Ashlanders must limit water use or pay four times more

Ashland residents who use more than a restricted allotment of water will be charged four times the regular rate beginning Tuesday.

The city of Ashland will limit use to 3,600 cubic feet of water per residential customer, about 27,000 gallons per month or 900 gallons per day for households.

On an average, people use about 100 gallons of water a day for domestic uses such as drinking, showering, cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and flushing toilets, so the curtailment called for this week shouldn't affect daily household activities, the city says.

However, watering lawns and gardens, car washing and other outside uses should stop or be cut back dramatically, it said.

The city asked for voluntary reductions earlier this summer and people complied. Ashland last ordered water curtailment in 2001.

Reeder Reservoir, which holds the city's drinking water above Lithia Park, is less than 60 percent full and dropping rapidly, city officials said in a statement today announcing the curtailment. Restrictions could increase later in three more stages of curtailment.

The restrictions are necessary to ensure city residents have enough drinking water and adequate water to fight fires until fall rains begin, probably in October, City Administrator Martha Bennett said in the statement.

In addition to restricting how much water residents can use, the city is also preparing to supplement its water supply with water from Talent Irrigation District. Officials are testing irrigation district water to see if it meets standards set out for drinking water sources. If it doesn't meet the standards, a portable water treatment plant will be brought in to pre-treat the water before it enters the city's water treatment plant.

The test results will be available by Wednesday, officials said.

— Anita Burke

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