When completed, the new system will provide drinking water to thousands of people in Washington County.

WILSONVILLE, Ore. (KOIN) — In Wilsonville, the fall rains aren’t slowing down the work on the Willamette Water Supply Project. 

Construction crews are driving equipment through mud, digging trenches and laying massive pipes. 

“About 25% of the 30 miles of pipeline has been constructed, and some of our big facility work is about to begin,” explained Marlys Mock, communications supervisor with the Tualatin Valley Water District and spokesperson for the project. She said crews are in the thick of construction right now. 

The Willamette Water Supply Project is a massive pipe system that will supply drinking water to three communities: the Tualatin Valley Water District, Beaverton and Hillsboro. All three areas expect significant population growth in the next 50 to 100 years and intend to use the water supply project as a way to meet the needs of future Washington County residents. 

Construction crews work to install pipe for the Willamette Water Supply Project in Wilsonville on Sept. 27, 2021. (KOIN)

The three communities started exploring options for a new drinking water system about 10 years ago, Mock said. The City of Hillsboro was particularly concerned about finding a back-up water supply. Hillsboro Water’s current source water is from the Upper Tualatin River and its tributaries. In the summer, the river level drops too low for reliable use, so Hillsboro customers depend upon water stored in the Barney and Hagg Lake reservoirs to meet demand. If the Scoggins Dam on Hagg Lake failed during a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, the city’s supply could be extremely limited. 

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