In response to a chlorine supply shortage, the city of Bend is asking residents to voluntarily reduce their water use immediately.
A critical chlorine supply issue throughout the West Coast may affect Bend, according to a city press release. The shortage was caused by an equipment failure at a Longview, Washington-based chlorine manufacturing facility. The Westlake Chemical company plant restarted production Wednesday after it received a spare part from a local business, according to an Associated Press report.
Drinking water coming out of the tap in Bend remains safe to use, according to Michael Buettner, Bend’s Utility Department director.
Dan Dennings, the city’s water conservation manager, said the call to reduce water is a preemptive measure, given that the unusually early heat wave hitting Central Oregon this week is expected to drive the demand for water up around the city.
Similar conservation messages go out every summer, Dennings said, but usually later in July or August.
“We’re seeing those peak season triggers happening earlier than normal,” he said.
The city has enough chlorine to last through August if current restricted use remains in place, Dennings said. But the longer the city can keep the demand for water lower, the longer the city’s chlorine supply can last.
“We’re not going to run out of chlorine tomorrow. But it could get out of hand if we don’t put the messaging out and things continue like normal and we see a ramp up in demand.”
About 60% of the city’s water goes to irrigation, Dennings said.
Residents and businesses can reduce water use by irrigating landscapes on even or odd days based on house address, eliminating runoff into the street or sidewalk. The city also suggests refraining from extra water uses like filing pools or washing cars with a hose.
The Bend Park & Recreation District has already reduced water used for landscaping in parks by 15% and has not turned on water play features for the season, said Julie Brown, the district’s communications and community relations manager.
For more information, visit the city’s website at bendoregon.gov.