Denlinger said Toledo is connected to Newport, Newport is connected to Seal Rock, and Seal Rock is connected to Toledo going back the other way. Further south, Waldport is connected with Yachats. But those two communities are not connected to anyone else. In the event of a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake, those whose connections survive the shaker, will have the best chance at having water after the shaking stops.
Denlinger said in order to maintain some semblance of water service, there ought to be an inter-tie between Seal Rock and Waldport – a pipe under the Alsea River – so that Waldport and Yachats would have water – or at least have a pipe that could be repaired to get the water flowing again – in both directions depending on which water systems are still running.
Denlinger said that being able to push water around such a Central and South Lincoln County water-web would greatly enhance the survivability of residents and businesses in that area.
Meanwhile, Denlinger said his Seal Rock Water District is pursuing backup equipment to keep water flowing into Seal Rock if their current mainline from Toledo breaks during any disaster. Denlinger says they’re building a Beaver Creek intake where water can be treated and sent south to Seal Rock in an emergency.
Again, Denlinger says it’s not a question of if the Central Coast will suffer a big subduction zone earthquake…it’s a matter of when. Geologists point out that the Cascadia Subduction Zone strikes between 250 and 350 year intervals going back tens of thousands of years. The last Cascadia event was in January of 1700. So based on the interval, the Oregon Coast could get hit any time. Denlinger says all local water providers need to get together and map out the needs and the costs of toughening up their local water supplies and their delivery systems – and of course, the associated costs. This is going to be a long running story as it outlines the threats and opportunities to meet those challenges.