Portland starts summer drinking water 'draw down'


As Portlanders suffered through record-setting June temperatures this weekend, the Water Bureau began its annual "draw down" of water from reservoirs in the Bull Run Watershed, the area's primary source of drinking water.

During the summer months, the bureau uses more water than streams can carry to the reservoirs, and the city relies on stored water to meet residents' needs until flows increase.

"The Water Bureau expects to have plenty of water to meet summer demand," said bureau interim administrator David Shaff in a news release. "Early June rains topped off the reservoirs in Bull Run."

But if the summer continues to be hot and dry, the city can boost its water supply by tapping into the Columbia South Shore Well Field, the state's second-largest water supply after Bull Run.

From early July until late September, the bureau aims for minimum water flows of about 13 million to 25 million gallons a day to keep water temperatures low and to improve river habitats for fish. In 2005, Portland's peak summer water demand reached almost 181 million gallons a day on Aug. 3, 2005.