Stage 2: City wants to cut water use

September 2015 Posted in News

By Kristine Thomas

Silverton city officials would like to see more brown lawns.

At its Aug. 24 meeting, the Silverton City Council moved the city to Stage 2 in its water restrictions. The measure is an effort to continue to save water during this summer’s drought.

“Stage 2 asks our customers to voluntarily stop using water to irrigate their lawns,”  Silverton Public Works Director Paul Eckley said. “Stage 3 would require customers to stop irrigating their lawns.”

Eckley has emphasized in the past interviews that residents can continue to water their gardens.

The goal is to reduce the amount of water the city is using during the drought.

“We need to continue to conserve water and not waste a drop,” Silverton City Manager Bob Willoughby said.

Willoughby said on Aug. 25 that the city has sufficient water for all of the city’s basic needs, “for people and commerce.”

“But we’d like people to cut back even farther on outside watering,” Willoughby said.

He said city staff will be contacting all of the home owners’ associations in Silverton to ask them not to enforce the “covenants that require people to water the yards in private subdivisions.”

“Now that the city is at Stage 2, everyone needs to limit their outdoor consumption of water for cosmetic or aesthetic uses,” Willoughby said.  “There are other more important uses for that water right now.”

In the Aug. 15 Our Town, Willoughby said it appeared Stage 1 Voluntary Water Curtailment was working “and we may not have to go to Stage 2.” The city manager has the authority to activate Stage 2 or Stage 3 water curtailments.

Eckley said on Aug. 25 that during the week of Aug. 16 to Aug. 22 that customers used an average of 2.1 million gallons a day of drinking water, down slightly from 2.2 million gallons a day reported at the previous water update on Aug. 2.

“Also for last week, the estimated average amount of water in Abiqua Creek was 3.9 million gallons a day and in Silver Creek was 4 million gallons per day.  This shows both creeks contain about the same amount of water,” Eckley said.

The Silverton City Council enacted Stage 1 on June 22 by asking all of its customers to voluntarily reduce outside water use by irrigating on an odd/even schedule.

For Stage 2, the city asks people to voluntarily to stop watering lawns and use water only if necessary, such as to water a garden, but to resist the urge to power wash their driveway or wash their car at home. Eckley said more information about Stage 2 water curtailment is available on the city’s website, www.silverton.or.us.

“The city is well prepared for the drought conditions we are experiencing this summer,” Eckley said.

He said the city has three available sources of water: Abiqua Creek, Silver Creek and stored water in Silverton Reservoir.  The city’s dam at Abiqua Creek was built in the 1940s and is gravity fed.  Water from Silver Creek has to be pumped; a new pump installed this summer.

The city has the first water right on the Abiqua, dating back to Jan. 25, 1917. Eckley said the city’s water rights on Silver Creek go back to the 1940s.

Of these three, the primary source is Abiqua Creek and “the city has the senior water rights on this creek,” Eckley said. “So far this summer, the city has only used water from Abiqua Creek.”

Eckley said Silverton residents have done a  “good job reducing their peak day water use this summer.  The peak day use for the month of August this year was on Aug. 1 and was 2.5 million gallons for the day,  compared to our record peak day in 2007, which was 3.5 million gallons.”

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