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Water Source Protecting Our Watershed

Each time it rains or snows, pollutants wash off the land and flow untreated into nearby surface and groundwater sources. Because all water in a watershed is connected, activities in one part of the watershed often affect other areas. A healthy watershed stores and filters water, stabilizes banks, provides shade and habitat for fish and other aquatic life.

Human activities such as river recreation, construction, timber harvesting, livestock management, fertilizer and pesticide use if not performed responsibly can degrade water quality. In addition, impervious surfaces such as parking lots, roads, and roofs carry pollutants directly to our streams and natural waterways. Therefore, the combination of cars, homes, people, and animals in the watershed make pollution from stormwater a serious threat to our river’s water quality.

Enhancing watershed health requires understanding our Clackamas River watershed and taking appropriate action as needed to eliminate or control polluting activities. While good water quality may be difficult to see, a rich variety of plants and animals, from aquatic insects to cutthroat trout, indicate a healthy watershed and clean water.

We all play a role in preserving our vital drinking water resources. Whether you’re a resident, business owner, employee or farmer, you can make a difference. Protecting and conserving our drinking water plays a key role in making the best overall use of the precious resource we share and the cleaner the river the less expensive drinking water treatment (water bills) will cost.

Drinking Water & Source Water Protection

Source water is the foundation of any drinking water utility and one of the primary ways to reduce the risk to a source from contamination. Source water protection not only helps a utility identify its risk, but it is also necessary to educate regulatory agencies, permitting authorities, and the community about the impacts their actions can have on drinking water source water quality and quantity.  

Source water protection can also:

  • Reduce the need for additional treatment to meet water quality standards.
  • Help the utility be prepared and reduce the impacts and costs of an emergency when they understand the risks to source quality from contamination, or reduced quantity due to climate change.
  • Help sustainability when an alternate source of water may not be available or cost-prohibitive

The Clackamas River Water Providers have developed a Drinking Water Protection Plan for the Clackamas River to provide its members with a road map of potential strategies and programs to implement in partnership with basin stakeholders over the next decade to preserve the Clackamas River as a high-quality drinking water source and to minimize future drinking water treatment costs.  Learn more about these efforts to protect our drinking water source by visiting