The Tualatin River today.
We are using all the water we'll ever have. Whether it comes from a river, lake or melting snowpack, our water is part of a closed system — one water. This one water has been used before and will be used again.
Now try to imagine a day without that one water. Nothing to drink or wash with coming out of our taps. No water to flush our toilets. To sustain our crops and trees. To swim, fish or paddle. To put out devastating fires that threaten our homes and watershed.
Here in Washington County, we not only have one water, but one river: the Tualatin. It is unlike most rivers in the Pacific Northwest — meandering slowly for 80 miles over relatively flat terrain as it drains into more than 700 square miles of forested, agricultural and urban areas before joining the Willamette River. The Tualatin provides our regional drinking water supply and agricultural irrigation, and draws thousands of outdoor enthusiasts every year for canoeing, fishing and wildlife viewing.
The Tualatin River in 1959.
Fed only by rain, the Tualatin River would, in some areas, be little more than a trickle during our dry summer months if we didn’t release stored water from Hagg Lake and Barney Reservoir, and without the clean water coming from our water resource recovery facilities.
Without proper stewardship, the river had in fact been reduced to a trickle by the late 1960s, becoming so small you could stand across it. But we have worked in partnership with others for more than 50 years to advance public and environmental health of the Tualatin River Watershed, and today the river is healthier than it had been for generations.
Protecting waterways and drinking water — and ensuring we don’t have to do more than imagine a day without water — start with simple actions you take at home every day, like:
• Understanding how your used water is cleaned — and the role you play in the process.
• Choosing natural home and yard care and using fewer chemicals.
• Conserving water at home.
• Properly disposing of leaves, pet waste, paint, grease, wipes and more.
• Including native plants in your garden.
• Volunteering to mark storm drains.
• Sharing on social media why you #ValueWater and the importance of recognizing we all share #OneWater.
Public Affairs Specialist - Content & Media
Clean Water Services