There are exciting things going on with the Consortium. Here is a sample of our current projects:
Interconnections Tabletop Exercise:
With recent storms and wildfires highlighting the need for emergency planning in the region, local water providers are continuing their work to to prepare for emergencies. Over the past seven years, the Consortium and its members, coordinated efforts region-wide to develop and update a tool to help the Consortium evaluate and identify regional emergency water supplies utilizing existing water system interconnections. The Interconnections Map and Evaluation Project resulted in an ArcGIS geodatabase that identifies water system interconnections that can be used to help identify pathways for routing water during an emergency.
In October 2017, the Regional Water Providers Consortium will host an emergency preparedness training called the Interconnections Tabletop Exercise with staff from area water provider members, giving on the ground staff from around the region a chance to utilize the Geodatabase and make sure they are familiar with how it works. At this event, participants will work in small groups to figure out how the region’s water providers meet regional water needs using the Interconnections Geodatabase. During the exercise, participants will work their way through a fictional scenario that will require use of the Geodatabase to resolve a major regional water supply disruption. The scenario is designed to focus participant's attention on the most crucial connections between water systems, and also to help them identify good locations for setting up emergency mobile water distribution and treatment systems. This drill is the second time that the Consortium has hosted a training exercise with this tool, giving newer staff the opportunity to practice before an actual emergency. The Interconnections Map and Evaluation Project was funded with an Urban Area Security Initiative grant through the federal Homeland Security Grant Program.
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 last updated in 2004, 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.