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Residents Take Action During Drought

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ASHLAND, Ore. — Earlier this summer, Ashland city officials were cautious to see if water curtailment would be needed for the first time since 2009.

So far, it is not needed, thanks in large part to voluntary efforts of water conservation by Ashland residents.

Six and a half million gallons of water are used in the city of Ashland on average, during peak summer days. That’s up from one and a half million a day in the winter. The key difference, water used for landscaping, but this year is different. Nearly a third less gallons of water per day are being used.

“We’ve had droughts before and so we need to conserve water and that applies to everybody in the general area,” Mountain Meadows resident Gideon Wizansky

Residents at the Mountain Meadows community have come together to put a dent in $45,000 they spend on irrigating their lawns every year. Just one year in to a three year turf removal process, they know it will be better in the long run.

City officials said others are catching on.

“The more we know about our water, the more we understand how to use it, the less likely we are to waste it,” said Water Conservation Specialist Julie Smitherman.

Smitherman has helped put in place different water conservation programs, including lawn replacement incentives. She said there are small scale steps everyone can do.

“People just want to know in any way how they can conserve. There’s several different measures we can take from short-term measures, more simple measures such as shorter showers,” said Smitherman.

Mountain Meadows doesn’t have to make their landscaping changes, but residents said it’s the right thing to do for both their budget and the environment, even if it narrows down their choices for plants.

“Drought tolerant, deer resistant and meet the city’s firewise programs, because we’re a firewise community as well. And we also like things with flowers on them. That’s a big order,” resident Lee Bowman.