|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Ashland will have little effect upon Medford's water supply

  • I am wondering about Ashland's urgent interest in tapping into the Medford/Talent water supply. During extreme drought conditions would the water be doled out evenly or would Medford get a larger portion since it was Medford's water to begin with? And how will it affect Medford's water bill?
    • email print
  • I am wondering about Ashland's urgent interest in tapping into the Medford/Talent water supply. During extreme drought conditions would the water be doled out evenly or would Medford get a larger portion since it was Medford's water to begin with? And how will it affect Medford's water bill?
    — L.W. Medford
    Ashland's plan to connect to the Medford water system this summer by completing the Talent-Ashland-Phoenix pipeline is unlikely to have any impact on water supplies for Medford users, according to Laura Hodnett, public information coordinator for the Medford Water Commission.
    Ashland has bought rights to water stored behind the Lost Creek Dam. Medford will treat the extra water and send water to Ashland via the TAP line, she said.
    Medford's water supply comes from the Big Butte Springs, which are fed by precipitation on Mount McLoughlin, part of the Cascade Range. Medford also has rights to use water from the Rogue River, which originates near Crater Lake, Hodnett said.
    The Cascade Range has slightly below normal precipitation levels for the water year, while the Ashland Watershed in the Siskiyou Mountains above Ashland has such drastically low snowpack that the Mt. Ashland Ski Area was unable to open for the first time in its 50-year history.
    Ashland has warned that it may institute water curtailment measures this summer. It has instituted water curtailment measures several times in the past 15 years, while the Medford Water Commission has never instituted curtailment because of a water shortage, Hodnett said.
    If Ashland's regular water supply drops to emergency levels this summer, it will use up to 2.3 million gallons per day from the TAP line, which is expected to be complete in mid-August.
    That amount is relatively small for the Medford water system, which has peak usage of more than 60 million gallons per day in the summer, Hodnett said.
    She said Ashland's connection to the Medford water system will have no impact on Medford users' bills.
    Ashland may raise water rates by 10 percent beginning in July to cover planned infrastructure costs. It will postpone some water projects past 2023 and seek a low interest state loan to cover increased TAP completion costs, which escalated from an estimated $2.3 million to as much as $4.3 million.
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.
Reader Reaction

      calendar