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Conserving city water

Ashland officials are prudently staying ahead of summer water demand by switching on supplemental supplies from the Talent Irrigation District earlier than usual.

That’s not a reason for concern, because the city still has a backup water supply in the Talent/Ashland/Phoenix (TAP) line that can provide Medford Water Commission water in emergencies. Still, conservation-minded Ashlanders can help out by limiting their usage.

One way to accomplish that is by installing a gray water system to irrigate lawns and gardens.

Gray water is water that has been used but not contaminated with fecal bacteria. Water from washing clothes and dishes can be used on landscaping if biodegradable soaps are used. Rainwater also can be captured from roof gutters and saved for use on lawns and gardens. Every gallon of water reused in this way is a gallon that doesn’t have to come from the city’s treated water supply.

Gray water workshops were held in May and June, but workshop materials are available on the city of Ashland’s website, along with detailed information about gray water systems, including video presentations for homeowners and professionals such as plumbers and contractors. Written documents are available for download. See http://www.ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=14879.

Ashland is an environmentally conscious community, and conservation analyst Julie Smitherman says there is considerable demand for information about gray water usage and systems. The city’s water supply is adequate for now, but conservation is an important component, especially in years such as this one when the winter snowpack was lower than usual.

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