About source protection
McKenzie River

The McKenzie River is fed by a large spring system in the upper part of the watershed that provides an excellent source of clean and abundant water throughout the year.

What is source protection?

The federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires states to assess source water to protect public drinking water sources. A source water assessment has three main components:

  • Identify the area of land that contributes water to a public water system
  • Inventory the main threats or potential sources of contamination that could affect these sources
  • Determine how susceptible public water supplies are to these threats

Local agencies use these assessments to address threats to public water supplies.

Protecting drinking water sources frequently involves collaboration between utilities, natural resource agencies, local, state and federal government, industry, farmers, residents, and other watershed stakeholders. This is especially true in the McKenzie Watershed, where EWEB owns very little land and has no jurisdictional authority over how the watershed is managed.

Program goal

The main goal of EWEB's source protection program is to measure the balance between watershed health and human use over time, and to implement actions which maintain a healthy balance for production of exceptional water quality.

EWEB aims to protect the McKenzie River as a reliable source of excellent drinking water for present and future generations. Specific objectives are:

  • Prevent, minimize and mitigate activities that have known or potentially harmful impacts on source water quality
  • Promote public awareness and stewardship of a healthy watershed in partnership with others
Economic benefits of source protection

Protecting our drinking water source helps EWEB to avoid future expenses such as increased treatment costs, new water treatment methods to deal with contaminants, new treatment facilities, and dealing with the effects of potential hazardous material spills.

EWEB attempted to capture the value of natural assets in the McKenzie Watershed that provide benefits like clean water, flood control, water filtration and erosion control.

Program coordinator

Meet EWEB's Drinking Water Source Protection program coordinator, Karl Morgenstern. Learn more about the innovative, proactive programs that he manages to help protect your drinking water.


Email us for more information, or call Nancy Toth at 541-685-7438 or Karl Morgenstern at 541-685-7365.