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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

Imagine a Day Without Water

September 15, 2016

Imagine a Day Without Water – No water to drink, shower, or make Portland’s famous Stumptown coffee!

It’s easy to take for granted the pristine water that comes out when we turn on a faucet. That hasn’t always been the case and still isn’t in some parts of the country. But here in Portland, we are fortunate to have some of the best water in the world in the shadow of Mt. Hood.

The Bull Run Watershed and the system that carries it to your faucet are the envy of the nation. The Portland Water Bureau delivers clean, safe and reliable water to almost 1 million people every day. That’s about a quarter of the state! And the system that delivers that water to your home is a feat of modern engineering.

The 102 square-mile Bull Run Watershed is heavily protected by federal, state, and local law. The watershed collects water from rain and snowmelt that then flows to the Bull Run River and its tributaries. The river drains into two reservoirs, where more than 17 billion gallons are stored. The Water Bureau treats the water before it enters three conduits and travels through the system by gravity, requiring no fossil fuel consumption and minimizing costs. In fact, our customers pay about half a penny per gallon.

Our customers also receive water from the Columbia South Shore Well Field. The well field is a series of 26 water supply wells that is used as our backup source, when we draw down the water levels in our Bull Run reservoirs. It can provide nearly 100 million gallons of water per day!

Thanks to this groundwater source, our system is one of just a handful in the country that remains unfiltered – providing us with some of the purest water in the country.

Our water is our most valuable resource. The Water Bureau team works hard every day to preserve and strengthen our system so that they can continue to deliver clean, safe and reliable water for future generations.

Today, we are asking Portlanders to Imagine a Day Without Water, and to appreciate the value of such a precious resource.

Check out the Water Bureau’s Facebook and Twitter all day to read more about the values of water.