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City to look at its use of TID water

Water issues will dominate the City Council's agenda Tuesday as it considers steps to ensure an adequate water supply. The council meets at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main St.

The city instituted voluntary and then mandatory water curtailment from Aug. 12 to Oct. 23 because not enough Ashland Creek water was flowing into Reeder Reservoir above town.

Even though 96.8 percent of residents responded and used less water, city staff had to add Talent Irrigation District water to the water supply, treat it, and then send it to customers, according to a memo to councilors from Public Works Director Mike Faught.

He is recommending that the council consider using TID water on a regular basis in the summer, rather than just for emergencies. TID water was last used to supplement the city supply in 2001.

Other recommendations include adding TID water earlier in the season, spending $208,200 to improve the TID system and shifting a staff person from water distribution to the water treatment plant. The staff shift would lower overtime costs.

To deal with the varying quality of incoming TID water, the four-member water treatment plant crew had to work 12-hour shifts in order to man the treatment plant 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the water shortage, Faught said.

He is also asking the council to authorize city staff to draft possible changes to the Ashland Municipal Code after determining if the amount of water allowed for homes, businesses, parks, schools, Southern Oregon University and the city government is appropriate.

Water study

Also Tuesday night, the council will consider whether to approve a $363,996 contract with Portland-based Carollo Engineers for a comprehensive water supply, conservation and reuse study that will look at a variety of possible water sources for the city.

A $110,000 state grant will help pay for the study. Water system charges on new development will pay for the rest, Faught said.

Potential water sources include TID water, using the city's treated sewage effluent for irrigation to lessen demand on the potable water supply, and continuing on with the Talent-Ashland-Phoenix water line. That water line could bring Medford water to Ashland, but currently it only extends to Talent.

In other business Tuesday night, the council will consider whether to finalize new rules to create protective buffer zones around creeks and wetlands in town.

Public nudity

Also Tuesday, the council is scheduled to look again at the hot-button issue of public nudity, although that item is near the end of the agenda.

Mayor John Stromberg sometimes changes the order of agenda items if many people come to speak on an item that is near the end.

The council is scheduled to consider whether to finalize the adoption of a citywide ban on nudity.

For a complete list of agenda items and for details on each item, visit www.ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=12436.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.