ASHLAND — As the water level in Reeder Reservoir continues to drop, city officials are asking residents to voluntarily limit their water use, and a decision to implement mandatory curtailments could come as early as Monday.

ASHLAND — As the water level in Reeder Reservoir continues to drop, city officials are asking residents to voluntarily limit their water use, and a decision to implement mandatory curtailments could come as early as Monday.

Residents were asked on Aug. 11 to voluntarily cut back water use by 20 percent, and that goal has been accomplished, Public Works Director Mike Faught said earlier this week.

"The community did a great job of meeting the 20 percent," Fraught said.

Unfortunately, the volume of water flowing into the city's Reeder Reservoir has fallen dramatically over the past 10 days — from 4 million gallons per day when city officials asked for cutbacks to just 3 million gallons per day this week.

The city used about 6.7 million gallons per day before the voluntary cutback. The city also must release about 1 million gallons of water into Ashland Creek daily to maintain stream flows.

Residents are being asked to cut their irrigation use by 20 percent, because irrigation consumes the largest amount of water. In winter, when people aren't watering lawns and gardens, water use is only about 2.5 million gallons per day.

"With the shorter days and cooler nights, there should be minimal to no impact on plant materials with a reduction of at least 20 percent of irrigation timing," Robbin Pearce, Ashland's water conservation director, said.

City Administrator Martha Bennett said there will have to be mandatory water curtailment if voluntary cutbacks fail to reduce consumption sufficiently. There are four stages in Ashland's mandatory curtailment plan, and each one places tighter restrictions on water use. If a household or business uses more than the allotted amount, the charge for the extra water is four times the normal amount.

a significant effect on

"If we go there, it will have a significant effect on those who don't conserve," Bennett warned.

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Department reduced its irrigation by 20 percent last week. The department cares for city parks, along with Ashland Community Hospital and Ashland School District grounds.

The city-owned Oak Knoll Public Golf Course is watered with Talent Irrigation District water, which doesn't come from Ashland's municipal watershed.

If necessary, the city could move 1.5 million gallons per day of TID water into Reeder Reservoir, Bennett said.

Untreated water is stored in the reservoir above Lithia Park.

For information on how to reduce water use, call the city of Ashland's Conservation Division at 552-2062.

Vickie Aldous is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach her at 479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.