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 Water is withdrawn at the Robert A. Duff Water Treatment Plant (Duff WTP) near TouVelle State Park.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 the 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.
The lake, which contains approximately 250,000 acre feet of total storage, is located approximately 20 miles upstream from Duff WTP. This reservoir is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers primarily as a 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 the reservoir.
Currently, the cities of Phoenix, Jacksonville, and Talent purchase water from the reservoir. Each of the other cities served are required by 2015, as part of their water supply contracts with the Commission, to purchase their own Lost Creek water for treatment and transportation by the Commission.
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 river originates near Crater Lake in the headwaters of this watershed. Mt. McLoughlin is the highest peak in the watershed, at an elevation of 9,495 feet.
The river is a surface water source that provides supplemental water during the peak demands times of the summer months. The Duff WTP currently can process about 45 MGD. The Commission has water rights on the Rogue River for 65 MGD.
This watershed, like the Big Butte Springs watershed is a multiple-use watershed. Around two-thirds of the watershed, primarily in the headwaters area, 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, urban and rural 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 Commission’s watershed management efforts for the Rogue River watershed are geared primarily around education and awareness. The Commission will be enhancing the State's Source Water Assessment and developing a Drinking Water Protection Plan for the Rogue source following the state guidelines for these programs.
There are numerous jurisdictional authorities and private entities 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 and maintain open working relationships with the various entities to minimize risk to water quality.