Banks, Government, Water

Banks suspends outdoor water use, limits indoor use amid ‘critical’ water shortage

Part of the city of Banks water system on September 6, 2017. Photo: Chas Hundley

The city of Banks issued a notice Wednesday morning halting all outdoor water use and limiting customers of the city’s water system to health-related and food preparation needs.

The move, the city said, is due what the city called “extreme weather conditions,” and applies to customers in and outside city limits.

The city started the week on Monday by moving to stage 1 of the city’s water curtailment plan, but today is moving to stage 3, “Critical.”

“Conserving water now, can help prevent additional and stricter curtailment measures,” the notice sent by city recorder Angie Lanter, read.

The “critical” stage of the plan will last until at least July 14, the city said, though if the situation improves, it could end sooner.

In a phone call with the Banks Post, Banks City Manager Jolynn Becker said that the move to stage 3 was prompted after the water level in the Carsten Reservoir dropped to a level that was between the city’s stage 2 and stage 3 levels.

“We don’t want the pumps to stop working,” Becker said, noting that moving to stage 3 was a precautionary move. “We decided to go to stage 3 to cut back on water usage,” she said.

The city is in the process of replacing the leaking main water transmission line, and Becker said that while contract crews technically have until February of 2022 to complete the project, it could actually be November of this year when it is done.

And positive results from the new line could be seen within the next month, Becker said, as some homes will be moved onto the new service line soon.

The city is putting out door hangers today to notify customers of the curtailment, Becker said.

“In past history, this always takes care of this situation,” Becker said, who said the city had never had a scenario where any water curtailment was needed past stage 3.

“That last four days of heat didn’t help,” Becker said. “Normally we don’t have that type of heat.”

“I just thank the people for helping us out with this situation,” Becker said.

The city’s curtailment plan is part of a set of actions taken to increase the city’s water supply and reduce water use while the city works to repair a chronically leaking water transmission line, which has halted much of the development in the city for almost three years now. 

The Banks city council originally adopted the development moratorium on December 11, 2018, and have extended it in six month chunks since then.

The move won’t curtail the Quail Valley Golf Course, which uses water pulled from ground sources on the property for their facilities and pulls water from the Tualatin Valley Irrigation District for irrigating the 18-hole grounds of the course, according to the property’s general manager, Doug Hixson.

Additional updates to water conservation measures will be placed on the doors of the city’s water customers, and those with questions were asked to call the city at 503-324-5112.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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