MEDFORD, Ore. — The Medford Water Commission said Thursday that it will continue a voluntary curtailment on water use prompted by nationwide chlorine shortages last month. Though supply chain issues have improved, concerns remain about both the availability of chlorine and the supply of water due to drought conditions.
"The distribution facility is up and running again and the situation has improved, but has not been resolved. We are continuing to monitor a variety of factors, including chlorine production and demand for water," officials said in a statement.
The request for voluntary reduction in water usage applies to Medford, Central Point, Eagle Point, Phoenix, Talent, Jacksonville, and White City.
The Commission issued a "thank you" to customers for reducing water usage since June 17, amounting to a reduction of 10 to 15 percent within the first two weeks. However, water usage has since increased again.
"Considering this rise in water demand and the fact that our region is still in drought, it is all the more important to continue to use water wisely," officials said. "Please be mindful in how we use water this summer, and remember it is a valuable resource that should not be wasted."
Right now, both the chlorine and water supplies are enough that the Commission does not intend to start mandatory water rationing, as long as customers can voluntarily reduce enough to keep usage at a reasonable level.
Some recommendations for reducing water usage include eliminating any sources of water waste, such as any known leaks at homes or businesses; reducing vehicle washing or using facilities that recycle water; sweeping paved surfaces instead of washing them; avoid filling pools, hot tubs, ponds, and water features; curtailing sprinkler use where possible; and making sure to turn off water when brushing teeth, shaving, and rinsing dishes.
"We appreciate your dedication to helping reduce water use," said the Medford Water Commission. "As the Rogue Valley’s trusted municipal water provider, it is our responsibility to protect the municipal water supply for our customers, and the cooperation of our customers in times like these will help ensure that we can do so for many years to come."
The chlorine shortage in June resulted from a combination of lingering pandemic impacts and a major electrical failure at a southwest Washington chemical plant. A number of Oregon municipal water authorities issued similar advisories for reduced water usage — including Grants Pass, though officials said that they had a steady supply of chlorine.