OWASA 2021 Recreation Season Dates and Guidelines

Update: Changes were made in April 2021 to allow for additional visitors and opportunities for 2021 lake recreation season.

Below was originally published on March 11, 2021

Orange Water and Sewer Authority will open Cane Creek Reservoir and University Lake for recreation under certain guidelines beginning on Saturday, March 27, 2021. The opening of recreation season at the reservoirs will follow the same regulations put in place during the 2020 season to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Both reservoirs will only be open to a reduced number of visitors via a reservation system, among other restrictions. In order to visit either reservoir, you will have to apply for an access permit ahead of time. Any visitors who arrive at the reservoir without a confirmed reservation will not be admitted.

To apply for a permit, fill out the form on the Recreation page of the OWASA website during the designated time each week (more information below). If more applications are submitted than slots are available, a random drawing will take place. OWASA staff will notify visitors in advance if they are selected for one of the available permits.

You may enter the drawing once each week. For opening weekend, March 27 and 28, submissions will be accepted on Monday and Tuesday, March 22 and 23. We will notify selected visitors of their lake reservation no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 24. If you receive a permit for either reservoir, the gates will only be open for your arrival between 6:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. No other entries will be permitted – even if you were granted a reservation. University Lake will be open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and Cane Creek Reservoir will be open on Friday and Saturday during the 2021 recreation season. Permit applications will be accepted Monday and Tuesday each week.

If you are selected for one of the available boating slots, you are allowed to bring one (1) visitor; the visitor can either be in the permit-holder’s boat or bring their own boat. Slots for fishing from the bank/pier or any other shore activity will not be allowed a visitor.

If we are able to adjust any of these guidelines throughout the recreation season, we will update the Recreation page of our website.

OWASA will not be renting equipment (i.e. boats, motors, PFDs, etc.) to visitors at this time. Boaters must supply all of their own equipment, and OWASA staff will continue to inspect equipment before allowing it to be used on the lakes. The rental policy could be updated as the season progresses, as conditions change.

In addition to our existing rules and regulations concerning use of our facilities, all visitors will be required to follow COVID-19-specific guidance posted at each reservoir and the directions of OWASA staff. The recreational offices will remain closed to the public. Restroom facilities will be open to the public. Hand sanitizer stations will be set up at various locations at each reservoir.

Social distancing guidelines will be enforced in locations as needed throughout each site, including but not limited to boat launch locations and fishing from either piers or banks. State and local guidelines still require the wearing of face coverings in instances when social distancing cannot be maintained.

We thank you for following OWASA’s guidelines aimed at protecting water quality and the health of OWASA staff and visitors to our reservoirs. OWASA reserves the right to alter these policies as new information is available regarding the spread of COVID-19.