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Portland Water Bureau

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

GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404

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

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It's A Woman's World

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment

The Portland Water Bureau is celebrating Women’s History Month by recognizing the women on our staff who have made a mark on their chosen profession through hard work and talent. We share with you a series of stories about women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field who embody that achievement. We tip our hat to your achievements, and to all of the dedicated women who work to provide Portland with clean, safe and high-quality drinking water.

Holly Walla
Senior Engineer, Portland Water Bureau

What is your role at the Water Bureau?
I manage the Engineering Transmission Mains Program. I oversee six engineers and an engineering technician that designs distribution and transmission mains.  We have a variety of projects from contract packages, crew work and service and hydrant installs. We also work with Development Services and have many interagency projects. My group designs approximately 30,000 feet of main every year and works on approximately 200 services.

How long have you worked in this field?
I have worked at the Water Bureau for 8 years. Before that I worked at Bureau of Environmental Services for 17 years and designed storm water facilities and stream restoration projects.

Who has been your greatest professional inspiration?
I admire all the women that came before and paved the way. The Water Bureau has many amazing women engineers. It is a hard profession for women to be in and I know the women before me have made it easier for me. I hope I can do the same for the women after me. 

What advice would you offer to someone starting out in your field?
I was told in college that women shouldn’t be in engineering. In my first job, I was asked to answer the phones when the receptionist called in sick. I’ve made coffee, bought cards, gifts and was asked to decorate. The advice I’d give to someone starting out is to politely decline to answer the phones. I’d also tell them to get a variety of experiences early on.  Try out different fields. Work for a consultant. Work for government. It will all help you later in your career and give you more flexibility.

What does it mean to be a women in engineering?
Women in the engineering field are smart but they are also a tough and tenacious bunch. I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing men and women at the City of Portland. 

Powell Butte Reservoir Piping Flow Meter Testing Scheduled for the Week of March 28

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

During the week of March 28, 2016, the Portland Water Bureau will conduct a test of flow meters located in the underground reservoir piping at Powell Butte Nature Park in Southeast Portland. 

The half-day test will consist of Water Bureau operating engineers slowly draining approximately two-thousand gallons of de-chlorinated water from the reservoirs, to a discharge pipe, through the flow meters, and then into Johnson Creek.

The test will confirm the meters are accurately measuring water flowing through the pipe and can monitor future discharges.

Water Bureau representatives will be onsite at Powell Butte throughout the entire duration of the test to supervise the operation.

The flowrate, temperature, turbidity, and PH of all water discharged to Johnson Creek will be closely monitored to ensure compliance with all applicable environmental and regulatory requirements.

For questions about the operation, please contact Lindsay Wochnick, Public Information, at 503-823-3028 or by e-mail

It's a Woman's World

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment

The Portland Water Bureau is celebrating Women’s History Month by recognizing the women on our staff who have made a mark on their chosen profession through hard work and talent. We share with you a series of stories about women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field who embody that achievement. We tip our hat to your achievements, and to all of the dedicated women who work to provide Portland with clean, safe and high-quality drinking water.

Kavita Heyn
Climate Science & Sustainability Coordinator for the Portland Water Bureau

What is your role at the Water Bureau?
I’m the Water Bureau’s Climate Science & Sustainability Coordinator. In this role I use climate science and modeling to help inform long-term planning and decision making so the bureau is as resilient as possible in the future. I also work to help reduce the bureau’s environmental and carbon footprint, and improve efficiency in the process.

How long have you worked in this field?
I have worked in the environmental field for 16 years, and specifically on climate change for 10 years. Some of my research in the climate change field includes looking at how climate may impact future streamflows, snow and forest vegetation in Yosemite National Park, CA, and also how more frequent extreme storms could mobilize sewage and pathogen transport in Tijuana, Mexico. I also worked for American Rivers to implement climate resilient river restoration and conservation efforts for Northwest and California rivers, and with the Climate Trust to help reduce carbon emissions from agricultural practices.

What has been your greatest professional inspiration?
My personal passion for the outdoors and natural environment inspires me professionally to want to dedicate my career to a field that helps protect and secure that environment for the future.

What advice would you offer to someone starting out in your field?
Working on climate change can be both rewarding and extremely difficult. It’s a long term challenge that really forces people to think about a future in which they will not participate, and it can be hard to encourage people to act that far forward. If you’re starting out the in the field it’s so important to be committed to the issue, and recognize that this is a long game with both achievements and barriers along the way.

What does it mean to you to be a woman in your field?
We need more women in scientific and technical fields, and I greatly appreciate that I have a community of smart, cool women colleagues working on climate change who I can reach out to for advice and support. There’s room for more!

What else do you want to share about yourself and your work?
I’m always happy to talk about how the bureau is investing in preparing for climate change.

It's World Water Day - Let's Celebrate!

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment

World Water Day is observed on March 22 across the world to bring attention to the importance of clean water and a healthy environment.

This international observance is an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference. World Water Day dates back to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.

This year's theme, "Water and Jobs," highlights the power that water and jobs have to transform people’s lives.

World Water Days falls within Woman’s History Month. At the Portland Water Bureau, we are observing by sharing the stories of women of the Portland Water Bureau who have dedicated their careers to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields.

Please check back to the Water Blog all week to learn more about some of the talented and hard-working women who work to provide Portland with clean, safe and high-quality drinking water.

Photo credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

 

It's a Woman's World

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment

The Portland Water Bureau is celebrating Women’s History Month by recognizing the women on our staff who have made a mark on their chosen profession through hard work and talent. We share with you a series of stories about women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field who embody that achievement. We tip our hat to your achievements, and to all of the dedicated women who work to provide Portland with clean, safe and high-quality drinking water.

Kimberly Gupta
Senior Engineer, Portland Water Bureau

What is your role at the Water Bureau?
As a senior engineer, I lead the Water Quality Monitoring and Optimization Section in the Water Quality Group (Operations Division). My group's mission is to monitor and improve water quality throughout the distribution system.

How long have you worked in this field?
I have been in the drinking water industry for over 13 years.  After receiving my Master's in Civil Engineering, I worked at the East Bay Municipal Utility District, a large drinking water utility in California, for approximately 8 years.  I left EBMUD to come work for the Portland Water Bureau, where I have been for the past 5.5 years.

Who has been your greatest professional inspiration?
My parents. They instilled in me at a very young age a belief that I could do anything I put my mind to, and that even though I was a girl, I could love math and science. In terms of what initially inspired me to go into water, I remember right after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 thinking to myself that I wanted to clean up water when I grew up. That or be an astronaut. I ended up being afraid of heights so water it was!

What advice would you offer to someone starting out in your field?
Be respectful of others regardless of their position, and always be open to learning.

What does it mean to you to be a woman in your field?
When I was hired at my first job, I was one of two engineers who were women in our division (out of a group of about 30).  Later, when I was working on water projects in developing countries, the locals were always shocked that a woman (me) was leading a team of engineers.  These experiences just made me want to work harder to be seen as a great engineer, not just a great woman engineer.  My work is very important to me, so it means a great deal to me personally to be a woman in what was traditionally a male dominated field.       

What else do you want to share about yourself and your work?
I think that everyone should have access to clean drinking water, so over the years I have devoted quite a bit of my free time to water related projects. I volunteered for over 5 years with Engineers Without Borders, where I led teams that designed and built water supply, treatment, and distribution system projects in India and Fiji. Currently, I am the Vice-Chair of the National Inorganics Research Committee, and our work is devoted to education and furthering research in regards to inorganic compounds, such as metals, in drinking water. I am also quite passionate about voter education and issues related to women's rights, and I served on the Board of the League of Women Voters in San Francisco for over two years working on these specific issues. In my down time, I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family and two raucous dogs.