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Portland Water Bureau

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


1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

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Five Summer Travel Tips for Water-Savvy Wayfarers

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Vacationers doing yoga on the beach

Traveling this summer?

Don’t let a leaky faucet or malfunctioning irrigation system run amok when you’re bathing at the beach or hiking the hillside.

Use these five, easy-to-follow summer vacation tips to save money, travel sustainably, and keep your summer travels worry-free.

1. Stop the Leaks

Did you know that a leaky faucet dripping at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than eight gallons of water a day?

Before you leave for your vacation, check your home for leaks. Dripping faucets, running toilets, and loose hoses are all common water-wasting culprits.

2. Water by Number

And if you’re planning to irrigate with an automated system while you’re away, check the Weekly Watering Number and adjust your irrigation controller accordingly.

3. Cover the Pool

If you have a pool, cover it while you’re gone.

A cover can minimize water evaporation, which means you won’t need to top it off when you get back home. As an added bonus, those neighbor kids probably won’t sneak into your pool if they have to go to the effort of pulling the cover off, right?

WaterSense Hotel Challenge4. Find Conservation-Conscious Lodging

Hotels and other lodging businesses account for 15 percent of the water used by all commercial and institutional facilities across the country. Just like seeking out socially-responsible travel tours and free-trade travel bags, you can find hotels at your destination that have committed to using water wisely.

Over 860 hotels in 41 states are a part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense H2Otel Challenge program.

Can’t find an H2Otel Challenge participating hotel at your destination? No matter where you stay, you can save water by reusing your towels and bedding which saves water and energy.

Graphic illustrating amount of water to make one water bottle5. Don’t Forget a Reusable Water Bottle

It’s estimated that it takes 3 liters of water to make one liter of bottled water: two liters to market the bottle and one liter to fill it. And that doesn’t even count the amount of oil it takes to produce the bottle itself.

What. A. Waste.

Save on water and money by bringing your own bottle and refilling it with tap water.

Learn more about bottled versus tap water and what you can do to reduce your lifestyle footprint.

Share Your Water-Savvy Vacation Tips

What do you do to conserve water while on vacation?

Any go-to home preparation tips for summer travelers?

Please share your suggestions below. Happy travels!

Beware of Summer (And Year-Round) Door-to-Door Scams

Portland Water Bureau logoThe Portland Water Bureau reminds customers that although Water Bureau employees may knock on your door to ask a few water-related questions or provide information, they will never ask to enter your home without a previous appointment.

The public is reminded of the following safety tips in situations like this:

  • Do not open the door to someone you don't know.
  • Ask for proper official identification.
  • Look for a city utility vehicle.
  • Call the police if you feel suspicious about someone at your door.
  • Share information about suspicious people with your neighbors.
  • Ask for the person's purpose for being there. Example of Oregon government license plate
  • Do not allow anyone unknown to enter your home without a bona fide prior appointment.
  • Water Bureau employees always drive vehicles with a “Publicly Owned” license plate and will carry identification badges.

If someone knocks on your door claiming to be from the Portland Water Bureau, ask to see an identification badge and/or call and check with the Water Bureau at 503-823-4874.

A true employee will encourage, not resist, efforts made by a customer to confirm that they are legitimate.

Keep Your Lawn Water Smart This Summer

Junuary is finally over!

That means the rains have finally stopped and we’re in for a dry, hot summer. As the warm weather settles in, it’s time to think about the whens and hows of outdoor watering.

Not watering your lawn? No problem.

Don’t forget that a well-maintained lawn can be left unwatered during the summer months without damaging the grass. The lawn won’t die, it’ll just go dormant (think of it as taking a long summer nap). Your green lawn will return quickly when the rainy season returns.

If you do plan to irrigate this summer, first measure your sprinkler’s output, then make it easy on yourself and let the experts tell you when to water.

Weekly Watering Number toolWhat’s your number?

The Weekly Watering Number is a service provided by our friends at the Regional Water Providers Consortium. The Weekly Watering Number tells you the amount of water (in inches) your lawn will need each week. It’s available every Thursday from April through September.

Visit to see what your lawn needs today!

Mow More, Water Less

You can also save water by mowing frequently (about once a week). Mowing a little each time can encourage robust root development. And stronger roots mean less water and maintenance is needed.

While the ideal mowing height depends on what kind of grass you have, a good rule of thumb is to always maintain 2/3 of the original height of the lawn.

Free Watering GaugeGet a FREE Watering Gauge

Take the guesswork out of watering with a FREE watering gauge kit.

Order your free kit from the Regional Water Providers Consortium. Request your kit today and be sure to please include your mailing address, water provider, and how you heard of this promotion.

From landscape maintenance to irrigation, get more outdoor water-saving tips on our website.

How to Read Your Sewer, Stormwater, and Water Bill

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PDF: Understanding Your Sewer, Stormwater, and Water Bill

Base charges. CCF. Water volume.

Whether you’re a residential or commercial water customer, the first step in changing the way you use water – and saving money by reducing your usage -- is by understanding how much water you use today. And the best place to find this information is on your monthly water bill.

But what does it all mean?

You don’t need an advanced degree or decoder ring to become the master of your water bill. Use our helpful brochure titled “Understanding Your Sewer, Stormwater, and Water Bill” to get the information you need to understand the different charges and usage information on your bill.

Click here to view the brochure.

Discover more ways to understand your bill and find resources to conserve water and save money by using the links below.

Out and About with the Water Bureau

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Good in the Hood and Explorando 2017

On two hot weekends in June, Water Bureau folks were on hand at two popular Portland summer events to hand out water bottles, sign up attendees for lead-in-water test kits, and celebrate our beautiful city with neighbors and friends.

Explorando el Columbia Slough

Explorando is the Columbia Slough Watershed Council’s bilingual nature festival where friends and family learn about the Columbia Slough, enjoy guided canoe rides, dance to music by local artists, and more. Water Bureau staff were on hand to welcome attendees and help keep everyone hydrated with tasty Bull Run water from our Water Event Station, or WES as it is affectionately called.

Good in the Hood

The Good in the Hood Music and Food festival is the largest multi-cultural festival in the Pacific Northwest. This three-day music festival opened with a community parade through Northeast Portland and ended at Lillis-Albina Park.

Water Bureau staff spent the day getting to know attendees, introducing them to free lead-in-water testing resources, and teaching folks how to conserve water and save money on their water bill.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table at both events. We can’t wait to see you next year!