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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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

Customer Service: 503-823-7770


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Resolve to be Water Efficient in the New Year

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With the temperature on the chilly side, thinking about water (the non-frozen variety) isn't high on the agenda for most people. But we always need drinking water — and clean drinking water at that.

In Portland we are blessed with an abundance of water that most of us take for granted. This is the season of thinking about what we will do in the new year to be and do better. How about reducing your water footprint? Here are a few suggestions:

·         Install high efficiency showerheads to reduce waste — save up to 1 gallon per minute.

·         Limit showers to five minutes.

·         Consider upgrading to a water and energy efficiency washing machine.

·         Run your dishwasher only when it's full.

·         Replace your older toilet with a WaterSense-labeled High-Efficiency toilet that uses 1.28 gallons per flush or less.

·         Give up bottled water — it takes 1.85 gallons of water just to manufacture the plastic for one 12-ounce bottle..

Let’s all work together for water efficiency in 2016. Make your New Year’s resolution today!

Both Westbound Lanes of SE Powell Boulevard Shut Down for Water Main Repairs

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Portland Water Bureau crews are responding to a water main break at the 7400 block of SE Powell Boulevard this evening. In order to assess and repair the damaged water pipe, crews must shut down approximately 200 feet of both westbound lanes of SE Powell Boulevard. The eastbound lanes will be adjusted so that there is one lane going each direction on SE Powell Boulevard while repairs are being made.

The westbound Trimet stop on SE Powell Boulevard at SE 75Avenue is closed. Trimet riders should use the stops at SE 71st or SE 79th avenues.

The size, age and material of the broken water main is unknown at this time, and no customers are out of service at this time.

 Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians are urged to use caution when driving past the construction zone. 

Helping Customers to be Better Water Stewards

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The Water Bureau's Education Program Manager explains the distribution of the earth’s limited freshwater resources.

The Portland Water Bureau, in partnership with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, held another successful Groundwater 101 workshop on Nov. 12.

Thirty-four members of the public spent their Saturday morning learning about local geology and hydrology, the important role of groundwater in the region’s water supply, and steps that can be taken to help protect the city’s drinking water.

Left: Workshop participants test different water samples for total hardness.
Right: The Water Bureau's Groundwater Protection Program Manager demonstrates how improperly managed pollutants can impact underground sources of drinking water.

Participants benefitted from the interactive program, including tasting the differences in water from different sources, testing the same water for total hardness, and seeing the inside of a production well vault.

The bureau offers this half-day program every fall, but this year’s workshop was particularly relevant after a historic 2015 summer supply run from the Columbia South Shore Well Field—nearly six billion gallons of drinking water supplied over 129 days.   

To learn more about the Groundwater 101 workshop and other activities and events, visit

Invisible Heroes Kept Customers in Water Despite 27 Main Breaks

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Between Dec. 23 and Jan. 4, the cold temperatures triggered 27 water main breaks in all quadrants of the city – with seven alone between the evenings of Saturday, Jan. 2 and Sunday, Jan. 3.

At the Portland Water Bureau, we call this time of year “Main Break Season”. The Water Bureau’s Maintenance and Construction crews are called out at all hours of the day and night in even the most severe weather to repair broken water mains. Main breaks occur on average about 200 times each year through the system, which is relatively low compared to other cities of comparable age and size.

Our cast iron water mains tend to break more frequently during winter months as water temperature changes and changing soil conditions provide an environment that exposes weaknesses in aging pipe.

Despite the 27 breaks between Dec. 23 and Jan. 4, only a handful of customers and businesses had their water service disrupted because of a main break, as crews were able to repair most main breaks without shutting down the affected mains.

“Good on these city workers for providing clean, safe, and delicious drinking water to the taps of our neighbors!” said a Water Bureau customer from Southwest Portland. “You could be warm and cozy with your loved ones right now but instead, you’re ensuring delivery of the best water in the world. Again, thank you all!”

Please be our eyes and ears. If you suspect that a main is broken in your neighborhood, please call the Water Bureau’s 24-hour emergency line at 503-823-4874.

It’s Fix-It Fair Season!

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Water Bureau employees provide water-saving resources at a Fix-It Fair in 2015.

Upcoming Fix-It Fairs
Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016
9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Ron Russell Middle School
3955 SE 112th Ave., Portland, OR 97266

Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016
9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
George Middle School
10000 N Burr Ave., Portland, OR 97203
¡Clases en español!

The Portland Water Bureau is a proud sponsor of the City of Portland’s Fix-It Fairs.

A Fix-It Fair is a free event with exhibits and workshops that cover topics including water and energy savings, food and nutrition, recycling, home weatherization, gardening and growing food, yard care and composting, and transportation.

Attendees can also get free lead blood testing, free lunch, free professional childcare, and hourly door prizes. Free minor bike tune-ups and flat-tire repairs are available for students and families.

Fix-It Fairs are presented by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability with support from the Energy Trust of Oregon, Pacific Power, the Portland Water Bureau, and KUNP Univision.

For more information about Fix-It Fairs, visit