OWASA Announces Guidelines for Opening 2020 Lake Recreation Season


Orange Water and Sewer Authority will open Cane Creek Reservoir and University Lake for recreation on a limited basis beginning on Friday, May 29, 2020. The opening of recreation season at the reservoirs was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

OWASA staff have been working to develop safety precautions to allow for the limited opening of the reservoirs, but there will be changes from the standard season that will be enforced to protect public health and mitigate the spread of the virus.

Both reservoirs will 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 register ahead of time. Any visitors who arrive at the reservoir without a reservation will not be admitted.

All lake-use fees will be waived for the initial opening of the reservoirs. Payment information will be updated on the OWASA website as adjustments are made.

To apply for a reservation, fill out the form on the Recreation page of the OWASA website during the designated time (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 slots.

If you are selected for one of the available boating slots, you are allowed to bring one (1) visitor. Bank and pier fishing slots will not be allowed a visitor.

You may enter the drawing once each week. For opening weekend, May 29-31, submissions will be accepted on Wednesday, May 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We will notify selected visitors of their lake reservation no later than 5 p.m. Thursday, May 28.

Please note that this is a new process for us, and we may adjust the process as we move forward. The latest reservation process and guidelines will be available on the OWASA website on a weekly basis.

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, depending on guidance from health officials.

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. Visitors are encouraged to wear 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.