By Joshua Dillen
Extreme drought conditions this year are effecting the local water supply and mandatory usage restrictions may come into play before summer ends for Baker City residents.
The city’s watershed continues to provide less water than normal as the summer progresses.
City staff have been monitoring usage and will make a determination by Tuesday whether mandatory water use restrictions will be implemented, Michelle Owen, Public Works director, said.
“If the curtailment ordinance is activated then it would be activated at Stage 2 and odd/even irrigation would be required of residents rather than just voluntary as it is now,” she stated in an email.
At Stage 2 the city’s water curtailment ordinance allows the city to impose restrictions on water usage. When demand for water to the city’s users is 80 percent of the water supply and Goodrich and the aquifer storage recovery (ASR) well are being used, Stage 2 is triggered.
Stages 3 and 4 are put into place when Goodrich is at half and quarter capacity respectively and demand is at 90 percent.
At Stage 3, lawn watering and car and driveway washing will be prohibited and parks, cemetery, school and sports complex irrigation will cease.
At Stage 4 — which is emergency status — only water for human and animal consumption, and water for proper health and sanitation will be allowed from the domestic water supply.
The water curtailment ordinance can be read at the city’s website: www.bakercity.com/government/ordinances.
Since the beginning of July, municipal water users have been asked by the city to voluntarily conserve water by irrigating on odd or even dates corresponding to their addresses.
(This means that if your address is an odd number you should irrigate on the odd days of the month and if your address ends in an even number you should irrigate on even days of the month.)
Larry McBroom, the city’s engineering supervisor, estimates that the voluntary conservation has saved about a million gallons of water per day since the request.
The school district, parks and cemetery were asked to limit their irrigation before the voluntary request was made of city users, Owen said.
The city has asked them to conserve a little more.
See more in today's issue of the Baker City Herald.