Water Action Team

Read our October 2022 Water Conservation News, Vol. 1, Issue 5

Despite the fact that winter is coming, Jackson County is still largely in a state of drought, and the adequacy of our water supply is a major concern for our region.

The Water Action Team publishes an e-newsletter featuring water conservation tips appropriate to current conditions and provides links to resources for City of Ashland incentives, rebates and other resources. Check out our latest issue to the right, download available! Earlier issues are available below.


Drought + H2O = Conservation
In our September 21 recorded webinar, state and local water conservation experts provide an up-to-the-minute update on Southern Oregon’s drought, our water supply, our outlook for the future, and how we can carefully manage our precious water supplies.  Speakers:  Larry O’Neill, State Climatologist of Oregon; Julie Smitherman, Customer Service & Water Efficiency Manager, and Cody Scoggins, Water Efficiency Coordinator, Medford Water Commission


Ashland’s Drinking Water

Drinking water for the City of Ashland comes from Reeder Reservoir, in the Ashland Watershed. Learn more about current Reeder Reservoir water levels here.

Talent Irrigation District

Several reservoirs comprise the Talent Irrigation District system in the Cascade foothills. Many Rogue Vally growers depend on TID. Water levels this year are very low. Learn more about the irrigation system and current reservoir levels.

According to Drought.gov, as of September 2022,
more than 98% of Jackson County is in a state of severe drought.

Climate change is already affecting Ashland and the surrounding region, and its impacts are projected to become much more severe in the coming decades. According to Ashland’s 2017 Climate & Energy Action Plan, by the 2080’s Ashland will likely see:

  • An 86% decrease in winter snowpack
  • 90 more days of extreme heat annually
  • 7-12 degree Fahrenheit increase in temeperature on the hottest day of the year
  • More than 1″ of additional rainfall during heavy storms
  • More frequent and severe droughts, heat waves, and wildfires

City Information Resources
and Incentive Programs

The City of Ashland provides excellent resources on water conservation strategies, effective irrigation techniques, and more at AshlandSavesWater.org and www.ashland.or.us/weather. The City also offers a number of incentive programs, freeevaluations, and rebates to help residents do their part to conserve water, including:

  • Irrigation system evaluation: a comprehensive assessment of the design, operation, and management of your sprinkler system.
  • WaterSense Toilet Rebates to customers who replace existing toilets greater than 3.0 gallons per flush (gpf) with WaterSense labeled toilets which are 1.28 gallons or less per flush.
  • Smart Irrigation Controller Rebate. Rebate applies to the installation of WaterSense certified smart irrigation controllers.
  • Lawn Replacement Rebate. Applies to the removal of live, maintained and irrigated lawn that is replaced with climate appropriate, low water use landscapes and efficient irrigation systems.
  • Free low flow showerheads and faucet aerators. Water-saving low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators are available to all City of Ashland electric and water customers. Call 541-488-5587 to schedule a time to pick them up.

The Collaborative Water Action Team

The Ashland Climate Collaborative formed a Water Action Team in March 2022 to provide a community-based push for water conservation, complementary to City efforts. The team’s initial focus is:

  1. Public education (of residents, businesses, landscapers and policymakers) on such topics as: 
    • Where our water comes from
    • Water conservation strategies
    • Existing city incentives and programs
    • The connection between water consumption and energy usage
    • Conservation ethics
  2. Citizen “oversight” on municipal water issues. In the past, the city of Ashland had an Ad Hoc Water Committee. This committee is currently inactive. As long as there is no official committee, we need citizens knowledgeable about Ashland’s water and wastewater systems who, working together, can weigh in on water and wastewater system issues as needed.
  3. Policy Issues. There are many important policy issues of interest to Ashland residents, including the adequacy of regional water planning; water curtailment criteria; the water rate structure, and the equity of city water conservation incentive programs.
  4. Engagement with the Business Community. The Ashland Chamber of Commerce has historically been an important partner in water conservation efforts. We value the Chamber’s active involvement in water conservation programs.

For more information, contact us!

“Water conservation can have double benefits in the face of a changing climate: it can help the community be more prepared for drought, and also reduce stress to aquatic ecosystems and thereby enhance the resiliency of those ecosystems
to a variety of climate and non-climate stressors. ”

— Ashland Climate & Energy Action Plan


Learn More About Reeder Reservoir —
Your Source for Clean, Fresh Drinking Water!

Reeder Reservoir supplies water to the city of Ashland, Oregon. It is relatively small as the maximum storage behind the dam is 860 acre-feet or 280 million gallons of raw water with the overflow weirs in place. Reeder Reservoir is fed from snow melt and watershed rain runoff from Mount Ashland. Typically, the reservoir fills to the top and reaches capacity in April, stays full and spills over the overflow weirs at the dam through the end of May, and then the water level behind the dam slowly starts to fall until the rains begin again usually sometime in October. Theoretical drawdown of the reservoir begins the first of June and goes to “empty” in March. The reservoir never reaches “empty” because of rains that usually start in October. The predicted 50% reservoir level is October 15th. Anytime after October 15th without rains and with the reservoir at or below 50% would cause concern for water supply. Source: http://wikimapia.org/275810/Reeder-Reservoir

Reeder Reservoir level as of September 15, 2022: 56.1%

Source: City of Ashland Reeder Reservoir Dashboard