Low streamflow is currently forecasted to continue for the Siletz River, a water source relied upon by the communities of Newport, Toledo, Siletz and Seal Rock. In addition to impacting drinking water supplies, low streamflow can have significant impacts on farm, forest, recreation, and natural resources sectors.
Preparation and timely response to low streamflow conditions are vital to the health and safety of our communities. As a proactive measure the City of Newport voluntarily suspended pumping water from its intake on the Siletz River on July 29th. In the past, the City did not initiate pumping from the Siletz until the reservoir levels reached low level thresholds. As a result, this timing corresponded with lower flows on the Siletz. This year’s effort was initiated to draw water from the Siletz when flows were greater utilizing the capacity of the City’s reservoirs to store water during low flow periods.
The City’s reservoirs have now reached a critical stage, and pumping will have to resume from the Siletz Intake. As of September 4th, the Siletz River is at 64 Cubic Feet Per Second (CFS) and the City’s Big Creek Reservoirs have dropped below 50% capacity. The City of Newport is suspending all non-critical water use, including all irrigation, effective immediately, and encourages water customers to limit the use of water for non-critical purposes until conditions improve.
The City of Newport, City of Toledo, City of Siletz and Seal Rock Water District are asking our customers to please continue to conserve water to reduce our demand on the Siletz River water. Specifically, we are asking customers to voluntarily:
- Minimize outdoor irrigation. If irrigation is necessary, please do so during the hours of 10:00 pm and 8:00 am.
- Refrain from washing cars (except at commercial establishments that recycle or reuse water in the cleaning process), equipment, and impervious surfaces, such as pavement.
- Refrain from filling pools and ponds.
- Avoid nonessential uses of water for such activities as recreation, remodeling, construction, and cleaning, unless absolutely necessary for public health or safety.
Water suppliers in the region appreciate the support and cooperation of the community as we respond to low streamflow conditions. Reducing the amount of water, we remove from coastal streams, many of which are already impaired as a result of drought conditions, translates to better stream health and a more sustainable water supply for the future. Taking action to reduce our demand on the Siletz River now also makes it less likely that we will need a greater level of water conservation later this summer.
Water suppliers continue to monitor conditions daily, along with the state’s natural resource and public safety agencies (including the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) and the Oregon Office of Emergency Management) and will provide updates to the region as needed.
Additional ways to conserve water in and around your home include:
- When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
- Some refrigerators, air conditioners and ice-makers are cooled with wasted flows of water. Consider upgrading with air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.
- Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
- Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
- Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
- Check your faucets, toilets, and irrigation systems for leaks.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.
- Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time.
- Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler, and rainfall is more plentiful.
- Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
- Water your lawn and garden in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
- Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save water and prevent damage to your home.
- Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up.
- Turn off the water while you wash your hair to save up to 150 gallons a month.