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Utilities Commission sets Jan. 8 hearing on Hillsboro's future water source

A public hearing about tapping the Willamette River near Wilsonville as a secondary source of water for Hillsboro is scheduled for early January.

The hearing will be held by the Utilities Commission, which is responsible for planning for Hillsboro’s water needs. The UC has determined that Hillsboro needs an additional source of water to meet its future residential and businesses needs.

“The Tualatin watershed will continue to be Hillsboro’s primary water supply source, but in the next 25 to 50 years we anticipate the need for twice the amount of water currently available,” says Hillsboro’s Water Director Kevin Hanway. “Our top priority is to always be able to provide a dependable supply of safe drinking water to residents, businesses and industries, at an affordable rate.”

The hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8, in Room 113B of the Hillsboro Civic Center, 150 E. Main Street, Hillsboro.

The UC made the preliminary designation of the mid-Willamette River as the best additional water source in September 2012. The UC then initiated a public outreach effort that will conclude with the January hearing. The UC plans to make an official preferred designation decision at their regular meeting on February 12, 2013.

Utilities Commission Chair John Godsey says the mid-Willamette River offers cost savings and other important benefits compared to other options that have been studied. It would be developed in partnership with other agencies to share the costs.

“The mid-Willamette option provides for high quality tap water at a lower cost, with less implementation risk, than the other viable alternatives,” says Godsey.

The Willamette River already serves as the drinking water source for a growing list of cities. Wilsonville has been providing residents and businesses with water from the Willamette River for over 10 years. Sherwood also recently began drawing on the Willamette River as a source.

“Our studies show this abundant source of drinking water, together with the Tualatin River, can affordably serve Hillsboro’s future water needs,” says Hanway.

More information about the selection of the mid-Willamette River as the preliminary preferred option for Hillsboro’s long-term water supply needs can be found at www.hillsborowatersupply.org.

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