Last night city employees briefed City Council on the Willamette Water Supply, a massive infrastructure project that will bring water from the Willamette in Wilsonville up to Hillsboro. Hillsboro’s water department is partnering with the Tualatin Valley Water District (TVWD) on the project, which will cost an estimated $1.2 billion dollars. TVWD will pay for most of the project, leaving Hillsboro will pay 39.6 percent: $450 million.

(TVWD, if you didn’t know, provides water to Hillsboro residents east of Cornelius Pass. The district, which is independent from any city government, also provides water to large pieces of Beaverton and various unincorporated Washington County communities, including nearby Aloha and Rock Creek.)

Rob Dixon, Assistant City Manager in Hillsboro, said the project is the sort of thing that “changes the destiny of a whole community.”

“Water is your destiny,” said Dixon. “You die without it. If you have it, that leads to prosperity.”

Water usage in Hillsboro has already exceeded current supply, which is one reason for the project, but various officials also emphasized the need for redundancy in the face of an eventual earthquake.

“The project meets water demands that are expanding over time…but just as important is reliability,” Kevin Hanway, Water director for the city.

The Willamette Water Supply Program is being run as several smaller projects, according to Dave Kraska. This means different contractors can bid on different parts of it. Here’s a breakdown of the different parts of the project, as presented to City Council last night:

Parts of the project are already being constructed, while most are in the design process. A small section of pipeline in Willsonville is already complete—it was done early to take advantage of road construction underway.

Some of you may also have noticed drilling under TV Highway; that was also part of this project. Pipe was laid without the road ever closing (thanks goodness.)

The project should be online by 2025, according to officials.

Learn more: