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Further water restrictions likely won't be needed

Mandatory water curtailment by residents has reduced water consumption in the city of Ashland, though not as quickly as anticipated, said interim Public Works Director Scott Fleury.

With recent fires, continued extreme fire danger and red flag warnings, resident reticence is unsurprising, he said.

Information about watering needs based on current weather conditions and daily treatment plant production may help residents determine what their properties need, while meeting a community goal of using 2.5 to 3 million gallons per day.

Residents can go to ashland.or.us/weather for guidance on how much watering is needed for plants and trees based on type and sun exposure. “During September and October, plant water needs have decreased significantly because the weather is getting cooler and the days are getting shorter, which reduces evaporation,” the site says.

The Ashland Public Works Department began accessing the Talent-Ashland-Phoenix intertie water system Wednesday — the system connects the southern Rogue Valley into the Medford water system and offers a backup to Ashland’s supply — after temporary compromise from the Almeda fire.

According to the city, accessing TAP from the Ashland side will not negatively affect Talent and Phoenix cleanup and rebuilding efforts for now.

A water shortage remains a concern, and the city will likely use the TAP source, which supplies 2.13 million gallons per day at full capacity, until Reeder Reservoir is replenished with sufficient rainfall.

Throughout recent drought years, Ashland has also tapped into the Talent Irrigation District canal as a backup water source.

When Fleury issued notices for “stage one” curtailment, a timeline for TAP access was unclear. After collaborating with regional stakeholders and determining no likely negative impact, “the decision was made to use the TAP resources and not go further with curtailment restrictions,” he said.

Fleury anticipates no further mandatory water curtailment stages past stage one will be implemented as long as rain comes and impacts to Talent and Phoenix remain nonexistent.

“We began pumping from our TAP source today, and this will help reduce the Reeder Reservoir drawdown significantly for the near future,” Fleury said Wednesday, “until such time as we receive our seasonal fall rains.”

garden sprinkler on a sunny summer day during watering the green lawn