Fire Alert

Update: Bend turns surface water back on

Had switched to groundwater only due to fire concerns

BEND, Ore. - The city of Bend switched back on its Bridge Creek source of drinking water Wednesday morning as fire lines firmed up on the Two Bulls Fire near the city's watershed.

The Bridge Creek watershed is where the city gets most of its domestic water supply, fed by gravity to the city.

The city shut down the surface water source on Saturday night as a protective measure during the escalation of the Two Bulls Fire. The city has been pumping water only from groundwater wells to supply customers with domestic water during the fire.

The city resumed using its Bridge Creek source following the downgrade of the evacuation warning level along Skyliners Road at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Skyliners Road residents and City of Bend officials are now allowed back in the area.

The city shuts off its surface water when turbidity – a measurement of sediment-generated cloudiness – reaches a certain level. Turbidity typically increases from fires in the watershed and spring runoff. The turbidity measurement is currently below that threshold.

The Two Bulls Fire is not in the Bridge Creek watershed, and the city's Outback drinking water facilities are not in the path of the fire.

Separately, work on the new pipeline infrastructure improvement project is scheduled to restart Monday.

For information and updates about the Two Bulls Fire:

The Outback facility is where the city treats and distributes water from Bridge Creek. The city has seven wells at the Outback site and 15 wells located elsewhere across the city.

Groundwater wells can supply the city's domestic water, but the city was encouraging its water customers to conserve water and minimize or eliminate irrigation if possible. When irrigating, it is best to do so during off-peak hours (when it is dark outside).

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