Provider Preparedness

Water providers at a emergency water distribution drill

We don’t just plan for the “big one,” we plan for “every one”

The Regional Water Providers Consortium’s 22 water provider members work together to plan for events that could impact local water supplies, because our job is to make sure water is there for you when you need it – even during an emergency.

A Cascadia earthquake is the event that drives much of the Consortium’s preparedness activities, but water providers are also working to address other potential emergencies such as: fire, severe storms, flooding, volcanic eruptions, drought, contamination (accidental and intentional), terrorism, and power outages.

By replacing old lines, conducting routine maintenance, planning for future supplies, monitoring watershed health, and meeting regulatory requirements, water providers ensure that they are not just ready for the “big one," they are ready for “every one.”

What the Consortium and its members are doing to ensure that Portland metro area communities have safe reliable water twenty-four/seven:

  • Ensure mutual aid agreements are in place. These agreements make it so that when an emergency hits water providers are ready to help one another out.
  • Train, train, train!  The Consortium regularly sponsors exercises to prepare for various types of emergencies and to test equipment. These valuable exercises ensure that water provider’s staff has the hands-on skills and experience they will need during an emergency. Examples of past exercises include:
    • Equipment drills that utilized the region’s emergency mobile water treatment systems.
    • Table top exercises that challenged water providers to meet the region’s water needs when a major source becomes contaminated or unavailable due to infrastructure damage.
  • Use federal grants to ensure that water providers can continue to meet the public’s needs during an emergency. Since 2006, Consortium members have utilized more than $1 million in Urban Area Security Grants to:
    • Purchase nine mobile emergency water distribution systems. These systems enable water providers to distribute clean six-quart bags of water to the public when existing water systems are compromised. The distribution systems are housed in trailers around the region and are ready to be deployed in the event of an emergency.
    • Conduct a regional interconnections study. The study identified where in the region different water providers are connected and where limitations exist to supplying water during an emergency.
    • Purchase portable pipe systems. There are two portable trailer mounted hose-reel systems in the region that can be used to create temporary interconnections in the event of a pipe breakage or to connect two systems during an emergency.
    • Purchase seven mobile water treatment systems. These systems allow water providers to treat up to 30,000 gallons of water per day per system. The treatment systems can be used in conjunction with the emergency water distribution systems or on their own to provide safe drinking water during an emergency.  The Consortium also purchased nine small portable water treatment systems which can be used by first responders during an emergency.

Other regional preparedness resources: