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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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Join Our Team: Equity Manager and Water Efficiency Assistant

Portland Water Bureau logoIf you're interested in joining an award-winning public utility where employees thrive on the pride of delivering a life-essential product with world class customer service, the Portland Water Bureau might be just the place for you.

The Water Bureau is a recognized leader in the utility industry. We've achieved this success by investing in the very best people and empowering them to find new and better ways to meet our customer's needs.

The Water Bureau currently employs approximately 560 people. All current job postings with the City of Portland are posted online, and updated weekly. We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Current Opportunities at the Water Bureau

Position   Emp. Type   Salary   Closing Date/Time Join Our Team 
Equity Manager (Principal Management Analyst) Full Time $7,316–$9,744 Monthly Mon.1/21/2019 11:59 PM Pacific Apply here!
Water Efficiency Assistant (Community Service Aide II) Full Time $18.00 Hourly Fri. 12/18/2018 11:59 PM Pacific Apply here!

Learn More About the Water Bureau


For more information regarding career opportunities at the Water Bureau, contact (503) 823-3515 or e-mail.

Water Quality Update: Fall Color in Water

A concrete dam in the background and large trees with leaves changing colorsAs the weather turns colder and the leaves begin to change and fall, Portlanders may notice that their water takes on a subtle tea color. This is a normal change that occurs around this time of the year due to organic materials that have washed into the Bull Run storage reservoirs. Fall rains are responsible for carrying materials into reservoirs and streams before the water is treated.

Our drinking water is treated but not filtered, which is why you may see color at your tap water or staining the filters in your business or home. Learn about upcoming changes to how Bull Run water is treated including the building of a filtration plant by 2027.

What causes “fall color?”

The color is produced by tannins found in the organic materials, like the color you might see in a cup of tea. Tannins do not produce any negative health effects nor do they change the quality of Portland’s water. The length of the fall color season depends on the strength and duration of the rains and the amount of organic material that is carried into the system.

As always, the Portland Water Bureau constantly monitors the water entering our distribution system to continue to meet all state and federal regulations for safe drinking water. Customers will be notified of any changes to water quality safety if they occur.

Any questions may be directed to the Water Quality Information Line at 503-823-7525.

Cold Weather Prep: Protect Your Home Plumbing this Weather

Portland experienced 92 water main breaks throughout the city in 2016, keeping our Maintenance and Construction crews busy in the snow and freezing rain.

But while public water main breaks are often reported in the news, what about home plumbing breaks and other winter-weather plumbing problems?

Cold weather can cause serious damage to your home plumbing. Broken pipes, burst spigots, and other winter-weather water issues can cost you time and money.

Take these steps now to save money by protecting your home plumbing.

Protect Outdoor Plumbing

  • Caulk around pipes where they enter the home.
  • Close all foundation vents and fill vent openings with wood or Styrofoam™ blocks.
  • Wrap outside faucets or hose bibs with insulation if you don’t have a separate outside valve to turn them off. Use molded foam-insulating covers which are available at hardware stores. Newspaper or rags (covered with plastic wrap) are another option.

Protect Indoor Plumbing

  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as attics, crawl spaces, and basements.
  • When below-freezing weather is forecast, open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms. This allows these pipes to get more heat from inside your home.
  • If you leave home for several days, keep the heat on at a low setting. This may not prevent freezing pipes but it can help.
  • Let a slight drip of water run when temperatures dip below freezing.

Are You Winter Ready?

Get more winter preparedness tips and resources at

Water Bureau Crews Repair Main Break on West Burnside

Water rushes down busy street

Thank you to West Burnside travelers and neighbors for your patience on Tuesday as our crews worked to repair an 8" cast iron main that broke around SW 44th Ave.

Water main with hole in side“The elevation changes in the area together with multiple pressure zones made the shutdown tricky,” said Water Bureau Maintenance and Construction Director Ty Kovatch. "But the crews made got it done and were out of the way before 10pm."

Hats off to the Water Bureau crews who worked in the rain from 4pm–10pm to keep traffic moving as they cut, replaced, backfilled, and flushed the main. Rain, cold, summer heat…no matter what nature brings our way, our crews are ready to get to work.

Prepare Your Home for Cold, Winter Weather

Our crews are ready for winter! Water Bureaucrews respond to emergencies, including water main breaks, 24-hours a day, and seven days a week. On average, crews respond to 200 main breaks a year, which is relatively low compared to cities of similar size.

Everyone has a role to play when it comes to preparing for winter.

Protect your home from cold winter weather. Discover tips for safe-guarding your home’s plumbing through rain, snow, and ice.

November 2018 Update: Washington Park Reservoir Improvement Project

Construction site with large equipment and wood sheets covering large holes

Large machine drills shafts into ground at construction site

Concrete will be poured for the floor slab, support columns, walls, and roof for the new reservoir. Due to the size and volume of concrete deliveries, they will begin in the early morning, in some cases as early as 2:30 a.m. and will continue through the day with new concrete trucks arriving approximately every 3‐5 minutes. Concrete deliveries should be completed before 6 p.m. but on site work will continue beyond that time to complete the finishing work. The reservoir floor slab will be poured in 12 sections. Each section will be poured in a single day. For the first four slab sections, there will be 30‐40 days between each of the pours. Pour frequency will increase after that as walls, columns, and roof are poured atop completed slab sections. While it is anticipated that there will be several days between pours, there may be limited short term cases where pours will occur daily.

The construction site is slightly constrained with extremely limited space to maneuver once the pouring begins on slab sections. Because of this, it is essential to have multiple routes for delivery of concrete so that truck can access specific locations.

Trucks are allowed to come into the site by the following routes:

  • Off SW Jefferson St. into the jobsite
  • Off W Burnside to SW Tichner to Marconi to Sacajawea to Lewis Clark Way and into the jobsite

A Reliable Future

The Portland Water Bureau is building a new 12.4‐million gallon, seismically reinforced underground reservoir within the footprint of the former Reservoir 3 (upper) with a reflection pool on top, while retaining the historic look and feel of the original. The new reservoir has been engineered to withstand ongoing landside encroachment and potentially catastrophic effects of a major earthquake. The new reservoir will supply water to Portland’s west side and serve 360,000 people, including all downtown businesses and residents, 20 schools, five hospital complexes, and more than 60 parks. This system of water conveyance and storage makes Portland a livable and thriving community, ensuring public health and economic viability.

The first phase of construction focused on reshaping the site. Now in the second phase, the focus will be building the new reservoir structure.

Coming Attractions

Over the next year, you can expect several changes to occur in the activity around the construction site.