HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

How’s our water supply holding up?

Written August 4th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The Albany-Santiam Canal as seen from 34th Avenue on July 31.

The apparent low flow in the Albany-Santiam Canal made me wonder how our water supply was holding up this summer, which has been drier than usual and exceptionally warm. The word from the city of Albany is that we’re in pretty good shape but should conserve water when we can.

As you know, Albany and Millersburg get their water from two points on the Santiam River system. The Albany-Santiam Canal is fed from the South Santiam above Lebanon. The second intake and treatment plant are on the Santiam itself, a few hundred feet below where the South and North Santiam come together.

In both the South and North Santiam, river flow is at the normal low for this time of the summer. But, fed by releases from upstream reservoirs, the flow has been steady, about 890 cubic feet per second in the South Santiam at Waterloo and a little less in the North Santiam at Greens Bridge.

The National Weather Service makes the point on its hydrograph for the South Santiam at Waterloo that river flow is 100 percent of normal.

After I noticed what looked like the low water in the Albany canal last Saturday, with the mud banks showing near 34th Avenue, I asked Kristin Preston, operations manager in Albany Public Works, if there was any reason for concern.

“No, there is nothing new to report,” she replied. “We’ve not had any issues with water supply and have been keeping up with the high, summer demand.  Yes, water conservation when possible is appreciated!”

In other words, while we don’t have to feel guilty about taking a shower, this might not be the best time to clean the driveway with a hose. Use a broom instead. (hh)





6 responses to “How’s our water supply holding up?”

  1. Bill Higby says:

    Just an observation, I walk over the Santiam canal nearly every morning, the water level in the canal does not seem to have a direct correlation to rainfall or the river level. I am sure that the flow is monitored and controlled, it might be an informational question to ask as to how the level of the canal is regulated.

  2. Connie says:

    It seems to me they are letting a bit more water from the canal into Periwinkle Creek. In Grand Prairie Park the water is still flowing over the lower weir when it is usually dry this time of year.

  3. Bobby says:

    Good stuff. Thanks for the update.

  4. Edward Elkins says:

    Great to know my families contribution to Albany and Willamette Valley is still appreciated. My Family and 5 others built the Canal with their own money back when the town of Lebanon was first established. The Elkins Mill was their old mill. The Canal was originally for getting crops from Lebanon to Albany to take on a ferry.

    • centrist says:

      EE
      Thanks for the history lesson. I’ve heard a few stories about why it got built. Transport makes sense.

  5. Sharon Konopa says:

    I am curious to where we are at today with our mgd water treatment compared to our water rights when our new treatment plant was built? Our agreement with Millersburg included joining water rights.

 

 
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