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Drought Fears Prompt Ashland To Accelerate Emergency Pipeline Project

OPB | March 3, 2014 3:36 p.m. | Updated: March 4, 2014 7:08 a.m.

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Ashland is moving forward with a plan to avoid potential water shortages this summer.  The city council will meet tomorrow night to discuss negotiations that could bring millions of gallons each day from neighboring Medford.

The water would be carried by a yet to be completed emergency pipeline.  Construction of the project was originally scheduled for next year.  But the city council voted to speed up that timeline at their meeting two weeks ago. 

Public works director Michael Faught says the city is close to finalizing an agreement with the Medford Water Commission.  But council still needs to decide how much water to request.  His recommendation calls for 3 million gallons per day.

“I think we’re going to need every bit of [that] at some point and I want to make sure that we have that capacity to meet our demand,” said Faught.

Construction of the pipeline should be completed by mid-August. Water rates are scheduled to increase by roughly 40 percent over the next five years. The increases will cover the cost of the pipeline as well as other improvements.

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