal and happens every year.
Ashland is very fortunate to have multiple water sources and utilizing them efficiently will ensure adequate supplies. Now that water levels in Reeder Reservoir have begun to fall, supplementing our water source with TID water is the most efficient way we have of maximizing our water supply. Water will be pumped from the TID system to our water plant where it is blended with water from Reeder Reservoir and then treated at the Water Treatment Plant. TID water never enters Reeder Reservoir, the two sources are mixed just ahead of the treatment plant and this combined water is then treated to meet all Oregon Health Authority (OHA) requirements, including the newly required Cyanotoxin monitoring. Water quality is our highest priority and all our water, from any source we utilize will be treated to meet and exceed all OHA requirements.
Itís unlikely that Ashland water users will notice any difference in their water, but it is possible that a slight change to taste and odor can occur. Typically, this happens when we treat the water later in the summer when the water is warmer. If you do however notice any taste and odor changes, they are harmless but if youíre concerned, please call us at (541) 488-5587.