Ashland City Council votes unanimously to tap into Medford's water supply

, Posted in Local, Posted: Tue, March 4 2014 at 10:53 PM, Updated: Tue, March 4 2014 at 11:22 PM

Ashland, Ore. -- The Ashland City Council voted unanimously in favor of speeding up the planning and construction of a water pipeline that will connect to Medford's water supply.

With the warm weather, they are preparing for what could be one of the worst drought seasons we've seen.

John Stranberg of Valley View Nursery has lived in Ashland most of his life. He said this water season, or lack there of is something he's never seen before. Stranberg said "it's a historical year for lack of rainfall. Is it a serious problem? Ya it is."

That serious problem is why Stranberg says he's in support of Ashland tapping into Medford's water supply. He says, "I think in order for Ashland to have that security, it should be done."

Construction on the Talent-Ashland-Pheonix or TAP water line was originally planned for 2015, but because of a possible summer drought, Ashland City officials want to speed up the planning and construction of the pipeline.

"It had to do with we had no snow pack, we were working through contingency plans back in January in terms of the snow pack and the drought conditions we were seeing," said Mike Faught, Ashland Public Works Director.

Right now, the line stretches to Talent and could be extended to Ashland by late summer. But not everyone is on board.

Ron Roth was at the meeting Tuesday night, he said "it makes more sense to pipe the TID canal that comes from the Green Springs Power Plant than to have a pipeline with potable water from Medford."

But for Ashland resident and business owner John Stranberg says he thinks it should've been put in a long time ago, and even though it will cost him more money on his bill he still supports it. He said “it's absolutely essential that we have water, without water you don't live."

City officials say Ashland will be able to afford the charges as long as it follows through with it's plans to raise water rates by 10% each year for the next three years.

Construction on the water line is set to start in June and finish by August.

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