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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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Three Easy Tips for Water Efficiency this Holiday Season

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

The holiday season can be a blur of activities from holiday parties to having friends and family come to visit. It can also mean an increase in household water use. Here are three ways to help you prepare your home for the festivities while also ensuring efficient water use this holiday season:  

  1. Deck more than the halls by making sure your kitchen and bathroom faucets are decked out with water-efficient aerators. Replacing older aerators (the screw-on tip of a faucet) with new water-efficient ones can be one of the most cost-effective water conservation measures your household can do.
  2. Your toilet may be quiet as a mouse, but are you sure it isn't leaking? Leaky toilets often make themselves known because there is a sound of running water or a faint hissing or trickling. But many times, water flows through the tank silently, which is why these leaks are often overlooked. Here's how to check your toilet for leaks before it gets its holiday workout.
  3. Replacing your old shower head with a new high efficiency one will save you water. In fact, the average household could save 2,900 gallons per year by installing WaterSense showerheads.  

Get free water-saving tools like aerators, showerheads, and toilet leak detection tablets from the Portland Water Bureau Efficiency Program. Or visit for more water saving tips to get you through the holidays.

Team Water Bureau Commutes More Than 7,833 Miles during Bike Challenge

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment



In September 2015, Portland Water Bureau employees joined in a friendly workplace Bike Commute Challenge (BCC). During the month, more than 10,770 riders pedaled more than 1.2 million miles to and from their place of work during the BCC, organized by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. 

I commute by bike because…
“…I sit at a desk all day, I see raccoons in the morning, I pass people sitting in cars in the afternoon, I get my exercise this way, and I'm addicted to bicycling!"
Jeff, Senior Engineer

“…It’s a great way to get around downtown, and it sure beats waiting for the bus.”
Patrick, Senior Engineer

“…I feel energized and it allows me to clear my mind by focusing on the moment and that makes me ready to take on the daily tasks of my job.”
Eric, Senior Management Analyst

“…There are no traffic headaches, I get some enjoyable views of the River and the City, I can park right where I work, I get two workouts a day, FREE parking, I never have to share my seat with a stranger, it takes just as long to ride my bike as it does to catch the bus, I saves on gas and emissions, and no one around me is annoyed when I sing on my ride!”
Leigh, Electrical Engineer

…I want to set an example for my kids that we do not have to rely on a car and it feels good!”
Bryan, Mechanical Engineer

“…I enjoy experiencing the seasons: hot, cold, wet, and beautiful.”
Patrick, Engineering Technician II

Bike Helmets Tipped
Water Bureau employees racked up impressive commuting stats during the September BCC! 

  • 52 active Water Bureau riders made 725 trip commutes, riding a total of 7,833.7 miles.

  • For public agencies with more than 500 employees, the Water Bureau took 5th place out of 56 agencies for commute percentage rate, beating the Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon Department of Transportation, Portland Police Bureau, TriMet, City of Portland Office of Management and Finance, and the Port of Portland.

  • 21 dedicated Water Bureau employees commuted round-trip 100 percent of the time.

A big round of applause for all of the dedicated riders who participated in the September BCC!

TRAFFIC ADVISORY 12/10/15: Night Work to be Performed at Intersection of E. Burnside Street and SE 82nd Avenue - Traffic Detours in Place

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

The Portland Water Bureau will be conducting night work at the intersection of East Burnside Street and Southeast 82nd Avenue on Thursday, December 10, from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. and again from Tuesday, December 15, through Thursday, December 17.

Local residents can expect construction noise during these hours. Traffic controls will be in place detouring traffic around the construction site:

E. Burnside traveling Westbound:
* Westbound traffic will be detoured south to SE Stark Street via SE 99thAvenue and then back to Burnside via SE 82nd Avenue.

E. Burnside traveling Eastbound:
* Eastbound traffic will be detoured north to NE Glisan Street via NE 82nd Avenue.
* Secondary Detour (for traffic wanting to turn onto E Burnside from SE 82nd Avenue)

SE 82nd Avenue traveling Northbound wanting to go east on E Burnside:
* Follow the eastbound Burnside detour up to Glisan Street.

SE 82nd Avenue traveling Southbound wanting to go east on E Burnside:
* Southbound detour shall direct traffic to turn right onto SE Stark Street, then three subsequent lefts onto SE 81st Avenue, SE Washington Street, and finally SE 99th Avenue.

Portland Water Bureau crews will install water mains and relocate one hydrant over the next week. The work is required to be performed in advance of an Oregon Department of Transportation street improvement project. Some of the work is required to take place overnight in order to decrease traffic impacts.

Tribute to a Visionary Engineer with a Portlandia Spin

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Colonel Isaac Smith created with beer & coffeeAmerican artist Karen Eland has become quite famous for creating pictures with beer and coffee instead of paint.

Using this medium, Karen delicately painted and donated to the Portland Water Bureau an original portrait of the "Father" of Portland Oregon's water system, Colonel Isaac Smith. 

A Peek at the Past: Colonel Isaac Smith
From 1885 to 1897, Smith served as the Chief Engineer of the Portland Water Bureau. In January 1886, at the request of the Portland Water Committee, Isaac Smith led a survey to discover a new water source for Portland. He designed and supervised the building of 24 miles of pipelines from the newly surveyed Bull Run Reservoir to Portland, construction of the Mt. Tabor and Washington Park reservoirs, and the upgrades to the city's mains and distribution pipes.

Survey Says

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

On November 5, 2015, City of Portland Auditor Mary Hull Caballero released the 2015 Community Survey.

The survey reports results from the City Auditor’s annual survey of Portlanders, conducted to gather public perceptions of City services. The report, which marks the 25th year the survey has been conducted, includes survey details specific to each of Portland’s seven neighborhood areas and citywide data. It compares current survey responses with results from 2011 to show five-year trends.

Below are survey findings related to the Portland Water Bureau:

  • 72 percent of residents rated water services as “good” or “very good” – a slight increase from the 2011 survey (71 percent).
  • The Water Bureau ranked fifth highest out of 11 core city services ratings.
  • Of the 3,268 survey responses, 87 percent rated the tap water provided by the City as Very Good or Good.


 Access the entire 2015 Community Survey online.