Spring production down, Mount Shasta residents asked to conserve

Skye Kinkade

With statewide drought conditions and lower than average spring production, Mount Shasta City is requesting residents conserve water by at least 20 percent.

Public Works Director Rod Bryan said two city wells are being used to accommodate water consumption, and at peak times during the day, citywide usage exceeds what the springs produce. This reduces the amount of stored water available in tanks needed for fire suppression.

“It is not uncommon for us to run the wells in the summer,” said Bryan, but coupled with the lower output of the springs and the drought, the city wants to be proactive in water

conservation.

A look back at spring production over the past four years shows a downward trend. Last month, the average production was 1,464 gallons per minute, Bryan said. In May 2013, it was 1,751 gpm; in May 2012 it was 2,234 gpm; and in May 2011 it was 2,263.

Spring production January through April of this year has also been below average, said Bryan.

Wells are typically run in the mornings and evenings, the times when people use water the most. They are turned off overnight, which gives the fire suppression tanks time to refill.

“We’re keeping up with the demand right now, but conservation will help ensure we can continue,” said Bryan. He said the less the city can use its wells, the better.

If the wells went out, that would be a significant problem, he said, and generally when the weather gets warmer, people use more water.

“If spring production levels do not start to increase, the city may have to take additional measures and further restrict water consumption,” said City Manager Paul Eckert. “It is vitally important that we all do our part to conserve this precious and limited resource.”

Mount Shasta City Fire Chief Matt Melo said while the water in the tanks is important for fire suppression, if there were a shortage, extra water tenders could be brought in from outside the area.

“So we do have a Plan B if something did go south during those peak times,” he said. “We’ll make it through, no matter what happens.”

To remind residents to conserve water wherever possible, the city recently distributed door hangers.

There are many ways to conserve water, inside and out, said Bryan. Installing drip systems, watering during cooler temperatures in the mornings and evenings, and checking your sprinkler system to make sure only the lawn is being watered will save water outside of the home.

Tips for reducing indoor usage include using water collected while rinsing fruits and vegetables to water house plants, reducing shower time, installing aerators and low flow shower heads, and turning off water while shaving or brushing your teeth.

Bryan suggested visiting saveourh2o.org for additional tips on how to save water.