A new digital fire lookout tower will soon be able to spot small fires before they threaten communities and infrastructure in the upper McKenzie River Valley, thanks to a new ALERTWildfire camera installed Monday on a communications tower owned and operated by the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB).Find Out More
EWEB will continue the annual closure of our College Hill Reservoir over the Fourth of July holiday and prohibit fireworks on the property grounds.Find Out More
It's called an FUV, a fun utility vehicle. And we are so having FUN! We are proud to have a small fleet of electric vehicles. Two to be exact.Find Out More
On June 18, with the help of community neighbors, EWEB inaugurated a new emergency water station at the Lane County Fairgrounds.Find Out More
The tour focused on the coordinated response to the Holiday Farm Fire, emphasizing the effectiveness of large-scale floodplain enhancement projects for mitigating the impacts of sedimentation and increasing water temperatures.Find Out More
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
We are fortunate in Eugene to enjoy exceptional drinking water. For over a century, our community has benefitted from a pristine watershed, abundant supply, and safe and reliable delivery to homes and businesses.
None of this has happened by accident. Generations before us made smart, sustainable decisions so that we can enjoy safe, clean drinking water today. And now we have the opportunity and responsibility to do the same for the next generation of Eugene residents.
Today, our community's drinking water is susceptible to threats from earthquake, wildfire, harmful algal blooms, pollution, and aging infrastructure. EWEB's source-to-tap drinking water programs are helping keep our water systems prepared and adaptable to future changes.
We have invested more than $30 million upgrading and expanding our Hayden Bridge Water Filtration Plant. We are replacing water mains, improving pump stations, building new storage tanks, planning for a second filtration plant on the Willamette River, and developing neighborhood emergency water stations.
These projects comprise the backbone of the water system that serves all of Eugene-200,000 people-and would be needed after an earthquake in order to meet critical community needs, including fire suppression, health and emergency response, and drinking water distribution points.
As we continue to care for our critical infrastructure, we must also protect the source of our drinking water—the McKenzie River and its surrounding watershed.
In the aftermath of the Holiday Farm Fire, the safety and security of our community's source of drinking water is at risk. Wildfire can dramatically increase erosion in forests by reducing tree cover, causing ash, debris, and sediment to wash into the river. The Holiday Farm Fire damage to the watershed has the potential to degrade water quality, increase treatment costs, and reduce the production capacity of the Hayden Bridge treatment plant for years to come if restoration efforts are not undertaken in key areas.
EWEB made the decision as soon as it was safe to enter the fire-impacted area that we would take early action to protect water quality. In a matter of days, EWEB, McKenzie River Trust, McKenzie Watershed Council, the Upper Willamette Soil & Water Conservation District, and other Pure Water Partners began working with landowners to keep toxic ash and hazardous materials from entering the river. We worked with our federal partners to get additional water quality monitoring equipment installed, which alerts us to high flows and sediment in the river hours before that water heads downstream so we can adjust treatment practices if necessary.
Now we are beginning more intensive restoration efforts using thousands of native plants provided by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. Pure Water Partners will replant nearly 100 acres of high-priority burned riparian and floodplain areas. In addition, EWEB is creating incentive programs to help residents who lost homes in the fire to rebuild while reducing the impacts of development on the McKenzie River.
We undertake this work with the support and guidance of our Board of Commissioners, who represent our customer-owners. Over more than a decade of outreach and research, customers have expressed a clear and unchanging priority--ensuring safe, reliable drinking water remains the most important EWEB program.
Thanks to years of efforts to manage costs and operate more efficiently, EWEB has the financial headroom to get this critical work started immediately; water cash reserves are being used to get boots on the ground and fund priority restoration projects in the short-term. But the long-term work of planning and funding watershed restoration will require extensive financial resources through public and private partnerships to ensure that our community's most basic need for clean, safe, and abundant water is reliably met.
Funding could be put to use to encourage residents to rebuild homes and septic systems outside of critical riparian zones, support firewise planning on residential properties as well as large-scale reforestation projects, or transition properties of high environmental value into conservation management for improved forest health and other ecosystem benefits.
As we have for decades, EWEB will take a strong leadership role in protecting our community's drinking water source. And we are not alone. In addition to funding through existing EWEB budgets, we are applying for grants through FEMA and reaching out to our State partners to secure additional funding.
We are also investigating additional ways for customers to contribute to shared stewardship and restoration efforts. At the March EWEB Board meeting, Commissioners will consider a 2021 budget amendment to fund restoration work which could include a dedicated Watershed Recovery Charge on customer bills.
The security of our water supply is tied to the health of the entire McKenzie watershed, and all of us who rely on and benefit from the McKenzie River will have important roles in meeting the challenges ahead. When communities invest in drinking water source protection, they invest in the long-term health and quality of life of their citizens, and the local economy.
Watershed protection is the ﬁrst and most fundamental step to protecting drinking water. Today's investments will save future costs in the form of increased treatment of fire-related contaminants and ensure that the McKenzie river remains wild and pure as well as provides the recreation, tourism, habitat, and multiple other benefits we might otherwise take for granted. Working together, we can rebuild stronger and smarter to safeguard this vital resource for generations to come.
4200 Roosevelt Blvd.
Eugene, OR 97402
Phone hours: 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.