The city of Ashland has begun supplementing its drinking water supply from Reeder Reservoir with water from the Talent Irrigation District (TID), the city Public Works Department announced Monday. This is expected to continue through the end of July and is being done to maximize the amount of water Ashland has available while also maintaining the highest level of water quality possible, the city announcement said.
The snowpack in the Ashland watershed was lower than normal this past winter causing concerns about water supply levels later in the summer. Utilizing available water as efficiently as possible will ensure Ashland water users have sufficient water supplies to meet demand until wetter and cooler weather returns in the fall.
Ashland’s primary water source is Reeder Reservoir in the mountains above Lithia Park. Reeder Reservoir receives its water from the Ashland watershed, which begin at the peaks of Mount Ashland and Wagner Butte and flows 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 percent and decreasing daily. This is normal and happens every year but, due to the lower than average snowpack, this drop began earlier this year than it has in the past.
Water will be pumped from the TID system to the Ashland Water Plant where it is mixed 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.
Utilizing TID water early in the season allows the city to maintain the highest level of water quality possible. This time of year the water is colder and algae levels are greatly reduced compared to what it will likely be in late August and September. By using the TID supply now, the city can return to using Reeder Reservoir water throughout August and September, maximizing water quality.
It’s 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 water is treated later in the summer when the water is warmer, so this time of year when the water is still cool, taste and odor issues likely will not exist.
Taste and odor changes, should they occur, are harmless, according to Public Works, anyone with concerns can call the department at 541-488-5587.