Ashland's water supply looking good ... so far

With remaining snow and extra rain, water levels are normal and there are no signs as of yet of algae blooms in the Reeder Reservoir, according to officials at the Ashland Water plant.

There are also no predictions at this time for water controls, which is no surprise to Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Daryl McVey, who says water levels are always high in the month of July.

"I've never seen [water levels] not be 100 percent full in July," McVey said.

"There's still snow on Mt. Ashland," McVey said. "The water supply is good."

In two to three weeks, McVey said, things could change as snows disappear and temperatures continue to increase.

"Right now [water levels] look good," McVey said, but as far as predicting the water levels for the summer, McVey said it's hard to tell.

"In the 1990s, water levels dropped really fast in the summertime," McVey said.

There were also issues with algae blooms at the Reeder Reservoir last summer as well as lakes across Jackson County in 2007. Hot weather attracts algae growth, McVey said, which becomes common at lakes during hot and dry weather.

City of Ashland engineer, Pieter Smeenk recalled 2007's trouble with algae at the Reeder Reservoir, which caused a foul taste and smell to the water, but believes with cooler weather, algae growth will decline.

During the summer months, a team of consultants is sent out by the City of Ashland to test the water at the Reeder Reservoir.

"We haven't seen any algae growth [so far]," Smeenk said, adding that the last test occurred on July 2, and results are pending. "This year is much cooler, which is less favorable for algae growth. The warmer it is, the more [algae] wants to grow."

A system has been installed in the Reeder Reservoir to help keep algae from blooming with devices called Solar Bees. Solar bees are solar-powered water circulators that pump cold water from bottom of the reservoir to the top, cooling the surface, which discourages algae growth. The devices create a flow on the surface, which also disrupts the algae growth, Smeenk said.

Water conservation tips

There are several ways to conserve water consumption, especially in garden and domestic use. Water Conservation Auditor and Inspector Robin Pearce works in water conservation for the City of Ashland and makes house calls to help people in the community conserve water in any way they can.

"Often times I just give them food for thought," Pearce said. Although Pearce is not concerned for the time being about the city's water supply, she always encourages public water conservation.

"I want to educate people in a non-panic mode," Pearce said, who asks people to look at the amount of water they are using and assess if they need to change their habits.

She suggests watering plants "at an appropriate time of day such as in the early morning or the mid-evening when the temperatures are cooler and the soil absorbs the water more thoroughly."

For more tips on water conservation, contact Pearce at 552-2062 or visit the Community Development building at 51 Winburn Way, across from Lithia Park.

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