Protecting our Drinking Water


The McKenzie River is the sole source of drinking water for nearly 200,000 people in the Eugene metropolitan area. To protect this valuable resource, we developed a Drinking Water Source Protection Plan in 2000 that includes the risks from all potential threats to our drinking water. We also started an ambitious Drinking Water Source Protection Program to protect the McKenzie and maintain the high water quality you enjoy.

What is source protection?

The federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires states to assess source water to protect public drinking water sources. This assessment has three main parts:

1.     Identify the area of land that provides water to a public water system.

2.     List the main threats or possible sources of contamination that could affect the water system.

3.     Rate these threats for the possible harm they could cause to public water supplies.

At EWEB, we use this same assessment approach to address threats to our community's water supply.

Our program's goal

The main goal of our source protection program is to create a balance between watershed health and human use over time, and to maintain our community's exceptional water quality. To protect the McKenzie River as a reliable source of excellent drinking water for present and future generations, we aim to:

  • Prevent or reduce activities that have known or possibly harmful effects on source water quality
  • Promote public awareness and maintain our healthy watershed in partnership with others

Our partners

To protect our drinking water sources, we often work together with other utilities, natural resource agencies, industry owners and representatives, farmers and residents, plus local, state and federal governments and other watershed stakeholders. We do this because EWEB owns very little land in the McKenzie Watershed and has no control over how the watershed is managed.

We all save money

Protecting our drinking water source helps us avoid the future expense of higher treatment costs. We save money and time when we don't have to treat contaminated water, build new treatment facilities, or deal with hazardous material spills. It costs much less to protect the land around our water source than to restore degraded land.

Watershed Emergency Response
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We take threats to the McKenzie River seriously and have designed watershed emergency response system to address hazardous material spills that could affect drinking water quality

Watershed Monitoring
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We want to provide our customers with the highest quality water. Our monitoring program evaluates water quality in the rivers and streams throughout the McKenzie Watershed.



Landowner Incentives
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Are you a landowner in the McKenzie Watershed?  Check out our assistance programs and incentives.

Septic System Assistance
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We provide financial assistance to maintain or repair your septic system. This helps to protect the water quality of the McKenzie River.

Naturescaping workshops
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Learn how to use native plants to save time, money and energy on your yard while protecting water quality.