Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Wednesday, February 2, 2005 at 12:00 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

Mayor Morrison called the Study Session to order at 12:04 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico and Silbiger were present.
Councilor Jackson and Hartzell arrived at 12:12 p.m.; Council Hearn arrived at 12:18 p.m.
Public Works Director Paula Brown and City Administrator Gino Grimaldi were also present.

1. Talent Ashland Phoenix (TAP) Intertie Pipeline Update on Preliminary Engineering and Future Water Line Construction from Talent to Ashland.
Public Works Director Paula Brown explained that the purpose of the Study Session was to provide an update on the progress of the TAP Intertie. Laura Dutt of Carollo Engineers and Ed Olson, who will be filling in for Ms. Brown while she is on military leave, were introduced. Also present were City employees Pieter Smeenk, Mike Morrison and Keith Woodley.

Status of the TAP Project:
Ms. Brown explained that for the TAP pre-design, Staff has evaluated the different alignments, the City's water system needs, the compatibility issues, and have discussed where they would bring in the TAP pipeline. Ms. Brown noted that Highway 99 was the obvious choice to connect to the TAP. Ms. Brown explained that currently, the TAP pipeline runs from Medford through Talent and stops at the end of Talent near Suncrest. She stated that the TAP system for Talent and Phoenix was up and running, and that currently all of Talent and Phoenix's water comes from the Medford Water Commission. Ms. Brown reminded the Council that the TAP project for Ashland would not replace the City's water, but would only supplement the current supply by 1.5 mg per day. During an emergency, the TAP would provide enough water to sustain the water needs for the City of Ashland. Ms. Brown stated that one of the most important things they have done to date was the completion of the water model. She explained that the model was used to measure how the water from the City's water treatment plant was distributed and how that would change with the new TAP pipeline. It was noted that Carollo Engineers helped to develop the water model and that it has been used extensively.

Reservoir Storage Analysis:
Laura Dutt of Carollo Engineers explained the existing conditions and stated that based on a maximum usage day, the water demand was 7.5 mgd (million gallons per day) and that overall, the system has a deficit of .65 mg. At this rate, by the year 2050, there will be maximum daily demand of 10 mgd and the overall system deficit will be 2.52 mg. Ms. Brown explained that the City was currently in a storage deficit and that Staff has been aware of this issue. She also noted that there was a line item related to this issue in the budget and that the deficit would be corrected by next year by adding a second distribution reservoir. She added that the deficit was not a result of a water supply issue, but had to deal with distributing the water to the right locations. Ms. Dutt explained the Reservoir Storage Analysis and stated that some of the service areas have a surplus while others are deficient. Overall, the City currently has a storage deficit of .65 mg. To help even out the water supply, the City could extend the service areas that are having a surplus.

Ms. Brown clarified that the City was already working to correct the existing deficit, and that the TAP was a separate issue and would help to accommodate the City's water needs in the future.

Ms. Dutt explained the four recommendations that Carollo Engineers has proposed:

1) Install a new 2.5 mg TAP Reservoir that would service Zones 1 & 7.
2) Reconfigure the system for Strawberry Reservoir to service Zone 6.
3) Install an additional .75 mg reservoir to service Zone 5.
4) Utilize the surplus in the Alsing Reservoir by increasing the service size of Zone 2.

It was noted that the larger reservoir would not need to be constructed right away, but would be necessary for the TAP project. Ms. Dutt stated that there are two alternatives for the location of the TAP Reservoir. The first would be at an elevation of 1,970' on Ashland Mine Road and the other would be at a higher elevation of 2,160' on Grandview Drive. It was noted that because Ashland was at a higher elevation than Talent, the TAP water would need to be pumped uphill to the new reservoir regardless of where it was located. Ms. Dutt explained the pros and cons for each site. She stated that the construction costs would be the same for each alternative, but that there were other considerations including maintenance and operational costs.

Water Quality:
Ms. Brown explained that contrary to public belief, there is no quality difference between Medford and Ashland water. She explained that when hooked up, the TAP water would blend with Ashland's water and that most of it would stay in Zone 7.

Water Rights:
Ms. Brown stated that the City of Ashland would have a 450 mg water supply deficit by the year 2050 if nothing was done. To address this problem, the City has endorsed the TAP project and has purchased 1,000 acre-feet of stored water in Lost Creek Lake. Additionally, the City intends to purchase 384 acre-feet in FY09. However the City still needs to gain a "water right" before it can begin to use the water. Ms. Brown explained that Staff has delayed the water right application pending the results of litigation that challenges the need for beneficial use within 5 years of gaining a permit.

Ms. Brown explained that the TAP pre-design was scheduled for completion in March 2005. Between July 2005 and January 2006 the location of the TAP Reservoir would be determined and the land purchased. The TAP final design would be completed between April 2008 to April 2009, and the construction should begin between July 2009 and July 2010. For the Zone 5 Reservoir, the design should be completed between July and December 2005 and construction will begin between July 2006 and May 2007.

Ms. Brown explained that Staff was recommending that they proceed with the TAP project as scheduled. The next step is to identify a location for the TAP Reservoir and Ms. Brown recommended that they follow Alternative 1 and locate a site on Ashland Mine Road. She explained that this location was closer to Highway 99 and it would be easier to install the pipes at this location.

Questions & Answers:
Ms. Brown clarified that a pump station would need to be constructed in Talent and explained that there was not enough pressure to get the water from Talent to Ashland due to the elevation change.

Ms. Brown clarified that the reservoir would likely be a concrete structure. In regards to the site, Staff will test the soil conditions and perform other necessary tests before a site is purchased.

Ms. Brown stated that due to the uncertainties of the future, she is recommending that the City continue to work on this project and complete the TAP ahead schedule. She stated that the City would not have to turn the water on until it was needed, but that it was important to have the groundwork completed in case there was a need for the TAP water before 2016. She also mentioned that the annual escalation of construction costs was approximately 4-5%.

A comment was made expressing concern with the "build it, but not turn it on" concept.

Ed Olson stated that after the TAP was ready, the City of Ashland would most likely only use it only a few days a year during the peak times and would increase usage as needed until 2016.

Additional comment was made requesting a clear assessment of the costs. Ms. Brown stated that they are still in the preliminary design stage and stated that Staff will provide these figures to Council before they are required to make their next decision. She added that this issue will not come back before Council for a decision until 2007. She stated that she understands Council's request for hard numbers, but explained that Staff will not have those figures until some of the preliminary decisions have been made.

Ms. Brown displayed a graph that compared peak water usage in July of 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. She noted that typically July is the hottest month of the year and stated that water usage usually increases when temperatures reach over 95 degrees.

Ms. Brown mentioned the Talent Irrigation District (TID), and stated that Staff would like to put more money toward the TID and that it is currently under-funded.

Public Works Superintendent Mike Morrison informed the Council that there are approximately 300 TID users on the City side. He also spoke regarding Reeder Reservoir and stated that it has been filling with organics for several years. He stated that the organics are starting to rot and deteriorate and that this will affect the quality of water in the reservoir. Mr. Morrison recommended that Council look into options for cleaning out Reeder Reservoir.

Council questioned what was being done by the Conservation Department to encourage water conservation. Comment was made that every drop of water saved is one that the City will not have to pay for in the future. Ms. Brown stated that she has met with the City Administrator in regards to the Conservation Dept. and has discussed the possibility her having more involvement with that department.

ADJOURNED: Meeting adjourned at 1:51 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,
April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder

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