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Fixing our  infrastructure

The infrastructure of our water system includes our source springs, our two reservoirs, the distribution system of buried pipes that carry the water from the reservoirs to our homes, the valves that control water flow in the distribution system, and the fire hydrants along our streets.

Our water system was originally constructed in the 1930s.  It has been modified, patched, and repaired over time, including some major revisions in the 1970s.  Much of the system is operating beyond its rated service life.  Some major components of the system are so obsolete that parts for repairs are no longer available.

We find that we have corroded, brittle or leaking connections, fragile water mains, inoperable valves, and cracks developing in one of our reservoirs.  We continue to find (and fix) significant water leaks throughout our community.  This leakage becomes critical when our spring flows drop in the summer and fall, and in the face of continued lower spring flow measurements compared to past years. 

The board's goal is to maintain and protect our water supply while keeping customer cost as low as possible.  We have developed an evolving plan for addressing our aging water system's problems.  This capital improvement plan (CIP) provides a timeline for restoring and improving our water supply.  Here is a link to the current version of the plan:

Five Year Capital Improvement Plan

 

The first phase of this plan is being implemented now with the installation of water meters for all of our service connections.  This will allow us to quantify and conserve our water usage, identify water loss from leaks, and help us qualify for low-interest loans or grants.

The information used to formulate this plan started with the water system feasibility study completed in January 2018.  This study was commisioned by the board and funded by a state grant.  Here is a link to the study:

Otter Rock Water District Water System Feasibility Study

 

In addition to the information provided by the feasibility study, the board continues to gather additional information from other consultants.  This includes valuable input from residents of our community who have volunteered their time and considerable expertise, as well as from outside professionals.   All this information will help us identlfy the most critical needs in our system and the most cost-effective ways to address them.  We are continuing to update the plan as we gather more information.

Getting our water system back into shape will require considerable expense.  This has already required rate increases during the last two years.  The board is exploring all available options for funding.  This includes looking to see if our district can qualify for grants or low-interest loans to help control the costs to our customers.  Please attend our monthly meetings to learn more.  If you are unable to attend, but interested in the proceedings, we are now able to post the minutes of those meetings on this website. Use the Board Meetings link on the home page.