As we march into the depths of summer, numerous Junction City residents report their wells, springs or streams are either very low or running dry. Drought has gripped many Western states for years now, and the effects of this long drought cycle are particularly apparent in communities where springs and aquifers are primarily replenished by snowmelt. Over time, as water use increases and snowmelt decreases, the availability of water from these springs and aquifers is impacted. Our local streams are impacted by drought to varying degrees each year as well.

We have many new residents in Junction City and the Downriver communities who may not be as familiar with our water sources and the need to conserve as much as possible. Our local water sources supply not only humans with drinking water but are also a source of water for the wildlife, plants and trees all around us. Please look at ways you can reduce water usage throughout your residence and in your gardens.

There are many simple things you can do that can make a difference. The Public Policy Institute of California’s webpage “Reducing Drought Risks in Rural Communities” has some great information on how drought disproportionately impacts small, rural communities that primarily rely on groundwater from small community or domestic wells and surface water sources and how you can engage your local elected officials on their water platform or ask if they have one.

For basic everyday water saving tips go to www.epa.gov/watersense/start-saving. They have simple tips such as fixing small leaks, washing full loads of laundry only, keeping showers to under five minutes and plugging up the sink or using a wash basin if washing dishes by hand. Every bit of water saving can make a difference.

Alongside water worries is the ever-present threat of wildfire. Junction City Volunteer Fire Department, USFS and Cal Fire have been quick to respond to any incidents, and so far, we have not had any noteworthy fires in our community. Let’s work together to keep it that way. Double-check clearance and slack on trailer chains, check on-road and off-road vehicles to make sure they are not throwing any sparks and are in proper working order before heading out on the roads. Learn now the difference between drift smoke and smoke columns and report any arcing power lines or outages immediately.

I want to remind everyone that Junction City Fire, Downriver Fire and Hawkins Bar Fire are always looking for volunteers. The stronger and better staffed our volunteer fire departments are, the stronger and more protected our communities become. Please consider volunteering today.

Planning for a celebration of life for Kathy Adams underway and is expected to take place at the North Fork Grange Hall in Junction City on Sept. 3. If you knew Kathy, then you can expect that this event will live up to her expectations and will truly be a celebration filled with laughter, love, music and friends. In lieu of flowers, Kathy’s family has asked that you donate to the Adams Family Scholarship through the North Fork Grange, benefiting students of Downriver and Junction City communities.

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