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New infrastructure part of plan to break from Bull Run and create local water source

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF GRESHAM - A new 66-foot-tall water tank was completed to bolster Gresham's future groundwater system.  What takes 67 miles of steel cable wrap, is 66 feet tall, and has 24 concrete columns lining the inside?

It is Gresham's new 6 million-gallon water tank, which is part of a robust groundwater system that the city is trying to get online by 2027, creating a new source for drinking water that should lower costs for customers, create local control and improve disaster resiliency. The groundwater will be an official break from the Bull Run Reservoir and the city of Portland's looming price increases.

The new system is being developed by the Cascade Groundwater Alliance — a partnership between Gresham and the Rockwood Water People's Utility District.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF GRESHAM - The inside of the water tank has 24 concrete columns for seismic support.  Gresham currently purchases the majority of its potable water from the city of Portland through a 20-year wholesale buyer contract, enjoying the popular Bull Run water.

But Bull Run is one of the last remaining unfiltered public water sources in the country, and due to ongoing detections of the parasite cryptosporidium, a mandate has been made to design and construct a new treatment system. The water filtration plant is anticipated to cost between $820 million and $1.2 billion, and is scheduled to become operational in 2027.

As a wholesale buyer, Gresham's rates would have increased with costs related to the new filtration plant being built in Boring. Gresham officials estimate by 2030 the cost per 100 cubic feet of water from Bull Run will be more than $3, while groundwater will be 80 cents.

Learn more about the groundwater plans online at

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