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Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.


1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

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Protect Your Home's Plumbing this Winter

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Rain, ice and snow can play havoc with water pipes. Below are tips for protecting your home’s plumbing this winter:


  • Caulk around pipes where they enter the home.
  • Close all foundation vents and fill vent openings with wood or StyrofoamTM blocks.
  • Wrap outside faucets or hose bibs with insulation if you don’t have a separate outside valve to turn them off. Use molded foam-insulating covers which are available at hardware stores. Newspaper or rags (covered with plastic wrap) are another option. 
  • Disconnect garden hoses and drain in-ground irrigation systems.


  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as attics, crawl spaces and basements.
  • When below-freezing weather is forecast, open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms. This allows these pipes to get more heat from inside your home.
  • If you leave home for several days, put your furnace on a low setting. This may not prevent freezing pipes but it can help.
  • Let a slight drip of water run when temperatures dip below freezing. Use cold water to avoid water heating charges.


  • Thaw plumbing lines safely with a hair dryer or heat lamp. Once the pipe has thawed, make sure to leave a little water running so the pipe doesn’t freeze again.
  • Do not open the water meter box near the curb. It could increase the chance of freezing water at the meter.


  • Close your main water shut-off valve to your house. Most shutoff valves are located where the water line enters the house, either at the front of your house where you connect your hose, or basement near the hot water heater, or inside the garage.
  • Turn off the water heater. Locate the dedicated shut-off valve on the cold water inlet.
  • Remember, the repair of broken pipes on the customer’s side of the meter is the customer’s responsibility. Contact a plumber for repair work.

The Water Bureau reminds customers that the best way to handle any sort of water emergency in your home including broken pipes is to be prepared before it happens. Taking a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the plumbing system in your home and note the location of all shut off valves are important steps in preventing a plumbing emergency from turning into a disaster. 

Customers that experience urgent water problems should call the Portland Water Bureau’s 24/7 emergency hotline at 503-823-4874.

Join Our Team: Environmental Technician II

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

If you're interested in joining an award-winning public utility where employees thrive on the pride of delivering a life-essential product with world class customer service, the Portland Water Bureau might be just the place for you.

The Water Bureau is a recognized leader in the utility industry. We've achieved this success by investing in the very best people and empowering them to find new and better ways to meet our customer's needs.

The Water Bureau currently employs approximately 560 people. All current job postings with the City of Portland are posted online, and updated weekly. We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Current Opportunity at the Water Bureau

Position Emp. Type Salary Closing Date
Environmental Technician II  Full Time  $26.64 - $33.99 Hourly Tue. 12/08/15 4:30 PM Pacific Time

Learn More about the Water Bureau 

For more information on jobs at the Water Bureau, contact the Water Administrative Manager at 503-823-1956 or by e-mail

December Water Quality Trivia

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Which of the following actions will help you maintain high quality drinking water inside your own home? 

  • Clean faucet screens (aerators) a few times per year at kitchen and bathroom faucets.
  • Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water faucet.  Use cold water and heat the water as needed.
  • If a faucet has not been used for several hours, run the cold water for 30 seconds to two (2) minutes before using it for drinking or cooking.
  • Install a backflow device on your irrigation system to prevent backflow contamination to your potable water supply.

All of the above.

Ensuring the delivery of high quality water is a shared responsibility between the Portland Water Bureau and our customers. The Water Bureau monitors and maintains the drinking water system up to and including the water meter. Beyond the water meter into the house is the responsibility of the customer.

Water Quality Questions or Concerns
Contact the Portland Water Bureau’s Water Line at 503-823-7525.

Thankful for a Safe & Sustainable Water Supply

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

In November, many of us have much to be thankful for - friends, family, and health.

There’s one more thing you might want to add to that list - water.

The simple fact is that water is a vital part of every Thanksgiving celebration.

So how do you save water during such a hectic, family-filled time? Easy. Integrate water-wise behavior into your daily life well beforehand. That way, when the big day comes, you’ll be well versed in knowing water-saving tricks.

Here’s a few to get you started:

  • Tip 1: Brush food scraps into the garbage can instead of rinsing them into the sink’s garbage disposal.
  • Tip 2: Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator the night before they’re needed, instead of running hot water over them on the same day.
  • Tip 3: Rinse vegetables and fruits in a sink or pan filled with water instead of running them under water. As a bonus, you can use this water on houseplants.
  • Tip 4: If you wash dishes by hand, rinse them in a sink partially filled with clean water instead of under running water.

There you have it — the perfect “recipe” for having a water-wise Thanksgiving. Enjoy and give a little thanks for water.

For more water efficiency tips, visit

Refilling Portland's Water Supplies

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Usable storage in the Bull Run ReservoirsWhat a difference one weekend can make!

On October 30, the first strong storm of the season rolled into the Pacific Northwest. Streets flooded, drains were clogged with debris, and gutters overflowed in the Portland metro area after nearly two inches of rain fell over a stretch of six hours.

In the Bull Run Watershed, the rain gauges registered between 4.5 and 10 inches of rain over the Halloween weekend.

These significant rains began quickly refilling Reservoir 1 and Reservoir 2, capable when full of holding a combined 16.8 billion gallons of water.

By November 3, the two reservoirs were nearly full, allowing the Portland Water Bureau to switch from using a groundwater/Bull Run water blend to 100 percent Bull Run water. Groundwater had been used for supply augmentation purposes since July 16 due to a long and dry season.

The bountiful rain in the Bull Run Watershed also ended the Water Bureau’s longest reservoir “drawdown” on record. Drawdown is the period of time during the spring/summer and early fall where more water leaves the reservoirs than enters. Bull Run reservoirs started drawing down on May 18, about six weeks earlier than the historic average.

The expected wet season weather is expected to keep the Bull Run reservoirs at or near capacity until late spring or early summer 2016.