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Water district reflects on history as it fills capsule to be opened in another 50 years.

DESIREE BERGSTROM/MADRAS PIONEER - Deschutes Valley Water District employees Aaron Anderson (left) and Drew Carpenter lower a 50-year time capsule on April 22, scheduled to be opened in 2069. The capsule was put together to commemorate the 100th anniversary on Feb. 11, 2019. 
A standard piece of white water pipe with the letters "DVWD" etched in the side followed by, "open in 2069" was placed in a hole next to the Deschutes Valley Water District office and covered with sand on April 22.

Capped on each side and packed full of things important to the company's 100-year history in Jefferson County — including a water meter, photos from throughout the years and an anniversary card written for the openers in 2069 — the capsule was designed to mark the centennial of the district in a tangible way.

DESIREE BERGSTROM/MADRAS PIONEER - DVWD staffers gather for the time capsule event.
"This is a good landmark moment to look back on the past 100 years of change and expansion of our district, and in 50 years, we hope there will be another landmark moment, opening this time capsule, and reflecting on the last 50 years," said Ed Pugh, general manager of the district.

The actual 100-year anniversary of the district was on Feb. 11, 2019, but the ground was too cold and hard to try and dig then, so they waited until spring.

The Deschutes Valley Water District time capsule idea was prompted when the staff was trying to decide how to celebrate their centennial and Dawn Claus, DVWD cartographer, was asked to brainstorm some ideas, one of which was a time capsule.

Inside, along with the meter, photos, and card are newspapers from 2019, maps, water bills, information about Opal springs and even eclipse memorabilia from 2017. Claus said far more stuff than could be named was placed into the white capsule.

Formed as a district in 1919, out of Jefferson Water Co., Deschutes Valley Water District is the only operation that pumps water out of Opal Springs. Even Earth2O, the water bottling company in Culver, is a customer of Deschutes Valley Water and pays their bill each month.

The water in the spring, like the district, has remained constant over the years. The first temperature reading of the water by the district was taken in 1925, reading 53.8 degrees; it has never changed.

The water is unique in another way as well, according to Claus, "All water you drink that has been above ground has trace radiation from all the nuclear testing. Ours does not, meaning that it has been in the aquifer since before the '40s," she said.

The district is now looking to the future, going as far as having the younger guys on the crew help bury the capsule since, as Pugh put it, they might be around in 50 years when it's time to dig it up.

In preparation for that day in 2069, Claus took measurements from specific markers to the capsule site that are hopefully permanent enough they will withstand changes to the district's facilities over time.

She said she used the main office building as one of her starting points and also the fire hydrant near where the capsule was buried so that they can find the capsule when the time comes. A small concrete slab will also be poured over the site to make it more conspicuous.

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