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
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
Salmon Return to Finn Rock Reach
Finn Rock Reach and other restoration projects throughout the Middle McKenzie provide conditions to help young fish survive to adulthood.Find Out More
EWEB programs reflect community values
EWEB is here to serve our customer-owners and provides programs that reflect the values of our community.Find Out More
EWEB Prepares for the Annual Observance of "Imagine a Day Without Water"
Water infrastructure is essential, invaluable, and in need of continuous investment. Read how EWEB's Staff and Board of Commissioners are working to safeguard Eugene's water future.Find Out More
Where is EWEB in planning our future electricity supply?
In August, we reached a milestone: EWEB’s five-member elected Board of Commissioners approved an action plan to guide our energy supply choices for the next 2-3 years. How did we get here?Find Out More
Planning for a Future of Reliable, Affordable, Environmentally Responsible Energy
The challenges revealed by Eugene Water & Electric Board’s integrated resource planning process mirror those facing the Northwest.Find Out More
Bethel neighbors boost emergency preparedness during Emergency Water Station event
Staff gave out about 300 emergency water containers to enthusiastic community members eager to learn more about the water station.Find Out More
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Protecting Drinking Water Through Shared Stewardship, Ownership and Commitment
February 25, 2021
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.
Ensuring safe and reliable drinking water from source to tap
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.
Water quality and wildfire
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.
Funding the recovery
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.
Healthy watershed, healthy people
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.