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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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Spring Forward to Water Efficiency

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Spring is the perfect time to get your garden prepared for the dry summer months. 

Consider these tips from the Portland Water Bureau for improving your water efficiency this year.  

Magic of Mulch
Add two (2) inches of mulch to your garden beds to help retain moisture in the soil, suppress weeds, and encourage strong root systems. Some of the best mulches are composted yard debris and other organic materials. Learn more here.

Hardy Fushia                              Western Columbine 
Left to right: Hardy Fushia, Western Columbine, Lavender

Water Efficient Plants for the Willamette ValleyRight Plant, Right Place
Shopping for plants in the spring is a gardener’s joy. With so many beautiful choices, it can be overwhelming. One of the central tenets of water-wise landscaping is choosing the right plant for the right place. To help choose the right plants for your yard such as the examples above, request a copy of the excellent plant guide, Water Efficient Plants for the Willamette Valley. Call 503-823-4527 or e-mail

Planting and Maintaining Your Lawn
Nearly 30 percent of the water used in a single-family residence is used in the summer to water lawns. As a result, the Portland metropolitan area can use two to three times as much water in the summer months than in the winter months. Learn how to properly install and maintain your lawn, and keep it green and healthy with the appropriate amount of resources — fertilizer, water, and your time.

Irrigation Planning
How you choose to irrigate depends on your budget, the type of plants you have, and size of your landscape. Regardless of what you use to irrigate - a hose, drip, or automatic irrigation system - there are several best practices that are important to follow. The Water Bureau offers rebates for automatic irrigation system upgrades.

Sarah Murphy Santner
Water Conservation

Lead Hazard Reduction Grant Opportunity for Community Organizations in Portland

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Community organizations and governmental agencies that conduct lead hazard reduction education and outreach services in the Portland-area are encouraged to apply for a 2015-16 Portland Water Bureau Lead Hazard Reduction Program grant. 

Click here for tips to reduce lead in drinking waterExposure to lead is a major hazard to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children, and even low levels of lead can cause permanent brain and kidney damage.

The bad news is that lead poisoning can and does happen in the Portland-area. In a study of older homes in North, Northeast and Southeast Portland, 71% had composite lead dust levels that exceed federal standards.

The good news is that exposure to lead is entirely preventable.   

In Portland, the most common source of lead exposure is not from lead in water but from lead-based paint. The Water Bureau’s unique and award-winning Lead Hazard Reduction Program, developed in coordination with state and local public health agencies to comply with the federal Lead and Copper Rule, focuses on all hazards posed by lead, while targeting those most at-risk. The program currently provides resources for hazard reduction in homes, free blood lead testing, and community education and outreach regarding lead hazards.

If your organization has identified a need for lead hazard reduction in your community and have ideas for addressing that need, please consider submitting an application. For projects or programs that are applying to the program for the first time, applications are due to the Lead Hazard Reduction Program by Wednesday, April 29 at 5 p.m.  If you have any questions, please contact the Lead Hazard Reduction Program at 503-823-1547.

The application is available online

Sarah Messier
Water Quality

Geotechnical Testing In Washington Park Scheduled for April

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During the week of April 20, the Portland Water Bureau will conduct geotechnical testing in Washington Park.

The testing will involve a crew using equipment to drill geotechnical test anchors along SW Sacajawea Blvd. on the east side of Reservoir 3 and along the promenade on the north side of the reservoir. The testing is scheduled to be completed by mid-May.

This work is supporting the design for the Water Bureau’s proposed Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project to build a new below-ground reservoir in the same general footprint as the existing upper Reservoir 3, with a reflecting pool on top. The lower Reservoir 4 will be disconnected from the public drinking water system. A lowland habitat area/bioswale and a reflecting pool are also proposed in the Reservoir 4 basin.


Roads around the work site, including SW Sacajawea Blvd., will remain open with intermittent flagging during setup over the drill locations.  The sidewalk along SW Sacajawea Blvd. will be closed for public safety.  

TriMet bus stop ID 6177 (SW Sacajawea Blvd. and SW Sherwood Blvd.) on Line 63 will be closed from April 20 to May 4.

Park users, including motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, are urged to use alternate routes, remember to drive slowly, and exercise caution when traveling in the construction area.

The geotechnical testing will assist Water Bureau engineers in:

  • Evaluating soil properties and behaviors.
  • Understanding how soils will perform under certain conditions and how it may impact the proposed construction of the new below-ground reservoir.
  • Evaluating, mitigating, and minimizing potential risks associated with issues such as settlement, load-bearing capacity, slope instability, and water infiltration.

For more information about the proposed Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project, contact Lindsay Wochnick, Water Bureau Senior Community Outreach & Information Representative, at 503-823-3028 or visit

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as the Portland Water Bureau works to improve the city’s century-old water system.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Bull Run Working Group Meeting Scheduled

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The public is invited to attend the Portland Water Bureau and Mt. Hood National Forest Bull Run working group meeting on Wednesday April 22, 2015, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM in the in the Bull Run conference room on the 5th floor of the Portland Building at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in Portland.

Under the terms of a 20-year agreement between the Portland Water Bureau and the Mt.HoodNational Forest, staff engaged in the management of the Bull Run watershed, Portland’s primary drinking water source, will meet semi-annually each year. The purpose of these meetings is to review work plans, budgets and staff assignments; and communicate accomplishments and issues addressed during the course of management activities. An annual report is presented at the spring meetings.

For more information about the 20-year stewardship agreement between the Portland Water Bureau and the Mt. Hood National Forest, please go to the Bull Run Watershed website or

‘Cozy Up’ to a Pot of Tea in Honor of the Benson Bubblers

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For the past six years, the City of Portland has played host to the Rose City Yarn Crawl, inviting local knitters, crocheters, spinners, and felters to explore the many yarn shops in and around Portland. 

During the crawl, each yarn shop offers featured patterns. This year, shops designed patterns highlighting some of the Portland area’s memorable landmarks and destinations.

Photo courtesy of the Rose City Yarn Crawl Photo courtesy of the Rose City Yarn Crawl

One of the patterns introduced during the yarn crawl was a crocheted “Benson Bubbler Teapot Cozy” by Tinaka Schwendiman.

Photo courtesy of the Rose City Yarn Crawl

This imaginative pattern includes a fountain body, bowls, water, and spouts, and is 20” in circumference at its widest point and 5” tall.

All patterns presented at this year’s crawl, including the “Benson Bubbler Teapot Cozy,” are available for download individually or as part of the 2015 eBook, “Postcards from Portland.”