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The City of Portland, Oregon

Nick Fish (In Memoriam)

City of Portland Commissioner

phone: 503-823-3589


1221 S.W. 4th, Room 240, Portland, OR 97204


October 23, 2014

Due to our sunny, extended summer, Portland’s water supply experienced a ‘drawdown’ in the Bull Run Watershed in mid-October.

While it sounds like slang from the Wild West, drawdown occurs when the city draws more water from our reservoirs than streams carry into them.  This is common in the warm, summer months – before the fall rain returns. Water Bureau staff took some impressive photos of the October drawdown.

To ensure we have a reliable supply of high-quality water throughout the year, Portland has an emergency back-up supply at the Columbia South Shore Well Field. The well field was developed in the 1980s, and produces millions of gallons of groundwater. When needed, well field water is blended in with the Bull Run reservoirs’ water to supply Portlanders.

Portland is fortunate to have some of the best drinking water in the world, thanks to our Bull Run Watershed. Among the Bull Run Lake and our two reservoirs, the watershed holds nearly 14 billion gallons of usable water, and serves nearly a quarter of our state’s population.

Visit the Portland Water Bureau’s website for more information.