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Big Butte Springs
Forest Management
Protecting the Watershed
Rogue River
Water Quality Grant Program
Water Rights
Watershed Councils

200 S. Ivy St. - RM 177, Lausmann Annex
Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 774-2439
Fax: (541) 774-2555
Contact: Bob Jones, Geologist
Hours: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Medford Water Commission

Medford Water Commission - 541.774.2430
Rogue River

The Rogue River
The Rogue River is used as a supplemental drinking water source during the months of May through September. Water is withdrawn at the Robert A. Duff Water Treatment Plant (Duff WTP) near TouVelle State Park. The treatment plant was built in 1968 and had an original capacity of 15 mgd. During 1997 there were improvements at the Duff WTP, which ensure efficient operation of the plant under wintertime conditions if needed. Design and construction involving structural, mechanical, electrical, and instrumentation and control upgrades were undertaken during the 1998-99 fiscal period. Phase III filter expansion was completed in the year 2000 and increased our water treatment capacity to 45 MGD. Current permits allow the use of up to 65 MGD (100 cubic feet per second) of natural stream flow water rights out of the Rogue River.
Lost Creek Reservoir:
The lake contains approximately 250,000 acre feet of total storage is located approximately 20 miles upstream from the Duff WTP. This reservoir is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers primarily as flood control facility but it also helps maintain stream flows during the summer. There are 10,000 acre-feet of stored water allocated for municipal and industrial use in Lost Creek Reservoir.
Currently, the cities of Phoenix, Jacksonville, and Talent purchase water from Lost Creek Reservoir. Each of the other cities served are required by 2015, as part of their water supply contract, to purchase their own Lost Creek water for treatment and transportation by MWC.
Rogue River Watershed
The Rogue River watershed includes the entire area of land upstream from the Duff WTP intake on the Rogue River, near Bybee Bridge and is about 1 million acres in size. The Rogue River originates near Crater Lake in the headwaters of this watershed.  Mt. McLoughlin is the highest peak in this watershed, at an elevation of 9,495 feet.

This is a surface water source that provides supplemental water during peak demands times, usually from May to late September. The Commissionís Robert A. Duff Water Treatment Plant can process about 45 mgd. The Commission has water rights on the Rogue River for 65 mgd. In addition, there is stored water available for municipal and industrial uses in Lost Creek Reservoir.

This watershed, like the Big Butte Springs watershed is a multiple-use watershed. About 2/3 of this watershed, mostly in the headwaters is publicly owned and managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Land-uses in this watershed include forestry, grazing, recreation, rural and urban residential, agriculture, wildlife habitat, municipal water, hunting, fishing and tourism. In general, most development occurs in the lower elevations and along rivers and creeks.

The Commissionís watershed management efforts for the Rogue River watershed are geared primarily around education and awareness. The Commission will be working on a Source Water Assessment and Drinking Water Protection Plan for the Rogue source over the next two years following the state guidelines for these programs.

There are numerous jurisdictional authorities having to do with a wide range of land-uses and/or activities that can affect water quality within the watershed. Since the Commission has no jurisdictional authority, it is important to develop regular communications and working relationships with the various entities to minimize risk to water quality.

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