News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

City encourages water conservation

Amid continuing drought conditions in the region, the City of Sisters is encouraging community members to conserve water and reduce waste.

Snowpack and reservoir levels are currently below average for this time of year, and above-average temperatures are predicted in the Cascades and Central Oregon. These drought conditions are affecting both our local community and natural resources.

The City’s water supply comes from groundwater, and the City has been implementing efforts to ensure that we can continue to provide our community with a reliable supply from this high-quality drinking water source. While the City anticipates that municipal water supply will be sufficient this summer and beyond, a prepared release noted that, “water in the High Desert remains incredibly precious. It is essential that we use our water responsibly to maintain the livability and prosperity of our community.”

“In drought conditions, we all need to make an effort to use our water wisely. Water conservation is key to reducing pressure on our groundwater sources, and our biggest opportunity for water savings is from more efficient irrigation practices,” said Public Works Director Paul Bertagna.

Here are some ways community members can help reduce their irrigation water use during the ongoing drought:

- Irrigate at night or in the early morning to reduce water loss to evaporation.

- Check for leaks in irrigation lines, outdoor spigots, and indoor water fixtures—even a slow drip adds up to a lot of wasted water.

- Adjust sprinkler heads if you see runoff on your driveway, sidewalk, or street.

- Use a hose timer or install a weather-based irrigation system controller or a soil moisture sensor to prevent overwatering.

- Replace all or part of your lawn with native, low-water-use plants.

The City has a Water Management and Conservation Plan approved by Oregon Water Resources

Department and has implemented a number of water conservation measures. These efforts include:

- Replacing turfgrass in medians and bulb-outs with low-water-use landscaping.

- Investing in subsurface irrigation and reducing turf irrigation, which has decreased City irrigation by approximately 30 percent.

- Updating road design standards to use drain rock in swales instead of turf in all new subdivisions.

- Implementing a leak detection/prevention program, including replacing old water lines.

- Educating the community about water conservation through information on the City’s website, low-water-use landscaping pamphlets.

- Outdoor water gauges and indoor conservation kits will soon be available at City Hall.

For more ideas on cutting back on water use, visit


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