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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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July is Smart Irrigation Month

It has been a hot and dry June here in Portland, and July looks like more of the same weather. Water supplies are still looking good, and while we don’t anticipate a need for watering restrictions, it is important to use water wisely. The Irrigation Association has named July Smart Irrigation Month, and offers the following advice for smart irrigation practices:

  • If you have an in-ground irrigation system it is important to regularly inspect the system for leaks, broken or mis-aligned sprinkler heads. Irrigation systems are often scheduled to run in the early morning hours, which may mean problems are not seen. If you are in need of professional assistance with your irrigation system, contact a certified irrigation contractor for assistance.
  • Consider upgrading your old irrigation controller to a new “smart” irrigation controller to tie your irrigation practices directly to seasonal weather conditions. The Portland Water Bureau offers rebates for smart controllers.
  • If you water your landscape with a hand-held hose, use a device with an automatic shutoff nozzle. If you need one, we would be happy to send you one! Call 503-823-4527.

A well-designed and well-maintained irrigation system will use water efficiently while creating a healthy landscape for years to come. For additional ways to make every drop count in your landscape, visit:

Proposed Washington Park Reservoir Project Type IV Land Use Review Application: City Council Unanimously Approves Application

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On June 25, 2015, the Mayor and Portland City Council unanimously approved the Portland Water Bureau’s Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project Type IV Land Use Review (LUR) application.

The approved Type IV LUR application proposed the removal of the Weir Building (screen house), portions of lower Reservoir 4’s basin, and upper Reservoir 3’s basin in Washington Park. The gatehouses, dams, and other historic features will be protected and restored.

Proposed Project

Reservoir 3 from the Grand Stairway: Existing Upper Reflecting Pool from the Grand Stairway: Proposed
Reservoir 3 from the Grand Stairway: Existing (left)
Upper Reflecting Pool from the Grand Stairway: Proposed (right)

Reservoir 3 with Gate House 3: Existing Upper Reflecting Pool at Gate House 3: Proposed
Reservoir 3 with Gate House 3: Existing (left)
Upper Reflecting Pool at Gate House 3: Proposed (right)

The Type IV LUR application is part of the Water Bureau’s Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project, proposing to build a new below-ground reservoir in the same general footprint as the existing upper Reservoir 3, with a reflecting pool on top.

 Reservoir 4 View from Dam 3: Existing Lower Reflecting Pool View from Dam 3: Proposed
Reservoir 4 View from Dam 3: Existing (left)
Lower Reflecting Pool View from Dam 3: Proposed (right)

Reservoir 4 View from Above at Sherwood Blvd: Existing Lower Reflecting Pool View from Sherwood Blvd: Proposed
Reservoir 4 View from Above at Sherwood Blvd: Existing (left)
Lower Reflecting Pool View from Sherwood Blvd: Proposed (right)

The lower Reservoir 4 will be disconnected from the public drinking water system and a lowland habitat area/bioswale and a reflecting pool will be constructed in the basin. Much of the Reservoir 4 basin and the slope to the west are needed to provide landslide abatement; the slope will be restored to its pre-reservoir condition.

The new below-ground reservoir in the place of Reservoir 3 will be constructed so that it is outside of the moving edge of the landslide, which will help protect it from damage.

The project addresses major reservoir issues, including recurrent landslide damage, compliance with federal law, seismic vulnerability, and deterioration of the 120-year-old structures.


  • In December 2014, the Water Bureau submitted the first (Type IV) of three LUR applications to the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services (BDS) for the proposed Washington Park Reservoir Project.
  • On February 9, 2015, BDS deemed the Type IV LUR application complete, issued a Request for Response, and officially opened the public comment period and set the dates for the Historic Landmarks Commission meeting and the first City Council Hearing.
  • On March 30, 2015, a public meeting was held before the Historic Landmarks Commission to review the Type IV LUR application. During the public meeting, BDS presented the Staff Report and Recommendation, the Water Bureau discussed the project, and members of the public offered testimony. The Commission voted 3 to 1 in support of the initial LUR application and forwarded their recommendation to the City Council.
  • On April 23, 2015, the first of three City Council hearings was held. During the hearing, members of the public had the opportunity to offer testimony. At the hearing’s conclusion, the City Council agreed to allow the record to remain open through May 7.
  • On May 13, 2015, City Council held a second hearing for the purpose of deliberations on the application. The record had previously been closed, and no testimony was accepted. After deliberating, Mayor Charlie Hales and the City Council gave unanimous tentative approval to the Type IV LUR application.  
  • On June 25, 2015, at a final hearing, the Mayor and Portland City Council unanimously approved the Type IV LUR application. Members of the public were welcome to attend. However, no public testimony was heard as the public comment and testimony period closed on May 7, 2015. Opportunity for public input included the Historic Landmarks Commission meeting in March 2015 and the City Council hearing in April 2015.

Next Steps - Type III LUR Application Package
In spring 2015, the Water Bureau will submit a second LUR application package that includes two Type III applications:

The LUR package will propose the construction of a new covered reservoir, reflecting pools, lowland habitat area/bioswale, walkways, and historic preservation and rehabilitation actions. The second LUR application process will also include public comment periods and public hearings to ensure public notification and the opportunity to comment before a final land use decision is rendered.

Before work permits are issued or any construction begins, the Type III LUR application package must be approved.

The LUR applications are a result of a robust public involvement process that included multiple public open houses, nine Community Sounding Board meetings that guided design for the required visible features of a new reservoir in Washington Park, five public meetings before the Historic Landmarks Commission, and three City Council hearings.

Additional Information & Contacts
For detailed project information, visit the project webpage or contact Water Bureau Public Information staff at 503-823-3028 or by e-mail. Visit the Bureau of Development Services’ website or call 503-823-7300 for more information on the land use review application process.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Customer Service Call-Center and Walk-In Center Closed Friday, July 3

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The Portland Water Bureau's Customer Service Call-Center and Walk-In Center will be closed on Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day.  

The Customer Service Call Center and the Walk-In Center, located on the first floor of the Portland Building at 1120 SW 5th Avenue, will reopen on Monday, July 6 at 8 a.m.

For your convenience you may pay your bill online, or pay by Visa or MasterCard by calling our automated payment system at 503-823-7770 and pressing 1. You may also leave a payment in the night box located outside the front door at 1120 SW 5th Avenue Portland, OR 97204.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Customer Service

Our Water Supply

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Bull Run WatershedThis past weekend saw temperatures in Portland reach over 90 degrees with forecasts predicting the heat wave to continue throughout the week.

As Portlanders sip on their glasses of ice water to deal with the heat, you might have questions about our water supply and whether we have enough.

Portland is not experiencing a water supply shortage, nor do we expect to this summer.

Portland’s primary water source, the Bull Run watershed, gets most of its water from rain, not snow.

The Bull Run gets approximately 135 inches of rain each year, about three to four times more rain than we get here in town. Thanks to good planning, the Portland area has another high-quality water source in the Columbia South Shore Well Field. Both the Bull Run and Columbia South Shore Well Field meet or surpass federal standards for safe drinking water. Portland’s groundwater source can be used in addition to the Bull Run supply during dry periods.

The Portland Water Bureau will continue to carefully monitor water levels, weather forecasts, and water use patterns to ensure clean water for our customers. We will continue to update our customers throughout the summer about water supply.

Jaymee Cuti
Public Information

NEWS RELEASE 06/29/15: Portland Water Bureau Returns to 100 Percent Bull Run Water

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The Portland Water Bureau returned to 100 percent Bull Run water today, June 29, after blending a small portion of water from its Columbia South Shore Well Field into the water distribution system.

The Water Bureau began blending groundwater with Bull Run water on June 11 so scheduled work could be completed to strengthen interties on its largest conduit. This work was completed ahead of schedule, allowing the Water Bureau to return to 100 percent Bull Run sooner than anticipated. While this work occurred, the bureau also took the opportunity to perform its annual maintenance operation of the groundwater system. By routinely doing this operation, the bureau ensures the reliability of the system when needed, either in an emergency or to meet seasonal supply demands.

Due to careful planning, Portland is fortunate to have access to two excellent water sources that allow the City to be prepared to meet the range of supply and demand conditions that could occur this summer. Both the Bull Run and Columbia South Shore Well Field are high-quality water sources that meet or surpass all federal and state drinking water regulations.

It will take one to eight days, depending on location, for 100 percent Bull Run water to move through the distribution system and reach customers.

While public notification is not required, the Water Bureau informs the media and sensitive users, as a practice, when it activates and discontinues use of groundwater.

To learn more about the Columbia South Shore Well Field, visit Customers with water quality questions are encouraged to contact the Water Line at 503-823-7525.