Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Crater Lake to have adequate water
“The average visitor should not see any impact when they come to Crater Lake,” predicts Superintendent Craig Ackerman. “That’s good news.”Although there were concerns that shortages stemming from Klamath Basin water rights adjudication might create a need for water to be trucked in to the park, Ackerman said a July 1 decision by the Oregon Water Resources Commission that provides water for human consumption means the park will have water for cooking, drinking and sanitation.
“It was a huge relief when the water commission recommended those exemptions to the governor. At this point, it does not appear we will have to truck in water,” Ackerman said, noting the park has developed contingency plans in case of shortages.Even with the guarantees, he said the park and its concessionaire, Xanterra, are aggressively pursuing voluntary and mandatory water conservation measures.
Park officials, for example, are metering water use in every building and retrofitting every water distribution fixture at the lodge, hotel, campgrounds and all park residences. Xanterra, which manages the Crater Lake Lodge and other concession facilities, also is replacing all water fixtures with low-flow toilets and valves.“We were in the process of doing that anyway, but we’re stepping things up,” said Ackerman, who said cost estimates for the upgrades are $185,000. “These steps will continuously save water.” He said the park’s water rights under the human consumption exemption is 202,000 gallons a day, but noted the park’s highest use in a single day has been 68,000 gallons.
“Nevertheless we’re going to try to reduce it more,” Ackerman said, noting a park employee meeting is planned this morning to discuss ongoing and future water saving efforts.Signs at the park notify visitors of the drought-created water shortages. Xanterra is no longer automatically replacing towels and sheets and is serving water at food service outlets only by request, which Ackerman said is saving 600 gallons of water daily.
Visitors and employees are being asked to take shorter showers while the use of water for washing vehicle and hosing exterior surfaces has ended.Ackerman said a National Park Service hydrologist arrived at the park this week to determine if more groundwater resources might be developed in the park, although he emphasized nothing would be done that might affect lake levels. “This is a new way of life for everybody,” Ackerman said of water conservation measures. “It’s been a good wake-up call, but it’s something we’ve been working on for years.”
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Page Updated: Wednesday July 17, 2013 02:08 AM Pacific
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