Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Special Meeting

Tuesday, August 25, 2009



August 25, 2009

Council Chambers

1175 E. Main Street



Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.



Councilor Voisin, Navickas, Lemhouse, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.



1.   Will the Council ratify the City Administrator’s decision to declare a water shortage emergency and implement Stage 1 Water Curtailment as outlined in the Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) 14.06?

Public Works Director Mike Faught, Associate Engineer Pieter Smeenk and Water Conservation Analyst Robbin Pearce provided a presentation that included:

  • Determination of Water Shortage (AMC 14.060.020)
  • Findings – Demand for water in the City of Ashland
  • Findings – Volume of water in Reeder Reservoir
  • Findings – Standard drawdown curve for Reeder Reservoir
  • Findings – Projected curtailment date for Talent Irrigation District (TID) water
  • Findings – Flows in the east and west forks of Ashland Creek
  • Water Curtailment allocation Table in cubic feet (cf) (Residential)

It was clarified that 3,600 cubic feet a month equaled approximately 900 gallons of water a day for a regular household.  There are 7.48 gallons of water per cubic feet.  Converting cubic feet to daily-allotted gallons is determined by multiplying the numbers of cubic feet by 7.48 gallons then divide by 30. Customers exceeding the allotted water allocation for stages 1, 2 or 3 will incur a surcharge of four times the rate in addition to what they would have paid prior to the surcharge.  The typical daily use is 100 gallons per person per day, with a multiplier added depending on what type of irrigation is used.  For Stage 1, the City is asking citizens to continue daily water needs inside the house but cut irrigation 50% unless they are already in excess.


·         14.06.080 Excess water consumption surcharge


The minimum water draw down for the reservoir is 35 feet and the City has never gone below 43 feet.  The maximum draw down is 20 feet due to sediment and pipes that disrupts water quality.  The total percentage draw down for the reservoir is 65%, which is where the City is. If the reservoir continues to drop at this trend, it will hit 35% by September 23, 2009.


Staff explained all exemption requests were subject to careful review and required an audit, currently there were 25 exemptions.  Shift changes to cover operations were discussed with an estimated $8,000 in overtime for the following two-week period that could double if the curtailment is extended.  Mr. Faught was working with the TID Board on extending use from October 15 to October 30 as well.  He went on to explain the challenge for the future was how to protect drinking water and augment with other sources. It is complicated to treat TID water, if the City had a separate system that ran through the irrigation system those two would not come into conflict.  Alternatively, if it were augmented with the effluent another 2 million gallons a day would help.  However, for the current situation, experience has shown that Stage 1 should be enough for Ashland as the community is quick to respond.


Jim Moore/1217 Park Street/Voiced appreciation for City’s response to the water crisis but had concern regarding citizens ability to read their utility bills accurately because billing used cubic feet while the ordinance used monthly gallons.  A greater concern was plans for the future.  The current crisis could have been avoided if the City had taken advantage of the TAP (Talent/Ashland/Phoenix) project earlier.  He noted the loss of snow pack over the years and how the Request for Proposal (RFP) soliciting a review of water resources could take 6 years to award and complete the project during which the City could deal with potential drought.  He encouraged the Council to start the TAP project immediately. 


Ron Roth/6950 Old Hwy 99S/Appreciated how quickly the City was able to start using TID water.  He advocated using TID adding there was more water available through TID than what is proposed through TAP.  TID could be part of the auxiliary supply so Reeder Reservoir could be kept close to full. He cautioned on the perception of the City running sprinkler systems for the medians while homeowners could not water their lawns.


Staff responded to Council that TID was tested for herbicides and the results were treatable. 


Councilor Silbiger/Voisin m/s to ratify the City Administrators decision to declare a water shortage emergency and implement Stage 1 Water Curtailment as outlined in AMC 14.06.  DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger thought the allotment for homes and businesses was generous and hoped citizens would respond as they have in the past.  Councilor Lemhouse voiced appreciation to the staff and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers for their efforts.  Councilor Chapman expressed the difficulty citizens are experiencing converting cubic feet to gallons and knowing if their efforts were helping.  City Administrator Martha Bennett acknowledged the difficulty and noted people could contact the Utilities Department for information on where they were regarding usage.  Councilor Jackson agreed the conversions were hard and suggested people whose irrigation systems ran on timers to adjust the time to half instead of working with the formula.  Councilor Navickas commented that a healthy aspect to the curtailment for the community is seeing how conservative citizenry can be with water.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Chapman, Silbiger, Lemhouse, Voisin and Navickas, YES.  Motion passed.


Mayor Stromberg attended a Public Safety Coordinating Council meeting where a vote regarding truancy made him question whether he had the authority in this capacity to make decisions.  City Administrator Martha Bennett explained a future Study Session would address this topic.



Meeting was adjourned at 5:46 p.m.




                                                                  ____________________________                ________________________________      

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                   John Stromberg, Mayor


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