We expect water to come out of the faucet when we turn the handle. 

But the task of providing water gets harder in a drought, and our region has been living with drought conditions for several years. 

A national awareness campaign called "Imagine a Day Without Water" brings together a number of water agencies and interested groups to press the case for wise use and conservation this week (October 6-8). 


Crystal Geyser Water Company is moving ahead with plans to open a water bottling plant in Mount Shasta, but it faces a court challenge first. 

The group W.A.T.E.R., We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review, just filed suit against the company and Siskiyou County, seeking more environmental studies. 

The company says it is disappointed in the suit, but generally does not comment on pending litigation. 


Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District has a rare issue facing it: it has a right to more water than it can currently use.

But it's a use-it-or-lose-it proposition for the district.

It either needs to find more users, or risk losing a portion of its water right.  

A change would have a significant on the Mad River, the water source... a lower water right would drop the flow in the river markedly.


We're not even halfway through the summer, and drought concerns are rising, even in normally well-watered parts of Oregon.

Junction City recently had to declare a "moderate" water emergency and restrict water uses. 

EWEB in Eugene is keeping an eye on low river flows caused by the lack of snowpack. 

And Ashland is poised to increase warnings about water use, if its major reservoir drops below a certain level. 


The ongoing drought in California is turning attention in a number of directions, including to the water bottling industry. 

Several companies have come under fire for continuing to bottle water in a state hard-hit by drought. 

And in one case, the plant in question is not even open yet: the Crystal Geyser Water Company plant in Mount Shasta. 

Saving Water Without Losing The Lawn

Apr 9, 2015

Drought puts pressure on water users to find ways to use less water.

And in suburban environments, that quickly turns our attention to lawns: green and pleasant, but water-intensive.

Short of ripping out the lawn, there are grasses that require less watering.

The Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance teamed up with the City of Ashland on demonstration projects.

It's Beneath Us: Groundwater Awareness Week

Mar 5, 2015

Maybe something as important as drinking water should get more than a week for recognition. 

But next week, March 8-14, is Groundwater Awareness Week across the country. 

Our region traditionally relies on surface water fed by snowpack, but groundwater grows in importance in drought years. 

Water Rights For Bodies Of Water

Jul 29, 2014

Does a river or a lake have a water right? 

This question gets asked more often lately, as the drought makes lakes and rivers run low or dry, while nearby water users still get their water. 

A California court just ruled that the pumping of water out of the ground must be regulated to protect nearby rivers.   An environmental group filed the suit.

It's the first use of the "public trust doctrine" in this manner in the state. 

Hard Times: Oregon's Disappearing Lake Abert

Jul 17, 2014
Ron Larson

We knew some bodies of water would get smaller in drought years. 

But one Oregon lake in particular is taking it hard: Lake Abert in Lake County. 

It is Oregon's only saltwater lake, and it is disappearing. 

The lake has lost 99% of its water from its full pool volume, and is now too salty to support what life did occupy it.  The causes are more complicated than just weather patterns. 

Stream Bacteria Levels Rise To Unhealthy

Jun 24, 2014

And now, another effect of the drought: higher bacteria levels in streams. 

It figures... less water means less dilution of naturally-occurring bacteria, and warmer water promotes the growth of bacteria. 

But several streams around the region are showing unsafe levels of bacteria. 

Those include a handful of Rogue Valley streams. 

Water Wise Lawns (With $ Attached)

Jun 23, 2014

It has become nearly impossible to move around the city of Ashland without seeing signs urging people to "Be Water Wise." 

Assuming no midsummer rainstorms ending the drought, water restrictions will ratchet down water use in the weeks ahead. 

How Low Is The Snow? A Drought Update

Feb 11, 2014
California Department of Water Resources

Recent rain and snow are good to have, but probably not good enough. 

The region is way behind in precipitation, and California's governor already declared a drought weeks ago.  Oregon may follow suit if the conditions demand. 

December has been one of the driest months ever recorded in California, which is spurring some cities and counties in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region to issue water conservation orders earlier than usual.

The Sacramento Bee reports that the city of Folsom has already imposed a mandatory 20-percent water conservation order, while Sacramento County has asked residents in unincorporated areas to reduce water use by 20 percent.


Ranchers and the Klamath Tribes have reached a tentative deal for sharing water in the drought-stricken Upper Klamath Basin.

Members of a special task force signed an agreement in principal Monday in Klamath Falls. Thier goal is to reach a final agreement early in 2014 that will guide legislation to be offered by U. S. Senator Ron Wyden.

Amelia Templeton/EarthFix

Leaders in two Klamath Basin counties who oppose taking down dams as part of a regional settlement of water issues say they're planning an alternative to talks aimed at salvaging the agreements.

The Klamath Falls Herald and News reports that commissioners in Oregon's Klamath County and supervisors in California's Siskiyou County met on Monday.