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A Pipeline Could Affect Ashland's Backup Drinking Water

Right now, the city of Ashland's backup drinking water supply runs through a canal, but a proposed pipeline installation could change that.

Posted: Jan 31, 2019 11:38 AM
Updated: Jan 31, 2019 1:14 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. -- A proposed pipeline would be installed in place of a canal that runs about two miles from Starlite Place to Terrace Lane in Ashland. The pipe would be about 2 feet in diameter.

The City of Ashland says that this pipeline would ensure the quality of the water and also cut back on water losses. Right now, a lot of the water that runs through the canal is being lost to seepage into the soil or being evaporated.

“Right now, we’re losing about 62 million gallons of water each season because of seepage and evaporation,” says conservation analyst Julie Smitherman.

She says that’s up to a 30 percent loss. Smitherman also says that the pipeline will make the water cleaner.

“We will have more control over the water quality because it is our backup drinking water,” says Smitherman.

Right now, the water from the canal is being used for irrigation.

But not everyone is on board with the pipeline project. Some members of the community and neighbors who live near the canal have some concerns.

The pipeline wouldn’t be cheap, and it would be funded through the state. There are trees that would have to be cut down in the process as well and people are concerned about preserving the vegetation nature of the trail. The aesthetic of the neighborhood is also a concern.

If the project gets approved, pipeline construction will start in late fall 2019 or early winter 2020.

The project manager, Kevin Caldwell says that community support is important.

“Ultimately we want the community's support. We would like to think the community is in agreement with the cities priorities for water conservation and water quality,” says Caldwell.

Thursday night, there is a community meeting at Southern Oregon University. It’s at the Stevenson Union at 5:30-7:30. There, the City of Ashland will be addressing concerns and answer questions.

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