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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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The majority of Portland's water flows from the Bull Run watershed.

The Bull Run watershed is located around 26 miles east of downtown Portland.

The Bull Run watershed is separated from Mount Hood by a high ridge.

Water is captured from rain, snow and rains 130 inches a year.

Bull Run Lake

The lake was created 10,000 years ago by a landslide.

Cutthroat trout live in Bull Run Lake.

Fish populations are monitored by biologists from the U.S. Forest Service & the Portland Water Bureau.

The source of the Bull Run River.

Below Bull Run Lake, the flow goes subsurface before it bubbles up a quarter mile downhill.

Gaging stations throughout the watershed take measurements.

Eight gauging stations measure flow, temperature, and turbidity levels in Bull Run streams.

The Bull Run watershed is protected at federal, state, and local levels.

The Portland Water Bureau & U.S. Forest Service collaborate in watershed protection.

Falls Creek Falls

One of the most picturesque waterfalls in the Bull Run watershed.

More than 250 species of wildlife inhabit the Bull Run watershed.

It is common to see deer, quail, and even bear when visiting the watershed.

Logbooms at Reservoir 1 stop the logs and branches that wash down the river.

Logs could otherwise damage water supply infrastructure.

The reservoirs look very different in high summer during "drawdown."

Reservoirs are in drawdown when more water is going out than flowing in.

Does Dam 1 remind you of the Hoover Dam?

It's because they are both concrete gravity-arch dams. Dam 1 was constructed from 1925-1929.

Dam 1 is a triangle of solid concrete, except for a tunnel through the bottom.

It holds about 10 billion gallons of drinking water at peak.

Forward-thinking engineers built pipes for hydroelectric power in the 1929 dam.

50 years later, the City constructed a hydroelectric power generator.

Downriver, Reservoir 2 holds about seven billion gallons.

Two towers draw water for drinking water, hydroelectric power, and to the lower Bull Run River for fish.

Dam 2 was built from 1958-1962 & has an earthen clay center with rock sides.

Both dam's powerhouses produce an average 84,700,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) per year.

At Headworks, water is screened and treated with chlorine.

Water enters the pipes that serve Portland's 900,000 customers.

Commitment to fish restoration projects in the Sandy River basin.

The Portland Water Bureau restores fish habitat to comply with federal Endangered Species & Clean Water Acts.

From Forest to Faucet...

Portland delivers the best water in the world.