Water availability has been in the news a lot lately with California facing another year of drought conditions and Oregon experiencing record low snowpack levels. What does all this mean for the McKenzie watershed and Eugene’s drinking water supply?
Recent modeling suggests the McKenzie River will be at 60 percent of normal flow. It is unlikely that Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) will be required by the State of Oregon to restrict water use. However, depending on weather conditions later this summer, voluntary reductions or restrictions are not out of the question. EWEB staff will monitor several key criteria throughout the summer that could trigger the need for water restrictions. The criteria include daily water consumption, daytime temperatures and stream flows.
Whether or not mandatory restrictions are put in place, wise water use is especially important this year to keep as much water in the river as possible for fish and other users downstream. For this reason, EWEB is asking customers to be more vigilant about water consumption.
To support water conservation, local water utilities have an established Green Grass Gauge (GGG) program that has become a popular and effective tool to manage outdoor irrigation (typically the largest demand for summertime water use). Weekly watering recommendations are posted on Facebook and Twitter, from mid-June through late-September, to help avoid overwatering. The public may subscribe to a weekly watering recommendation e-mail update sent directly to a personal mailbox at eweb.org/ggg.htm.
For more water conservation tips, and other resources regarding water supplies, visit eweb.org/2015drinkingwater.