There are exciting things going on with the Consortium. Here is a sample of current projects:
Planning Ahead: Drafting a Five-Year Strategic Plan
During 2017-2018, the Consortium brought its members together to revisit and update the Consortium’s Five-Year Strategic Plan. The year-long process allowed partners and staff to take a fresh look at the Consortium's mission and values, and identify priorities for the next five years. The plan focuses on three major strategic areas:
- Meeting Water Needs
- Emergency Preparedness and Resiliency
- Strengthening Regional Partnerships
The new plan renews the Consortium's commitment to providing effective public outreach on a wide variety of water-related issues and to ensure that those resources are accessible across the Consortium’s tri-county service area. The Consortium Board voted to adopt the plan on October 3, 2018.
Interconnections Table Top Exercise
For the past seven years, the Consortium and its members have coordinated efforts region-wide to develop and update a GIS-based tool called the Interconnections Geodatabase. This tool can be used to evaluate and map regional emergency water supplies and ways to route water between systems during an emergency.
On October 24, 2017, the Regional Water Providers Consortium hosted an emergency preparedness training called the Interconnections Tabletop Exercise with on the ground staff from around the region. More than 40 staff from 13 water provider members had a chance to utilize the Geodatabase and make sure they were familiar with how it works. During the exercise, groups worked their way through a fictional scenario requiring use of the Geodatabase to resolve a major regional water supply disruption. The scenario focused participants’ attention on crucial connections between water systems, and helped them identify locations for setting up emergency mobile water distribution and treatment systems.
This event was the most recent in a series of projects dating back to 2010, starting with the Interconnections Map and Evaluation Project. The Map and Evaluation Project resulted in the creation of the initial version of the Geodatabase. The 2017 drill is the second time that the Consortium has hosted a training exercise with the Geodatabase, providing new and existing staff the opportunity to practice before an actual emergency. The Consortium and its members received more than $2 million in Urban Area Security Initiative Grant funds through the federal Homeland Security Grant Program to obtain more than 15 pieces of emergency water treatment and distribution equipment as well as to build and update this tool.
The Regional Water Providers Consortium's #14Gallons Challenge is a social media campaign encouraging people to have one gallon of water per person per day stored at home to last 14 days. While there are many other things that you can do to prepare for emergencies, water is the key ingredient to being prepared. People can survive for weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Experts predict that the Pacific Northwest is overdue for a major earthquake, which may severely damage water systems and other infrastructure. When this occurs, it could take two weeks or longer for emergency supplies to reach our region. This means that people should plan to rely on their own resources until help arrives. To participate in the Challenge:
- Obtain 14 gallons of water per person for their entire household.
- Take a creative photo with their emergency water supply.
- Post a creative photo of their family and water supply online (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) with the hashtag #14Gallons, challenging three friends to do the same.
How-to Video: Accessing Water from Your Water Heater
In an emergency, such as a severe winter storm or an earthquake, your home's water service may be unavailable. In that event, your water heater could provide you with 30-80 gallons of water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene. See how to safely access this source of water using the Consortium's most recent how-to video.
The Consortium Celebrates 20 Years
2017 marks the 20th year of the Consortium's existence. We celebrated by creating a video showing highlights from our work together. Watch the video here.
Drinking Water Advisory Look-up Tool
Sometimes, water quality can be threatened by a loss in pressure in the water system or bacteriological contamination. When this happens water providers issue a drinking water advisory or boil water notice to their customers. The Consortium developed a look-up tool to help the public determine if they are affected by the drinking water advisory. When no advisories are issued, the tool can be used to look up which water provider serves individual home addresses within the Consortium provider's service areas. Check it out here.
Population Estimate and Forecasts
The Consortium is working with Portland State University’s Population Research Center to calculate population forecasts, and historic population and household estimates which will help water providers estimate future water demands. Water providers have unique boundaries so they typically can not rely on city population data. Did you know that the City of Beaverton has four water providers serving its residents?
Update of the Regional Water Supply Plan
For the next two years, the Consortium will be working to update the Regional Water Supply Plan. Originally adopted in 1996, and most recently updated in 2016, the plan provides a comprehensive, integrated framework of technical information, resource strategies, and implementation actions to meet the water supply needs of the Portland metropolitan area to the year 2050.