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On a chilly November day, third graders from Adams Elementary School in Eugene learned about the lifecycle of native salmon on a field trip to Lake Creek near Triangle Lake. The field trips take place all month as part of a program funded by EWEB grants. EWEB dedicates a portion of customer rates to inspiring kids to explore the wonders of science and learn about watershed health, water quality, and emergency preparedness.Find Out More
Hundreds of landowners in the McKenzie River valley are working with EWEB to prevent future fires and protect the river by replanting burned properties and removing fuels like dead trees and underbrush.Find Out More
EWEB works with watershed researchers, forest management agencies and local non-profits to identify threats to our water supply and public health, prioritize watershed restoration activities and help with long-term community recovery.Find Out More
EWEB conducted a multi-agency spill drill on the Willamette River this week. The practice session was to help refresh and hone skills that will be essential to respond to an actual disaster involving an oil spill in the Willamette.Find Out More
EWEB’s Source Water Champions work year-round to protect our drinking water. They take water quality samples throughout the watershed, help our neighbors be better stewards, and coordinate multi-agency teams for restoration work and hazard mitigation.Find Out More
Local middle school students from around the area learned about the entire life cycle of salmon along the McKenzie River at Salmon Watch 2022, which was held at the EWEB spawning channel. The field trip took place during peak salmon spawning season, when fish that are at least two feet long are reaching the end of their journey from the ocean to their natal streams.Find Out More
Laura Farthing has been working for EWEB for the past 14 years. She’s the lead engineer on EWEB’s water storage construction project near E. 40th and Patterson St.Find Out More
EWEB held a grand opening event for our Emergency Water Station near the Sheldon Fire Station on Saturday, September 10. The site would supply drinking water for the neighborhood in the event of a catastrophic earthquake or other disaster that cut off water to customers.Find Out More
This very pure form of coal called anthracite coal is actually used as part of the water filtration process.Find Out More
We are working to ensure our systems are ready to perform through extreme heat. Check out tips and resources to help you stay safe and comfortable while conserving energy.Find Out More
EWEB's new map displays water quality sampling results and can advise McKenzie River recreationalists where to avoid areas with toxic algaeFind Out More
How has EWEB prepared to deliver power and water to all these athletes and spectators from around the world?Find Out More
Eugene Water & Electric Board Commissioners are looking to the future in an uncertain time.Find Out More
In 2022, residential rates increased for the first time in five years. Looking ahead, a variety of long-term critical projects coupled with short-term supply chain and inflationary pressures and a dynamic power supply market are likely to impact the prices customers pay for water and power.Find Out More
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
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
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Phone hours: 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.