Customer Service: 503-823-7770
GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404
The Water Bureau uses electricity to pump water and to power bureau facilities. Although most of the water in the system flows by gravity, pumps are necessary to lift water to higher elevations in Southwest and Northwest Portland, and hilly areas on the east-side. In some years, groundwater from the Columbia South Shore Well Field is used to supplement the main Bull Run water supply. Pumping groundwater requires a lot of electricity, and in the years that the bureau uses groundwater, electricity use goes up.
The bureau’s Energy Management Charter identifies these energy goals for the Water Bureau: 1) Support continuous efficiency improvements 2) Promote the development of renewable energy projects 3)Track and evaluate energy use and 4) Educate employees about energy use. Currently the bureau is focused on the ten most energy-intensive pump stations and facilities.
The top seven most energy-intensive pump stations lift water a combined 5,400 feet which requires significant electricity use. The bureau has saved energy by operating energy-efficient pumps, replacing pump motors, weatherizing pump stations, and installing Variable Frequency Drives (which adjust motor speed to save energy).
The bureau has also reduced building energy use by upgrading to more efficient lighting fixtures, installing digitally controlled HVAC systems that adjust temperature automatically, and training employees on energy conservation.
The bureau set a goal to reduce energy use at the top ten energy-use facilities by five percent by 2012. At the end of 2012 the bureau had successfully reduced energy use at these facilities by thirteen percent (over 2 million kWh) compared to the baseline of average energy used at these facilities between 2005-2008.
The Water Bureau’s Energy Committee is made up of staff from Operations, Engineering and Resource Protection. The committee identifies operational changes, new technologies, and financial incentives to save energy and money. The committee also supports staff to improve energy efficiency at their workplaces.