Drought Conditions Increase Need For Efficient Water Use

Clackamas county is experiencing a significantly dry summer, with almost 92% of the county, including all of the Sunrise Water Authority service area, currently classified as experiencing severe drought conditions by NOAA.

In response, Governor Kate Brown issued an Executive Order instructing state agencies to reduce non-essential water use, implement water conservation measures, and encouraging drought resiliency.

While Sunrise Water Authority and our customers are not subject to the executive order, the current conditions do highlight the need for increased efficiency in water use, which lowers consumption and conserves our available water resources.

Sunrise Water Authority is fortunate that our water supply has not yet been affected by the drought. However, our primary source is the Clackamas River. Unlike the other regional sources of water, the Clackamas River basin has no storage for municipal supply. River flows are supported by direct runoff (rain) and snow melt. The higher temperatures this spring and summer have led to early snow melt. Thus, we anticipate that river flows may become extremely low in late summer and early fall.

As we move into mid and late August, customers can begin to help preserve supplies through conservation and efficient use. Here are some simple ideas for things you can do to make a difference.

Indoor:

  • Make sure your home is leak free.
  • Repair dripping faucets.
  • Run dishwashers and washing machines only when full.
  • Take shorter showers and/or replace your old showerhead with a more efficient model.
  • When replacing toilets or washing machines, choose energy and water efficient models, then apply for a rebate.

Outdoor

  • Reduce lawn watering. Get a weekly watering number at regionalh2o.org.
  • Water between 8 pm and 6 am to avoid losing water to wind and evaporation.
  • Check sprinkler systems and timing devices to assure they are operating properly.
  • Install water efficient irrigation controllers, then apply for a rebate.
  • Consider a water audit to check your landscape irrigation system efficiency.
  • Eliminate washing your car at home and use commercial car washes that recycle water.