Neah-Kah-Nie gets temporary water reprieve from Rockaway Beach

Neah-Kah-Nie High School now has temporary limited water use access to the municipal water supply at Rockaway Beach until Oct. 1, according to the school district superintendent.

With a new water supply, the sprinklers at Neah-Kah-Nie High School have been irrigating the football field while the football team practices on the outfield of the softball field.
With a new water supply, the sprinklers at Neah-Kah-Nie High School have been irrigating the football field while the football team practices on the outfield of the softball field.

“The permit came through the City of Rockaway Beach. It is for municipal use. So we do have a temporary water permit,” Superintendent Paul Erlebach said Monday. “So, we are covered for this year.”

The temporary permit covers the external area used for athletics, the superintendent explained. “It is a limited water use license from the City of Rockaway Beach,” he said. “It is for the 51 gallons per minute and eight hours a day – for five days a week. It ends on Oct. 1.”

According to Erlebach, the arrangement covers the external area that students and local residents use for recreation.

“It doesn’t go for showers, toilets or anything like that at the school. It is so kids won’t get injured on that field – or community members when they are on that field. It can be rock-hard.”

The interior water needs are separate and the district pays its water bill to the City of Rockaway Beach for supplying the high school, the superintendent said.

The superintendent said he hopes the temporary water permit will carry the district through to when the state of Oregon’s Water Resource Department approves a long-term solution.

A week earlier, the football field was declared unsafe by high school officials. It prompted a last-minute move of the sports jamboree to Cloverdale Friday.

The reason for the move was for the safety of the athletes, the superintendent said a week ago.

“School officials said that the field was too hard and wouldn’t be safe (in its present condition). They felt there were safety concerns with the field in its present condition,” he said Tuesday.

Part of the problem was a water source that the school had been using for about 60 years could not be used, the superintendent said.

The school district still does not have a permit for accessing Spring Creek as a water source, but they have applied to the state for one.

“The long-term fix would be a permanent water right and that is what we are applying for now,” the superintendent said. That will be up to the state water resources agency, he added.

“The water that we access (from Spring Creek) just goes straight into the ocean now,” he said. “It doesn’t go to a lake or to any other stream. It just empties into the ocean. We get it after it comes out of the lake and goes to the ocean.

“It is a natural system where the water goes straight from the lake into the ocean. It goes to the ocean in like 75 yards,” he said.

That is the same source that the district has been using for more than 60 years, the superintendent added.






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