One of the most essential gifts planet Earth provides is water. Here in Portland, our primary water supply is the Bull Run Watershed. The water flows the thirty miles to Portland by gravity and is distributed to our homes through a network of pipes, tanks, and storage reservoirs. We also have a secondary groundwater supply called the Columbia South Shore Well Field, which can provide water during summer months or in emergencies.
In appreciating our Earth, we also must recognize new challenges. Climate change poses new and increasing risks to our water supplies. Lower summer stream flows, increased water temperatures, and greater risks from wildfire, flooding, and landslides are all possible threats to our water system.
How can we protect our water supply? An essential first step is water conservation. Using less water at home will help ensure that our supplies can last through dryer seasons. You can learn more about how to save water at home, use less water outdoors, and how to check your home for water leaks. Saving water is helpful for the whole water system—and it’ll help you save money, too!
How we’re planning for the future
The Portland Water Bureau also practices climate resilience planning to prepare for risks and ensure that water supplies endure, even in a hotter climate. Some of our climate change planning work includes:
Addressing climate inequities within our own workforce
Free water-saving devices
In honor of Earth Day this year, we’d love to help you celebrate by saving water by sending you free water-saving devices, or helping you with a rebate for low-flow toilets, and efficient irrigation systems.