EWEB exceeded drinking water safety standards in 2021 for every type of contaminant regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Oregon Health Authority. The utility has never failed to meet the standards.Find Out More
As a public utility, it is important EWEB check in with customers to see how we are performing. We invite you to share your feedback and opinions.Find Out More
EWEB is offering an updated suite of environmental programs designed for customers who want to save money, water and energy while taking their commitment to sustainability to the next level. At the same time, EWEB is also injecting $100,000 of additional funding into our solar photovoltaic (PV) program.Find Out More
As a public utility, owned by the people of Eugene, it’s important for us to be open and transparent with our customer-owners. The following State of the Utility Address, delivered by General Manager Frank Lawson at the March 1 EWEB Board meeting, highlights key events, accomplishments and challenges of 2021.Find Out More
Here’s an hour of one-time tasks and a few more behavior change goals that will help you reduce your water use, save energy, lower your carbon footprint and save money on your EWEB bill!Find Out More
Eugene’s drinking water received an outstanding performance rating from the Oregon Health Authority.Find Out More
New programs provide customers opportunities to invest in local environment, watershed protection, and future climate scientistsFind Out More
Here in Eugene, where we are fortunate to have one of the cleanest power portfolios in the nation, electrification presents opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support climate recovery goals.Find Out More
While world leaders debate climate action, EWEB reflects on our community's climate successesFind Out More
EWEB Leads "Spill Drill" to test HazMat ResponseFind Out More
Have you ever thought about where your drinking water comes from? What about where your wastewater goes?Find Out More
At EWEB, we factor climate change into almost everything we do. As Eugene’s publicly-owned utility, we strive to fulfill our roles reducing our community’s carbon footprint, optimizing our use of clean energy, and helping our watershed adapt to a warmer climate.Find Out More
EWEB helps fund floodplain restoration projectFind Out More
The security of the community's water supply is tied directly to the health of the McKenzie Watershed and EWEB is investing in the long-term health and quality of life for residents for generations to come.Find Out More
A year after the Holiday Farm Fire, EWEB and the Pure Water Partners are working with landowners in the burn zone to restore riparian forests and mitigate future fires.Find Out More
By Adam Spencer, Communications Specialist
As this weekend brings a potential record-breaking heat wave, the "Extreme Drought" conditions will worsen for the Willamette Valley.
According to the US Drought Monitor, the entire State of Oregon is facing "Moderate Drought," with over 80% of Lane County in "Severe" or "Extreme Drought."
In Eugene, for the rainy season starting in October 2020, we are 28 inches short of our average rainfall.
Up in the mountains, precipitation at the McKenzie Pass tracked with the average until this spring's extremely dry April, according to the National Resources Conservation Service. We received a good snowpack, but that hot April melted the snow away, and the "Snow Water Equivalent" in the McKenzie has plunged below average, joining the previous three years (2018, 2019, and 2020) as below-average precipitation years to continue the drought.
At this time, however, EWEB does not anticipate that we will need to institute water rationing measures by the end of this summer.
In the McKenzie River Basin, we can actually count on years of stored water supply, thanks to the McKenzie's unique geology.
The McKenzie is born from the lava rocks of the "New Cascades." These volcanic mountains are young, geologically speaking, and their porous igneous rocks act as filters for the snow that falls on their slopes. It takes precipitation approximately 6-7 years to percolate through the mountains' natural lava rock filter, finally emerging as springs that become the McKenzie River.
Visitors to Clear Lake can see the McKenzie's crystal-clear water as it emerges from its multi-year cleanse. This mountain-sized filter also provides some of the cleanest drinking water in the nation for nearly 200,000 people in Eugene.
In fact, during peak water demand season in August, our intake at the Hayden Bridge Water Filtration Plant is pulling in just 2-3% of the total river volume, so even in drought years like this one the McKenzie is dependable.
Climate change will bring more droughts and more flooding alike, and we'll have to adjust. Global temperatures are rising, meaning we'll receive less precipitation as falling snow.
Warming temperatures will continue to fuel massive fluctuations in the jet stream as well, causing more frequent, pronounced swings in the El Niño Southern Oscillation. For the Pacific Northwest, both El Niño years (which bring warmer-than-average winters) and La Niña years (colder winters) bring in 2.5 inches more rain than average.
With the McKenzie's underground lava rock reservoirs, the wet years will help us through the dry ones, as above-average precipitation in 2017 and 2016 help abate our current drought. EWEB closely monitors the McKenzie watershed for drought concerns, floods, Harmful Algal Blooms, and other hazards.
If water levels ever start to get too low, we will first send a "Water Shortage Advisory" that asks for voluntary curtailment of water use. If water levels continue to decline, we'll issue a "Water Shortage Alert" that mandates water curtailment. Finally, we'll declare a "Water Shortage Emergency" that restricts water use strictly to culinary and sanitary needs.
Again, EWEB will not likely issue Water Shortage notices this year. Nevertheless, it's always good to get in the practice of using less water. The less water we use in Eugene means there's more cold McKenzie River water cooling down the Willamette for our native fish who require cold water to survive. Using less water is also a great way to save money!
To help our customers get into a water conservation mindset, we are launching "Water-Wise Wednesdays" to share tips, products, and life-hacks to remind us of ways we can do our part to reduce our water consumption.
Check in with us each week through the summer to learn about "Water Wise" techniques for your lawn and garden, positive practices in the home, low-flow toilets and other products that EWEB rewards you to buy and install, and more.
Our first "Water Wise" tip is for gardeners out there: With this record heat wave, make sure to water your lawn, gardens, and landscaping early in the morning or late in the evening. If you water during the heat of the day a lot of it will simply evaporate off. Watering in the morning or evening allows the water to settle in, drop down into the soils, and get to the roots, where plants need it most.
Check in next week for another Water-Wise Wednesday, and rest assured that we'll be watching the river and the forecast to make sure there's enough water for us all to enjoy.
4200 Roosevelt Blvd.
Eugene, OR 97402
Phone hours: 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.