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Memorial Day closure

Most City of Portland offices will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.

Portland transitions to primary water source, the Bull Run Watershed

Press Release
Dam one in the Bull Run Watershed with fall colors
Our secondary groundwater source provided supplemental water supply after long, dry summer.
Published

Portland Water Bureau has returned to providing Bull Run water to Portlanders. It can take up to two weeks to receive 100 percent Bull Run water, depending on your location. Since August 24, the Portland Water Bureau has been supplementing the Bull Run supply by blending our secondary water source, groundwater from the Columbia South Shore Well Field with the Bull Run supply, to meet customers’ needs during the extended dry season.

Careful management of the groundwater system allowed us to provide clean, safe drinking water to the region despite this year’s dry spring and extended summer weather.  

“Continuing to provide clean and safe drinking water to the region during our more frequent dry summers requires extensive planning,” Portland Water Bureau Director Gabriel Solmer said.

The value of groundwater, our secondary water source, was also demonstrated as we responded to a wildfire in our watershed.

“The recent Camp Creek fire makes it clear that climate change and other unknown risks will increasingly threaten our water supply. When you pay your water bill, you’re investing in our community’s ability to face these challenges now and in the future.”

Water system investments matter  

Our ability to reliably provide clean, safe water for future generations depends on ongoing investments in our water system.  

Ratepayer funding makes it possible for the bureau to tap two sources of clean, reliable water to adapt to a changing environment. The Columbia South Shore Well Field would have been a valuable secondary resource if the recent Camp Creek Fire had impacted our ability to provide drinking water from the Bull Run source. The bureau is still monitoring for any potential contaminants and the water remains safe to drink.

Should we need to turn off our Bull Run supply for any reason, we’re well positioned to continue meeting our customers’ needs thanks to ratepayer investments. Portland Water is planning a new filtration facility and pipelines to keep our water safe and abundant for the nearly one million people who depend on it today and for future generations.

Thankful for the water experts who make it happen 

Supplying drinking water to nearly one million Oregonians requires a dedicated, highly skilled workforce. The Portland Water Bureau employs about 600 people. 

“When you turn on the tap and the water is safe and abundant, it’s easy to overlook the complex work that makes it happen,” said Kimberly Gupta, Director of Operations. “Certified operators, engineers, construction crews, customer service staff, scientists, lab techs—the list of specific expertise is long. These public servants work hard every day to continually protect our health and safety.” 

About the Portland Water Bureau

The Portland Water Bureau serves water to almost a million people in the Portland area. Portland’s water system includes two great water sources, 54 tanks and reservoirs, and 2,250 miles of pipes. With 600 employees working on everything from water treatment to customer service, the Water Bureau is committed to serving excellent water every minute of every day.