Nine days without power: My ice storm story as an EWEB customer and employee
While beautiful and peaceful, buying a home on the edge of the forest and surrounded by trees has its tradeoffs. Moving “upriver,” I knew there would be more threats to prepare for, including Mother Nature’s seasonal surprises.Find Out More
Preparation and Resilience: How EWEB Maintained Water Service During Recent Ice Storm
Learn about the projects and people that helped EWEB keep water flowing throughout the extreme weather event.Find Out More
Leaburg Decommissioning Action Plan
Plan details next steps through regulatory processes to begin dismantling Leaburg Dam by 2032.Find Out More
Currin Substation: End of year update
EWEB Engineer Philip Peterson explains what's been happening in the final stretch to complete the substation rebuild.Find Out More
EWEB Recognized with Excellence in Communications Awards from American Public Power Association
We are proud to have been recognized with two Excellence in Public Power Communications Awards for 2023 from the American Public Power Association (APPA).Find Out More
EWEB now offering a Smart Thermostat rebate program
EWEB is excited to announce a new residential rebate program to provide electric customers with free or greatly discounted Smart Thermostats to customers whose primary source of heating is from an electric forced-air furnace or heat pump.Find Out More
Your EWEB Rates at Work: Investing Today for a Resilient Tomorrow
For more than a century, EWEB has planned, built, and maintained the systems that deliver safe, reliable, and environmentally responsible power and water to Eugene homes and businesses.Find Out More
Have an energy efficient and water conscious holiday season
The holiday season is officially upon us. Whether you are celebrating a special holiday or just sharing a meal with close friends and family, hosting can cause some unexpected energy and water usage increases – resulting in a higher utility bill. We’ve prepared some tips on how you can save energy and water this holiday season.Find Out More
River Road Substation returns to service after infrastructure upgrades
Supply chain shortages and proactive infrastructure investments, including constructing seismic foundations and implementing control modernization, have played a role in the substation's return-to-service timeline.Find Out More
EWEB’s water infrastructure projects designed for reliability during major disasters
As communities nationwide Imagine a Day Without Water, EWEB strives to ensure such a day never happens.Find Out More
The importance of managed electric vehicle charging explained
EWEB has much to handle related to EV charging infrastructure. To ensure that the switch from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric vehicles reduces the most emissions possible at the lowest cost possible, we need to implement managed EV charging.Find Out More
Fall is the perfect time to prepare for winter storm season
Winter is coming, which increases the likelihood of storm-related power outages. It's important to be prepared, and there are simple actions you can take right now.Find Out More
EWEB lead annual "Spill Drill"
EWEB coordinates drill as part of protecting Eugene’s drinking waterFind Out More
EWEB seeks public input on electric vehicle, demand response standards
EWEB is seeking public input on the potential adoption of updated standards for electric vehicles (EVs) and demand response programs. The potential standards are derived from the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA.Find Out More
Public Power Week Poster Contest 2023
It’s that time of year again! October 1-7 is Public Power Week. To celebrate, EWEB is holding our annual poster contest for fifth graders in our service area. Help us pick the winners.Find Out More
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EWEB Taking Steps to Protect McKenzie River During Below Average Summer Stream Flows
May 12, 2020
The beautiful McKenzie River not only supports diverse recreation, vibrant farms, and abundant fish and wildlife, but it is also the sole source of drinking water for Eugene residents and a source of clean, reliable and affordable energy.
Hydropower is a form of renewable energy that uses water stored in dams, or flowing in rivers, to create electricity. Falling or flowing water spins a turbine, activating a generator that converts the energy into carbon-free electricity, which is then fed into the electrical grid to be used by Eugene homes and businesses. Nearly 80 percent of Eugene's power comes from hydroelectric projects throughout the Pacific Northwest.
EWEB owns three local, McKenzie River hydroelectric projects: Leaburg, Walterville and Carmen-Smith.
Under operating licenses issued by the Federal government, EWEB is permitted to divert a portion of the McKenzie River for power generation. The Walterville hydroelectric project is allowed to divert 2,577 cubic feet per second (cfs) into the Walterville canal and EWEB is required to maintain minimum instream flows in the bypassed reach of the McKenzie River of 1,000 cfs at all times.
However, in 2018 EWEB made an operational decision to voluntarily adjust the flow going into the Walterville canal during low flow years in order to maintain an additional 10 percent more flow in the river during the summer. Maintaining more flow in the river than in the canal improves fish migration and enhances water quality and recreational use during the summer months.
In mid-April, EWEB conducted our annual evaluation of snowpack data and summer stream forecasts and projected the McKenzie Basin will experience below-median stream flows during the upcoming summer. Data available at that time indicated that snowpack in the basin was roughly 94 percent of median. McKenzie River streamflow forecasts for the April to September period at Vida (the closest forecast station) were 92 percent of average.
Based on these forecasts, EWEB will begin adjusting flows into the Walterville canal following the annual Walterville Project maintenance outage that is currently scheduled for June 13-26, and will maintain the adjusted flows through October 2020.
"Our community's hydro projects place EWEB in a unique position to safeguard this valuable community resource," said EWEB generation manager Mike McCann. "Whether it's managing stream flows or partnering with community members to keep pollutants out of the river, we're always working to create a balance between watershed health and human use."
The Walterville powerhouse, located off Camp Creek Road northeast of Springfield, can generate up to 8.5 megawatts of electricity, enough to power approximately 4,000 homes or roughly equal to about 3 percent of Eugene's average daily consumption of electricity.