Portland Water Bureau facilities at Powell Butte Nature Park are an important part of Portland's water system.
Powell Butte Reservoir 1 has an overflow elevation of approximately 530 feet. This is perfect for a gravity-fed system that brings water to Portland from the Bull Run Watershed, 35 miles east of Portland. The Powell Butte Reservoir 1, which became operational in 1981, can distribute water by gravity to parts of Washington County whose water once required pumping, saving on electricity costs.
Powell Butte is in good alignment between the Bull Run Watershed and Portland. An intertie system with the three conduits from the Bull Run watershed can deliver up to 146,000 gallons per minute to Powell Butte’s Reservoir 1. More than 85 percent of the water supplied by the Portland Water Bureau goes through the Powell Butte Reservoir.
Proximity to Groundwater Supplies
Transmission pipelines connect the Portland Water Bureau’s groundwater supply to Powell Butte for quick delivery of water to manage emergencies or turbidity events or supplement summer supply. The groundwater comes from wells in the Columbia South Shore wellfield. Groundwater is pumped about 4.5 miles to Powell Butte where it can be mixed with Bull Run water.
Gravity Feed to Washington County Supply Line
Powell Butte delivers water to Washington County Supply Line. The supply line runs 14 miles from Powell Butte to the county line at Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. This line delivers up to 60 million gallons of water a day to wholesale water customers in the Tualatin Valley, City of Tualatin, and Raleigh Water Districts.