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EWEB is Focused on Resiliency

August 31, 2021

Map of emergency water stations

This past year reminded us all of the importance of preparing for emergencies. The Covid-19 pandemic alongside a devastating wildfire in our watershed tested our community's ability to manage multiple risks.

As climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, Eugene Water & Electric Board is serious about making the necessary investments to ensure we can provide safe and reliable water and electricity. We'd like to share with you how EWEB is preparing our water and electric supply and infrastructure to be more resilient to the challenges we face—and what you can do to be ready.

When we speak of "resiliency" we don't mean preventing damage. No infrastructure can be completely immune to disruption from storms, earthquakes or other extreme events. Rather, resiliency measures enable electric and water facilities to continue operating despite damage, or return quickly to normal operations when outages do occur.

Our Resiliency Priorities

    • Improving extreme weather preparedness and response

    • Replacing and reinforcing aging infrastructure

  • Developing redundant power and water sources and alternative delivery infrastructure

Investing in Drinking Water

EWEB is responsible for ensuring that our entire community has access to the clean and reliable drinking water that is essential for public health and safety, fire protection and economic vitality. These needs are more crucial than ever, as we continue to experience challenges stemming from climate change and aging infrastructure.

We have invested more than $35 million upgrading and expanding our Hayden Bridge Water Filtration Plant over the past decade. We are replacing water mains, improving pump stations, and planning for a second filtration plant on the Willamette River.

In the next decade, we will construct new water storage facilities near 40th Ave. and replace the water storage systems at our College Hill and Hawkins Hill sites. The projects will be built to seismic and contemporary operating standards, providing more 45 million gallons of resilient, safe water storage.

Learn more about water storage improvement projects.

Emergency Water Stations

EWEB launched an emergency water supply program in 2018 with a target to establish five geographically dispersed emergency water stations within five years. The goal is to continue to serve the community with drinking water should a large-scale disaster such as an earthquake affect the McKenzie River, disrupt the water treatment plant or damage the 800 miles of distribution pipes that deliver water to Eugene homes and businesses. 

With the help of our community partners including Bethel and Eugene 4J School Districts, City of Eugene, and Lane County, five sites are currently operational. 

Learn more and locate the station nearest to your home.

Electric System Resiliency

We're making investments to reduce storm-related outages and to address evolving risks such as climate change, earthquakes and wildfire. In the next few years, we plan to rebuild or expand four substations to increase electric capacity and improve reliability, while also:

  • Upgrading and relicensing the Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Project to continue providing access to local power generation 
  • Replacing older poles, crossarms, and wires 
  • Converting targeted overhead lines to underground

Wildfire Safety and Prevention

Wildfire prevention is increasingly important as climate, drought and a host of other issues are converging, resulting in more frequent and damaging wildfire events. We proactively prune trees and trim around 300 line miles of vegetation annually to help keep our equipment clear and remove fuel sources.

When there is a high risk of wildfire, we modify the settings on equipment to allow faster de-energization, reducing the risk that power lines become potential points of ignition.

Learn more about power line protective measures.

Meter Technology Investments

We want to provide customers with better service, build a more resilient community and create a cleaner energy future. As a part of achieving these goals, we will upgrade our electric meters to smart meters by Spring 2022 and our water meters by the end of 2023. 

Smart meters will give EWEB greater visibility into the system, allowing us to pinpoint outage locations and enabling repair crews to restore services faster and at lower cost.

Learn more about how smart meters make our community more resilient.

How You Can Prepare

We're taking steps to become better prepared, and we urge you to take time to do the same at home. By being prepared as individuals, we free up valuable resources, enabling our first responders to assist those who are in the greatest need.

Make a plan, build an emergency supply kit, stay informed, work together to keep everyone safe.

Visit our Emergency Preparedness page for tips and resources. From there, you can also join EWEB's Pledge to Prepare, and start receiving a monthly email with easy, step-by-step recommendations that will help you get two-weeks ready within 12 months.